Being coached by Lee helped me massively in progressing not only my physical ability on the bike, but also in tactical and technical ability whilst riding, as well as giving me insight into the right way to mentally approach training and racing, especially big events.
I first met Lee when I was an under 14 rider at the local track league. After winning a few of my youth races, Lee suggested that I ride up in some of the adult events and that he provide me with a structure for training, as what I was doing at the time was highly random and not getting the best out of me . Initially being coached by Lee felt very different to before with having a structured program of sessions to do every week, but almost immediately I felt the effects and began to feel stronger on the bike.
The benefits of my new programme with Lee showed as soon as I entered the season for racing, my results steadily improving in national events all year until eventually I managed to win the British under 14 national omnium championships in August 2010. This brings me to a really important part of Lee’s coaching; specifically his race day coaching. By being there with you at the big events he can ensure that on the day you can perform to your best, by aiding you in choosing the right times to get on the rollers to warm up, talking tactics over with you, and by getting you into a clear, positive frame of mind before races. I feel that this helped me to a great length not only at that event, but at all of the national championships which I have ridden in on the track since then.
Moving into the Under 16 category Lee and I decided that I might fare better by specialising towards being a sprinter, so we adjusted my training schedule, with Lee putting in sessions that would help towards all aspects of my cycling; speed and power sessions on the track bike, and strength work at the gym. Once again this new program showed solid results within the year, with an improving top speed and acceleration and also a new measure of tactical nouse. Working closely with Lee, having constructive discussions post race, breaking down a race into parts, looking at what I did right, and what could be done better or differently next time. At my first under 16 track national championships I won a bronze medal, giving me the the confidence and motivation I needed to work even harder with Lee through the winter into the next season, with the prospect of winning another national title the next year.
Work with Lee payed off and I won two more national titles as a second year Under 16, the track sprint and the 500m TT, and also got a silver medal in the Junior national keirin. Success at the national championships can be attributed towards me and Lee preparing a sophisticated plan before the season, with key races during the year to see where I was at, and just the right amount of taper going into competition to make sure that I felt at my absolute peak when it mattered at the big races.
A few months after the nationals I was selected onto the British Cycling Olympic Development, so started receiving coaching from the British Cycling staff. This meant I had to end my time working with Lee, however I have stayed good friends with him and will always be grateful for the pivotal role he played in aiding me to progress to the level which I am at today.