We all know that performance cycling is hard and not always likely to give us back the results we expect from our inputs. Those people fortunate enough to have a coach to assist them in their training have significant advantage in building form at the right time than those who don’t.
Despair not my coachless friends…
Those riders who do not have a coach either out of choice to self-train or because it seems like step too much on the road to obsession could benefit from a session I recently undertook with Matt Bottrill and George Fox at MBPC. The session is called Performance Analysis and is designed, in one ‘cost effective’ hit to provide insight into a rider’s own performance characteristics and suggests a range of positive adjustments against specific indicators of cycling performance, whatever your cycling goals. I liked this session a lot and realised a range on benefits:
Insight to training peaks
We looked at my data in training peaks. I have been using TP as a vehicle for data capture rather than as a predictive tool for a long while. The Performance Management Chart (PMC) which trends your inputs and forecasts ‘Form’ is incredibly useful I discovered. If you are coached, then I am sure it would be the key focus of conversation between coach and coachee. I won’t share my own paltry numbers, but I do now have a level of knowledge to appreciate what the numbers are telling me.
Insight into my Strength Weaknesses
A further insight from my data in TP suggested certain deficiencies in my overall riding strengths for which remedial training sessions were suggested.
My principal focus over the years has been road racing and I have dabbled in the TT, mainly UCI time trials. Since I move up an age group in masters racing in 2018 my ambition will be more focussed at the TT as my natural racing weight and size will be troublesome in Varese in the RR. I have done an AeroCoach session at Newport which was very useful but since I have changed bikes and kit since the session I should really repeat it and then repeat again to see how my Coefficient of Drag is progressing (lower numbers are better tan big ones!). This becomes very expensive and inconvenient although Xavier and his team are now also operating out of Derby velodrome I believe.
Matt and George worked with me on my TT set up in their lab and using their experience guided me towards a position which looks slippery but most importantly should be sustainable, with some practice using some of the suggested training sessions, for a good 30-40mins.
Bike and Kit
In the session we also looked and my bike and kit. I was on a new Giant Trinity so that dealt with the bike frame. The conversation did then head towards the limitations of drive train friction and clothing whereby skinsuits were discussed to exhaustion and the conclusion being that the top Endura and NoPinz products deliver slipperiness in spades. Most irritating though was the conversation about my helmet. I had thrown big money at helmets in recent years with a Kask Bambino and and S Works TT. The evening before my assessment I went to the Peterborough CC bike jumble evening. One of my items for sale was an old Bell Javelin. I couldn’t give it away! Like most other riders I met on the night the latest Giro and Specialized were perceived to be the the holy grail of aero hats. Unfortunately for me, as in photos taken at the session with Matt and George, my S Works looked terribly non-aero compared with Matt’s Javelin. My S Works TT (M-L) is now for sale!
There was only one dubious recommendation in the session and that is the use of long socks (knee length!). Not because of the cited aero benefits but because of the compromised aesthetics they deliver. My main aims are around UCI events and long socks are not approved items for these competitions. Phew, a potential indignity on the style front dodged!
The other performance indicators….
The scope of the analysis also takes in sleep, strength and conditioning and race preparation.
In short the Performance Analysis provided me with new insights and areas for improvement which are very useful for shaping training through the winter for next season. I’d say that it is particularly useful for those riders who are self-coached and could easily miss essential ingredients in their preparation or require a little more focus and those who are just setting out in performance cycling and see the step to appointing a coach, at this point, as a step too much.