Dave Smith has coached Tour stage winners and Olympic medallists, world champions and numerous national champions. Describing his approach as quirky and counter intuitive – as far as his own cycling is concerned the rules are simple. Ignore statistics. Ride. Enjoy. Repeat.
Just as doctors get asked about lumps and bumps at dinner parties – I often get asked about my own training when I’m in a group of cyclists. Over the years I’ve coached Olympic medallists, Tour de France yellow jersey holders and chaps who sit in F1 cars. Incorporating plenty of stats, science and boffins.
So you may think that my own training must read like Charles Darwin’s ‘ journal? No – only if Darwin was a complete loon. There’s no training diary, no plan, no spreadsheets and no data analysis. To measure my power, I don’t measure power – I know I can produce 5 “wtf/kg” at threshold! Much more important the goal in my own training is to make numerous wonky and bumpy shapes on maps. To feel gears and headwinds, eat gels and scotch eggs, turn on to unknown roads to see where they lead. My suffer-o-meter gets re-calibrated on a regular basis which helps to remind me all’s well in the world.
Because despite my own ‘destination’ of being healthy and active long into old age, which excites me, the ride is important too. It has to be fun. Challenging, unconventional and far removed from the day job – which is doing the science thing for other people.
By keeping the ride fun the destination is almost of secondary importance. I’m not even sure I’ll know when I’ve reached it.
When I read the wonderful open letter from Helen Wyman (to young riders) I saw Cyclocross mentioned a lot. But to me it read like a challenge to enjoy the ride and the destination whether within cycle sport or normal life. The aim is to take what might seem like an unconventional ride and to reach a satisfying and previously over-looked destination. What’s not to like about that?
When I thought a little more about it I realised that my own business, Velocity and Vitality, is all about ride and destination – fitness to ride faster with health for a long and energised life. But I hadn’t seen the link between why Vulpine make what they make and what I’m doing for coaching clients. They make the ride more bearable so the destination can be better enjoyed. I do the same.
We’re in the season when many people feel compelled to generate some well-intended personal goals and announce them as a New Year resolution. Well my advice is – don’t! Or at least not the classic way by announcing your desired ‘destination’ of losing weight or giving up smoking.
Rather focus on the ride. In my next blog I’ll suggest specifics on how to make that workout work out, without removing the smile on your face.