Written by Garret Woynarski on October 19, 2015
Today I used a Coach. By my definition, I used a Coach to help me with the mental preparation and technical strategy on the bike and race course for today’s Provincial cyclocross final. I already use the services of an Executive Coach for my business, however I never considered myself worthy of a cycling Coach.
I have been training and racing road, mountain and cyclocross bikes for the past three years. Every year I progress both physically and mentally. Today was my biggest and most dramatic performance increase and it was part and parcel to having enlisted a Coach for the Provincial final.
Pre-race, we walked the course identifying strategic lines in the off-camber corners and sketchy, loose dirt, downhill turns to maximize speed while maintaining control and focus. My Coach advised me of technical bike handling tips based on his vast experience and practical knowledge created from his own ‘lessons learned’ while racing. During the race he encouragingly gave me lap by lap ‘reminders’ to keep my pedal cadence up to maintain my momentum in the corners and sprint sections while offering an outsider’s view of my competitors.
One would think that it is easy to remember to “pedal, pedal, pedal” or “take a breath, take a breath” or “stick on his wheel” but it is not. A race is so technical and there are so many strategies and stressors going through my mind that it is very easy to forget the simple fundamentals. This is no different than in business or in life.
Amateur and professional athletes and teams have a Coach. Piano and dance students have a Coach. Business executives and entrepreneurs have a Coach. We are all trying to find that next gear to propel our career or personal satisfaction forward.
Today I shifted my mindset and trusted my Coach. The results speak for themselves; a 5th place finish in my category when I am usually around 12th(in some disciplines a podium finish encompasses 1st-5th place finishers…..so let’s say I had a podium finish!). My previous average heart rate(HR) in a race was 167; today 173. My highest HR on record was 175; today 181. I felt my best and have the data to prove that I put in more effort when I had a Coach holding me capable. I thought I should rest before the start gun, instead I listened and was doing 30 second full-out sprints to get my HR up.
I finally took my own advice and put into practice what I preach; harness the advice of a Coach.