Unlock potential you never knew you had.
I had my first coach when I was seven or eight, he was my Dad and whether it was climbing at Idwal slabs, mountain biking or kayaking. He had a technique to help me achieve what I needed to get the job done. I wasn’t very competitive as a kid, but as I grew up my hunger for competition grew and with it my understanding of how to bring out the best in other people.
When I came home one day and announced I was going to enter a bike race, my Dad said, let’s go to the forest. He found a circuit, like an XC course and timed me again and again and again. The truth is I had no idea what I was getting myself into and my Dad helped me to realise just how much this was going to hurt and how deep I would have to dig to get to my dream of racing elite. It worked.
After a few years I hit that shiny ‘elite’ status I had been dreaming of. It was funny because on reaching elite I thought that would be ‘enough’ it wasn’t. I had to train harder than ever and actually my body and mind were a bit over it. I looked for a new challenge, I had always been quite good at endurance so 12 and 24 hour races seemed a good step up, the technicality of a 12 or 24 hour solo race was exciting too having to plan out food and think about being mentally as well as physically prepared. I made it to my first 12 hour solo podium and decided now I could go further.
The Trans Alp Bike Race was a seven day stage race across the Alps like nothing I had done before but I had a good grounding in training and so to start with I did what felt right, but something was missing I’d go out on long rides and completely blow up, I was doing unstructured weight and interval training. I needed a guide to help me get to my goal or I was in danger of not getting to the start let alone the finish. I reached out to a mountain bike coach, someone who had far more experience than I did and he helped build a plan that suited my lifestyle and got me to that finish line.
Within a few weeks my training had completely changed and with my coaches guidance I was seeing improvements. I was already good at training and able to push myself but the problem was I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I couldn’t possibly of structured a plan like my mountain bike coach because I didn’t have that knowledge and expertise to create it.
Being a coach myself I love helping other people progress and it’s nearly always the small things that help riders to really feel more confident on their bikes or help them understand how to flow faster through the trail. As British Cycling would say, it’s all about marginal gains. These are the things that you either know or you don’t and having a coach can really help because they can see what you can’t.
If you aren’t convinced on getting a coach, here are some reasons why maybe you should.
- You’re already quite happy riding round your local trail centre with mates. You have made progress and feel you can teach yourself.
This is a great start, but there are probably parts of your mountain biking that you haven’t considered. An experienced coach will pick up on these small things and help you correct them to make you more efficient.
- I’m learning at my own speed.
Coaching isn’t about rushing the learning process it’s about improvement through streamlining. We are all time crunched, why spend months practising something on your own that a mountain bike coach could help you do in a day?
- Coaching costs money and you’d rather not spend it.
This is a fair point, coaching costs money. Biking itself is not exactly a cheap sport, so I guess it comes down to how much you want to get out of your mountain biking time. If you are looking to go faster, then coaching is certainly a good investment, better than any carbon handle bar! In my opinion anyway.
Thanks for reading, Hannah