This past weekend I attended the 2nd training camp for the 2015-16 cycling season at the Williams Racing Academy in Wimberley, TX. It's a pretty cool deal for me to attend these events because I am being coached by the owner of WRA, Christian Williams, but I also work as a coach for him. Therefore I get to ride my bike and improve my fitness while also getting some quality time in with some of the athletes that I coach. The food also happens to be top notch (ride food and your standard meals).
On the Wednesday before the camp weekend I got a text from one of my athletes asking me if he could fill out a goals sheet/assessment for the camp. He said he had some things he wanted to achieve that weekend that he had really put some thought into. I responded by telling him it was a great idea and sent the assessment over to him. He filled it out, got it back to me, and now we knew exactly what he wanted out of the camp. Point number 1 here is that the athlete approached me to get some goals set. He took the initiative to get the ball rolling, which I loved.
I arrived at camp on Friday night. The athlete has one day under his belt but the challenge of the weekend lied in the 2 following rides on Saturday and Sunday. They were long rides, which the athlete wanted to make longer in order to hit a mileage goal he had set for himself. Not only that, but he also wanted to sprint the finishing straight just before being home on Sunday simply to offer one last test of how he had handled the weekend. We talked at dinner and he seemed ready to take on the challenges.
My athlete had a great ride on Saturday, even though I did not see him all that much. He was surfing wheels at the back of the pack and just enjoying the ride. He never sprinted for city limit signs and he was never far from food or water in the follow vehicle. To drive the point home even further, I came back to chat with him on one occasion and commented on how much clothing he had on. His response was " I am wearing this much clothing because I do not like to get cold." My response to him was "well you can warm up some if you get on the front and pull for a bit". His final response, which leads to point 2 was "no, I'm good back here". Point number 2 is this, the athlete knew himself and what he wanted and did not waver.
Sunday's ride started out much like Saturday's. The pace was tame and we were all just enjoying good company. This ride however had a bit of a twist at the end. To finish off camp we would do some race simulation. I had done these before, my athlete had not. I knew what we were in for and we would all be running on empty by the time we were done.
The race simulation came and went. My athlete performed wonderfully. He wasn't the first to cross the line, but he gave everything he had. His courage and determination were never in question. He was OK with his performance, which brings me to point number 3. Point number 3 is that the athlete did not expect something supernatural from himself even though he was competing against others. He set out to to the best that he felt he was capable of, and that was good and fine with him. He understands that comparison can lead to a dark road no one wants to tread down.