I’m fortunate enough to coach the GB Tx cycling team and the last few years has seen some real positive growth – particularly with the women. We started off a few years ago with riders ‘coming over’ from other sports – swimming, football, table tennis, and we did the whole ‘Level 2’ Road and time trial coaching process of learning basic skills – group riding around cones in the car park, following a wheel, through and off, pacing, cornering etc. All of the stuff you need to get nailed down before you can become a bike racer. It’s exactly the same British Cycling led process that the amazing Rebecca Romero went through when see converted from rowing to cycling – winning Olympic medals in both disciplines.
A couple of years later my riders are sending me heart race traces and times for their club 10’s and asking detailed and pertinent questions about the training I am asking them to do. This is just how the coaching process should work. Of course, this comes after the preparation of a training camp in Majorca in the spring of 2011, sessions at the track in Wolverhampton and racing internationally (Sweden) and domestically for their home clubs.
Although we are on a journey to the World Games in South Africa in 2012, the European Games are important in their own right. They exist to promote understanding of transplantation and organ donation and we compete with that in the forefront of our minds. We also compete in the knowledge the best way of saying thanks to out donors is to make sure we bring back some medals from Zagreb and, hopefully, a couple of European champions.
We are of course inspired by the success of British cyclists in the Tour and the Olympics and we hope to emulate a little of their success. We’d also like to be financially supported in the same way! My riders are all self-funded; we get no support other than what we can find for ourselves which is increasingly tough in these financially difficult times. Rather than a full Sky sponsorship package, we’d settle for the equivalent of a monthly subscription to Sky Sports!
I’ll update on the results…
Rich Smith is a Level 3 British Cycling qualified coach, the current British, European and World Transplant Cycling champion and the author of ‘ReCycled, a funny book about cycling and less important things like life and death.