Matthew Robertson | BlackCat Cycle Coaching

"Tim has got me to such a good place that I am now training with the GB team looking to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020."

Matthew Robertson

Woolwich CC – Sainsburys School Games Champion, National Para RR Series Champion, Silver Medal National Track Ch'ship 2017

150% plus increase on Max Aerobic power test!

Matthew came to me in 2014 to do a test and get some coaching. For someone with so little experience (and so young – he was a youth rider at the time) he put out reasonable numbers, but more apparent was his drive and enthusiasm, coupled with a willingness to learn.

Fast forward to 2017 and Matthew is on the BC Track to Tokyo Paralympic programme, having achieved National medals and with his sights set firmly on 2020… oh, and with a 150% plus increase on his original Max Aerobic power test!

Matthew has Hemiplegia, meaning one side of his body is weaker than the other: because of this a large proportion of his training was done indoors on a home trainer, to heart rate and then to power using watts. Matthew’s power outputs at peak, VO2 and threshold have all risen steadily over the past 3 years, to 2017. As he became more confident, and his strength increased, he was able to train more on the road and track taking us to where he is now. But… the foundations of his current high level of fitness were built on specific, progressive indoor training to heart rate and power.

"I have always loved and wanted to ride a bike. I have always looked up at the top racers and said to myself that I wanted to be like that, both on the road and track. But because of my disability of hemiplegia, which creates loss of function on the whole of the right side and little power produced from the right side, I struggled to make any progress. After a while I learnt to ride at the age of 13 and I knew that if I wanted to improve I had to find a coach who could help me specifically improve while working around other things.

I have to say it is one of the best decisions I have ever made, finding and sticking with Tim Ramsden at BlackCat Cycling. He is always so supportive in what I am trying to achieve, because over the years that I have been with him I have set more and more goals after I started to win Para races. I am now being watch by the Great Britain Paracycling team coaches, and am only weeks away from making the best career highlight so far, making the GB team; but have had some great successes with my racing to date.

Last year was my second year of riding and training and I won the Youth National Championship road race winning a gold medal and National jersey. Then my successes didn’t stop there as I went to the UK School games in 2015 and won 3 gold and 2 silver medals on the track taking the overall omnium win. I also won the national road race series for my category. It has been great having Tim as a coach, and I wouldn’t want anyone else and would never go back.

Tim has got me to such a good place that I am now training with the GB team looking to win a gold medal in the Tokyo Paralympics in 2020, and now I have a strict training regime that gets me training mostly all the time to improve the best I can, and by giving Tim my year plan of races, he creates my plans to work around the races.

As the Paralympics is very track based, it is important that we do well in our track races, last year I won a silver in the international youth omnium against other countries. We did some number crunching a few weeks ago and with my times seen that if I had gone to Rio, I would have got 8th in my category, C2 male, which isn’t bad considering I am only 17.

This year looks promising as I have already broken my own British record, and won a silver medal in the National track championships. This is just as much his journey as it is mine and Tim has got me here and I couldn’t have done it without him. One of my favourite wins was a gold Medal in the 2016 School Games which featured a TT and road race. I feel that I show great improvement as I train for both endurance and sprint because of the events that my category do, and last year I won silver in the CTT series, showing I have increased my endurance to a high level. Thank you so much Tim and let’s keep pushing.

We have come a long way from my first Wattbike Test with Tim in his back shed- let’s hope it’s all worth it for that gold medal at Tokyo."