Heading into 2012 I had high hopes and in the end I am glad to say that it has indeed been a good year, albeit like any year with it’s own share of ups and downs. The biggest down for the year was undoubtedly my continued health problems – although I am very pleased to say that they now appear to be behind me. For the ups, there were so many this year that I couldn’t possible single out any one, instead here is a summary of the main highlights.
Full time coaching – yep, 2012 will be fondly remembered as the year I finely gave up the public service and switched from being a part time coach to full time one, Argonaut Cycle Coaching the business was here to stay. This has been a fantastic change and enabled me to expand my coaching services. The extra time also gave me a chance to update the website and to build power profile and nutritional analysis tools for Argonaut riders. One of the key changes, that I think has made a positive difference this year, is moving away from group coaching to focus more on individual rider’s needs. I still prepare training plans for groups however I the longer I coach the more I am finding that the one on one focus for individual riders yields much better results and it’s something that I will continue to focus on.
I started Argonaut Cycle Coaching as a hobby back in 2009 and with very few riders we still managed some good results, most notably, up and coming rider Will Lind winning the John Woodman Wagga to Albury Handicap. In 2010 the number of top 10 finishes in open events rose to six (by three different riders), the most memorable being Ivan Michelin-Beard breaking the course record in winning the ACT hill climb champs at Corin. 2011 was an exciting year with Lisa Keeling cleaning up women's B grade at Bright and Tom Behrens demolishing the competition in the Riverina Handicap series. All up 11 different Argonaut riders notched up 34 top 10 finishes (in open events) throughout the year. 2012 got off to a cracking start with Roger Northcote riding a brilliant tactical race to take the stage 3 and GC win at the Vets Gunning 2-day. Will Lind and Lisa Keeling both ventured into NRS territory while many other riders also started targeting more open events. At year’s end 17 different Argonaut riders claimed a combined 48 top 10 finishes.
During this time I have watched all riders develop their fitness, skills and race craft and it has been extremely pleasing to see most riders notching up personal best efforts on local climbs or reaching some impressive power outputs.
Another important change towards the end of the year was a shift in the structure of the training programs. Throughout the end of 2011 and most of 2012 I was using an approach which contained a lot of threshold and high intensity intervals. This proved very successful in the short term, however over longer periods it was less so. One of the things I do well is regularly review my own performance as a coach and this was one of the cases where I needed to change what I was doing. So towards the end of the year I reverted back to more aerobically focussed programs. It’s early day’s yet as most riders are only just starting to get to their first batch of racing for 2013, but if results so far are any indication, the new programs are working very well indeed.
Into 2013 – Having started this post at the end of the year I can now also add some early highlights for 2013. Firstly I am pleased to report I have recovered from my health problems and have now been back on the bike for a little over 3 months. During this time I have successfully shed around 11kg (with more to go). There have also been a number of good early season results with Cheryl Woods claiming multiple medals at the NSW Masters Track Championships and Lisa Keeling claiming 11th and 7th, respectively in the Oceania Time Trial and Road Race, with the road race performance in particular a standout!
Over the coming weeks I will be updating most of the set training plans available on the website as well as writing a range of new ones, including preparation for time trials and 24hr MTB racing, so stay tuned for those.
Also, I am pleased to announce that there is a new Argonaut Cycle Coaching kit with an updated design. The new kit should be here within the next week, just in time for the Vets Gunning 2-day tour where Roger will be aiming for back to back victories, and James will be looking for top results (go the win) as well.