As a cycling coach I have a great and varied client base but none more interesting than Patrick McIntosh who is attempting a ride from London to Tokyo for charity. A chance meeting while supporting a ride organised by local bike shop 'On Your Bike' we struck up a conversation regarding performance zones and a more structured approach to training. Patrick came to Merlin Cycle Coaching HQ for testing the very next week on our Wattbike Pro. Quickly replicating his normal road bike position, swapping his pedals and after a short warm up we conducted a Sub Maximal Test. This is designed to give a benchmark fitness level from which improvements can be monitored. The test is terminated when the rider indicates they have reached a level of exertion which is best described as a ‘no-talk’ level!
The readings at that point are deemed to be 85% of maximum heart rate and 60 watts is added to the power to estimate maximum aerobic power so that heart rate and power training zones can be calculated. From this and other data captured we were able to write Patrick a full test report including training zones, aerobic thresholds, power to weight ratio and an estimated V02 max. It was clear that Patrick's endurance was quite good but his performance required some attention for 'top end' and recovery which he'd require on any long climbs encountered along his route.
In accepting my proposal to coach him he requested we work more on a ‘one to one’ basis over a series of early morning rides. This always works well when there is a short time frame as techniques can be taught quicker out on the road. From local knowledge I knew that just adjacent to Patrick's base is an excellent road training circuit 5 miles in length used by many local clubs for evening time trials and Road Racing, it's undulating, with a small hill for repeatable efforts, perfect terrain for zonal riding.
Leaving nothing to chance I also wrote a series of weekly training schedules as a framework for Patrick's week on the bike.
During the one to one sessions we were quickly able to fine tune Patrick's zones and educated him on how to ride at a steadier pace that can be maintained over the weeks and months of his ride to Tokyo and beyond. We addressed nutrition, technique and gearing all of which has lead to a partial re-think in equipment.
When taking on a challenge of this magnitude attention to detail is a key factor the old saying 'Fail to Prepare - Prepare to Fail' rings true but in Patrick's case I'm sure he will succeed.
At the time of posting this Patrick is cycling across Russia - follow his progress on his epic ride on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @KMGfoundation