"Injuries and illness meant that we only had 4 months to work together before the event - Tim was simply brilliant in every respect."
Tour de Force Finisher
Nick came down to Deal for a RAMP test on the Wattbike, and shared his target for the year with me: the Tour de Force, every stage of the Tour de France! This type of multi-day event is challenging enough, but the distances and terrain covered are professional level… and required very specialised training, probably nearer in volume to a real Pro than any other rider I have coached. But again, Nick had only limited hours to train, (and only 4 months…) and so the essential climbing reps for the Alps and Pyrenees (impossible to replicate on 95% of UK roads, even with repeated hill reps) were done indoors on a gym bike – a method I have used with a large number of riders to good effect.
Coupling efforts at tempo and threshold indoors, with endurance rides containing tempo blocks outdoors, worked very quickly for Nick and he continued to improve as we got within sight of the event itself, balancing 3-5 week builds with a recovery/adaptation week.
At the event itself Nick surpassed his own expectations, and was able to push hard on the mountain stages and still finish the event strongly: a testament to his mental fortitude as much as to our work together on his conditioning!
"Although I have been a lifelong very serious athlete, I only took up cycling in 2009 due to being injured out of running. Until this year I had largely cycled for fun, including annual trips to the Alps.
However, this year I had the opportunity to train full-time and decided to aim for some major challenges. In November I decided to participate in the Tour de Force. This is a charity cycle event that covers all 21 stages of the Tour de France in 23 days, 7 days ahead of the race itself.
I was aware that I would be one of the older participants at 56 but wanted to be able not just to complete the challenge, but to enjoy it and do it at a good pace. I felt it would be highly beneficial to be coached for the first time; hence my approach to Tim.
Injuries and illness meant that we only had 4 months to work together before the event. Tim was simply brilliant in every respect. I firmly believe that the best coaches need to understand their athletes' personalities and psychology well, and Tim established this from the outset when I went down to Deal for an initial discussion and ramp test.
His weekly training plans were extremely detailed and comprehensive, enabling me to train to specific Power Zones and with wet weather/ gym options included. Every session had a clear purpose and I made rapid progress in terms of power on climbs, endurance and recovery. There was plenty of dialogue by very regular email and via Skype, and Tim used analysis of my Garmin and Myzone gym data to inform at every step.
I hit the start line in Utrecht on 19thjuly well prepared and motivated. My performance over the 21 stages far exceeded my expectations and I found that I could push myself hard on many of the days, despite temperatures in the high 30's, and still be fresh and ready to go the next morning.
I thoroughly enjoyed working with Tim and will definitely use BlackCat for my next challenge."