Simon presented to me at the end of the 2013 season as a highly motivated 41 year old road racer struggling to gain points to keep his 2nd Category license but doing moderately ok at criterium and short RRs. Simon was a ‘typical’ masters athlete with a solid history of recreational riding and sportives/ cycle-tourism for 10 years prior, which he decided to take forward to competition and self-coach. Even though Simons race results were not lacklustre his power/ economy profile was not specific or optimal for the type of races he was entering and the short lumpy terrain of the South-East. His strength was predominantly sub-threshold aerobic capacity, hence his lactate-power curve was not ideal, demonstrating a low tolerance to repeated high intensity and was under-powered for the final efforts that secure desired results on the finish line.
Simon’s main performance objectives were to improve, in time for the following season, both his critical power profile and lactate threshold, which tend to be mutually exclusive performance parameters (training one tends to have a negative effect on the other and vice versa). Any coach with an understanding of applied exercise physiology can tell you this is not a simple challenge for any type of client.
As Simon had not previously weight trained, during winter 2013/2014 we set about laying the solid foundations to build anaerobic and a higher sustainable aerobic capacity (lactate threshold) with an aggressive strength programme of resistance weights, for specific exercises, loads, repetition, recovery and sets. I tend to measure critical power parameters at the beginning and end of the resistance phase, before more specific ‘on bike’ work is carried out early season, this lets us understand the improvement in anaerobic capacity (above threshold) and use the new data to keep building that but also effectively increase threshold through the correct scheduling of interval hill-work, long threshold sessions and mixed endurance rides with adequate recovery.
Simon had a great start to 2014 with top 10 placings in notable Surrey league events, pushing 4.4W/Kg. Unfortunately Simon was involved in a nasty crash and broke his collar bone which wiped out most of the 2014 racing season for him, although he managed to salvage much fitness he bowed out at the end of summer to start preparations for 2015. Knowing TTs tend to improve a road-racing cyclist all-round ability we targeted his Club 10 series in 2015 with a few longer 25s and 50s to gain experience. His first 25mile TT was 57’18”, 50mile TT was 1h 54’30” and Simon visited AeroCoach to assess further improvements in TT position. He also successfully managed to keep 2nd Category status in BC races and won his club 10 TT series trophy.
We knew Simon was capable of more and so set about a multiple peak performance programme for 2016 in between a very busy work schedule with numerous trips. His winter preparation was better than any previous years with full phases of periodisation in the gym and pre-season testing showing 310Watts at threshold before he embarked on a very productive training camp in Andalucía. I provided support and structure where available so Simon could get the most of the mountainous terrain, often racing the support guides, but enjoy the riding with club friends under the direction of the camp provider. Success at races so far in 2016 has been 2nd place at Great Tew, and 4th place at the Dulwich Paragon 25kmTT with 37’08”. Simon has a full racing season ahead and expects to win the Club 10 TT trophy this year along with a high general classification of the Mstina LVRC series, although we will take great caution factoring adequate recovery and strength maintenance sessions to avoid potential decline in performance and keep on track for peak performance when it counts! Update: Simon recently clocked 1h 52’24” (beating his PB by over 2mins) for a 50TT putting him 20th of 150 participants and won the first round of his Club 10 TT by a clear 30seconds.
See Simons’ CTT profile here.
UPDATE 2018: Simon has focused on the LVRC series as a category B vet, and is now leading the series in his category. Incorporating well-timed TT’s during the season has provided a significant boost to his form, and should maintain the advantage for a top position. Simon is expecting to target the Percy Stallard series in 2018, tackling yet another level of competition and challenges to keep long-term development and his passion for cycling at 100%.