What have the Coaches ever done for us?

So after a hard day’s racing, Orica GreenEdge boys gather for a team meeting and it goes something like is…..(and apologies to Monty Python)

What-have-the-romans-done-for-usSimon Gerrans: All right, Michael. Don’t labour the point. And what have they ever given us in return?
Luke Durbridge: Goals.
Simon Gerrans: Oh yeah, yeah they gave us that. Yeah. That’s true.
Darryl Impey: And motivation!
Michael Matthews: Oh yes… motivation, Simon, you remember what the riding used to be like.
Simon Gerrans: All right, I’ll grant you that goals and motivation are two things that the Coaches have done…
Matthew Goss: And the results…
Simon Gerrans: (sharply) Well yes obviously the results… the results go without saying. But apart from the goals, the motivation and the results…
Brett Lancaster: More Power…
Other riders: Endurance… Race Craft… Speed…
Simon Gerrans: Yes… all right, fair enough…
Daryl Impey: And the specific training targets…
Mitch Docker: Oh yes! True!
Cameron Meyer: Yeah. That’s something we’d really miss if the Coaches left, Simon.
Brett Lancaster: Nutrition Advice!
Michael Matthews: And it’s safe to ride in the peleton now.
Cameron Meyer: Yes, they certainly know how to keep order… (general nodding)… let’s face it, they’re the only ones who could in a team like this.
(more general murmurs of agreement)

Simon Gerrans: All right… all right… but apart from better endurance and motivation and race craft and more power and speed and the results and  goals and nutrition advice and good riding order… what have the Coaches done for us?
Luke Durbridge: Brought us the winning feeling!
Simon Gerrans:(very angry, he’s not having a good meeting at all) What!? Oh… (scornfully) the winning feeling, yes… shut up!



But seriously I must confess I used to be one of those people who thought having a coach when you are not a pro rider was just a little bit wanky to put it bluntly, but how wrong I was. The light bulb moment came for me in 2013 when I finally decided to take the Australian Masters Championships seriously and despite riding my arse off while training I felt like my ability had plateaued. Sure I was training with a power meter but if you don’t know how to use it properly, it is bit like a gorilla playing golf, all power and no finesse.


Taking on a coach was probably the best thing I did for my cycling and I often reflect on the thought that people will spend obscene amounts of money on the bike and do nothing for the engine. Taking on a coach doesn’t have to be a life long commitment.  You can learn a lot about yourself just by engaging a coach for even 3 or 6 months, as long as it is for specific purpose with a definite goal in mind. With a good coach and program you should see specific phases in your program which will build you up for your target event. With a bit of luck you’ll learn from the program so even if you discontinue using a coach, you’ll be able to take what you have learnt and apply it to future events. In one year of having a coach I learnt more about myself and my cycling than I did in the previous twenty years of riding and was probably the most cost effective upgrade I got for my cycling.

Another common thing you’ll  hear at any local race is “I can’t sprint”. Rubbish!! Everyone can, of course some people will always be naturally better at it. Once again if you need to improve various aspects of your game, look to a coach to help you. I used to be one of people who would say “I can’t sprint” but working with a coach and setting specific sprint drills I managed to raise my ability so I now stand a fighting chance in a sprint.

Having a coach also helps keep you motivated. It’s the age old problem, if you don’t have a plan you end up making excuses for not riding. I found by having a weekly program set for me, it gave me focus so there was no doubt what I should be doing and so there were no excuses for not training.

So how do you know if you have a good coach? Well I was always impressed that my coach would know exactly how body would respond to each phase of the training and pretty much knew how I would be feeling by the end of the week. Also a good coach will tailor your program to suit your target event, whether it be a mountain bike cross country event, a road race or a time trial.

Finally as a bit of an endorsement, for those people in Canberra considering getting a coach, I can highly recommend Jason from Argonaut Cycle Coaching. In my time working with Jason I was really impressed with his knowledge and he his ability to improve my cycling. Jason was always there to answer my questions and always kept the program interesting.

So have you ever had a coach?

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