4th Cat Road Racing & Criteriums
Artur approached me half-way through summer 2018 after racing just a couple of Cat 4 events he became increasingly frustrated by his restricted progress in performance and how he wasn’t able to translate training into results, and heard that I would be able to steer him on to a much more productive path to achieve his Elite level racing aspirations.
I usually start programmes towards the end of the racing season September or October, but with Artur we had the luxury of an extended preparation before being competitive for 2019 racing. This was to include gaining some more race experience without pressure and for fun, as energy can be spent finding optimal positions in the pack just to save energy, if this isn’t second nature to a rider. Relying upon performance should be automatic and come from training, not unknown what ‘ifs’.
Artur had reached a solid threshold of about 280Watts at approx 78kg by himself, so we had a good platform to work from, but initial testing showed that he was maxed out with respect to cardiovascular capacity, meaning all his peak power durations were at the expense of high heart rates as his muscles were having to work much harder metabolically than they should for that level of effort. So we started on a combined approach of supplementing some tempo and sociable rides with specific sessions to start improving muscle quality, yet give Artur a chance to enjoy a few late summer races without too much overload.
Moving into the Winter we built-in more specific sessions to complement the resistance training he was doing, I also provided a nutritional analysis so we could pin-point any problematic areas that may stop him from adapting to training. Arturs Critical power testing provided a solid platform to focus on race-specific objectives, and his lactate threshold profile directed training towards what is typically a weakness in entry level racers. This dual approach to training is now standard within British Cycling and the English Institute of Sport as the performance gains are almost guaranteed and long term.
After a full programme we still had a good couple of months of specific race preparation, whilst many other amateurs burn themselves out over the winter, Artur was building nicely towards a successful 2019 season of racing. Ultimately we had over 10% improvements in Critical power numbers from 30 second through 10 minutes, whith the shorter 1 minute repetitive efforts being Arturs strength, ideal for road-racing. We were still to capture his new threshold power gains, the critical power assessment suggested this had reached well above 300Watts. However, towards the end of Arturs first race of the season his was unfortunately involved in a clash of wheels and ended up witha broken collar-bone just yards from the finish line.
As a practitioner well versed in injury rehabiliation for athletes, this didn’t let us ruin Arturs season, and I was able to objectively manage his concerns over the coming weeks, and detraining that is experienced. Although this was limited and we had Artur back on the saddle once over the acute convalescence, as I provided the objectivity and training prescription needed to get back to his pre-crash form.
Towards the end of July 2019, Artur had regained his confidence, and fitness to go on and get his first win at the Dunsfold Crits, and the first of many future successes on his path to elitedom.
“I thought, do I really need a coach, all I need to do is train as hard as I can, right? I was so wrong!
You can follow a training and complete it but if you understand why you do this, why you do what Simon tells you to then the effort and performance is even greater, and that experience lasts for a lifetime.
“When it came to the first race of the year, the only thing I did wrong was to underestimate myself and the training I’ve done.
I could have done much better, much quicker if I knew how much power I had in comparison to the previous year.
My previous experience with training was that I would be constently overloaded and I would be fatigued the majority of the time.
Simon kept an eye on my fatigue and monitoring each week where my overload point is. It would become second nature to me where my adaptation/rest should fall and where I had the means and energy to train hard, week by week. This has become invaluable to me!” Artur