The camp started with us all arriving at Heathrow Airport on Sunday the 31st September.
15 riders from 4 countries (Australia, USA, New Zealand and the UK) to be joined by 4 more in Wales making a grand total of 19 riders.
We were greeted by a smiling Pete Mitchell, lead coach on the camp and in charge of logistics, who had come directly from taking second place to Olympic champion Jason Kenny in the match sprint at the elite British national championships the day before.
After we had packed the bike, bags and a group of weary riders in to the van and mini bus, we set off for the drive to Newport in Wales where the camp was taking place. After an uneventful 2hrs, we were there and once we had eaten an early night was had by all.
Monday was the 1st day on track and we deliberately booked an afternoon session to give the riders a chance to get over the jet lag and have some extra rest. We got to the track early and after a fun race to see who could put their bike together quickest (won by PCC head coach Lee Povey) were ready to train. Day one was mainly getting used to riding a steeply banked indoor track again, with many of the riders not having been indoors for a while. After a group warm up riders practiced riding slowly at the rail/fence and worked on their lines for the 200m tt and pursuit.
Day two saw the more serious efforts starting, and with over 50 individual efforts to fit in to the 3hr session it was a busy one. We structured it so every rider knew when their turn was and had the right amount of rest between their efforts. We actually finished with a little bit of spare time for riders to practice observation and tactics. We also used the start gate and beeps so riders could get their starts timed perfectly with the full race day equipment.
The remaining 3 days sessions were similar, with riders working on both the technical aspects of their events while getting in some seriously hard efforts. All around us riders were setting PB’s or going very close, boding well for the following weeks competition. We were careful to make sure riders didn’t over exert themselves and had enough left for the big days ahead. We offered coaching when asked (and saved nearly a second from the 1st lap of one of the pursuiters) and respected those riders that didn’t want input, we weren’t there to mess with anyone’s prep or change anything so close to the comp.
On the last two days, most of the riders practiced their events under race conditions setting some very impressive times! We could tell we had a great group of dedicated and talented athletes; the people on the camp were clearly serious about getting their preparation right. By now the riders were over the jet lag and really firing.
After the track sessions on 3 of the days we had workshops aimed at getting the riders ready for the following week’s competition. The first focused on race day preparation covering everything from when to arrive, how to warm up, when to eat, how to deal with rest periods between races and plenty more! Next was the psychology clinic with input from guest coach David Le Grys and lastly we had a tactics work shop using videos of all the different types of races. Even the most experienced riders felt they picked up new things that would help them the following week.
As coaches we were really impressed by everyone enthusiasm, effort and encouragement of each other, a great feeling of camaraderie with all the riders clearly wanting their fellow camp members to do well. There was a real feeling of getting ready for battle and we were all in it together.
After the workshops, we had a couple of evening events, one a trip to a local curry restaurant and the other a trip to see the film “Rush” an excellent tale of the formula one battle between James Hunt and Nikki Lauda.
By Friday all the riders were ready and we set off on the journey to Manchester stopping for lunch along the way. When we got there we went straight to the track so we could set up an area large enough for our riders to sit in and warm up each day. This left a rest day in between to get over the drive from Newport to Manchester before the World Masters Championships started on the Sunday.
Now the holding camp was over we moved into Race Day Support for the actual championships themselves. Performance Cycle Coaching’s race day support is just like being a top rider at an elite World Championships or Olympics. We help each rider to perform to the upmost of their ability and allow them to achieve the results that they deserve. This comes from a combination of tactical, psychological, nutrition and race day planning, taking away the stresses and mistakes that could arise due to the high pressure situation.
Day 1 kicked off with our first athlete Jim Turner. Jim’s main goal for these championships was to gain experience, ready for a move up the age categories next year. Jim was great listening to all our coaching points and with our support produced a strong ride to finish 5th in the 70 plus 2k pursuit. An excellent result for his 1st World’s, especially considering this was still one of the first few times that Jim had ridden on a wooden track.
The next day took us on to the sprinters with Mark Rodamaker, Mark Altrimano, and Bob Cronin competing, along with Simon Lusk in the 500TT (who would later qualify fastest and finish second in the M55-59 2k pursuit). The standard was as high as ever and after qualifying fastest, Rodamaker progressed through to the semi’s on day two, with Altrimano and Cronin having to settle for 6th and 7th respectively.
Mark Rodamaker’s performance and epic three ride final with Geoff Cooke in the M65-69 sprint final really set the tone for the week (he also got a Bronze in the 500m TT and scratch). Highlights for us included Tara Unverzagt winning an incredible 4 Golds and a Silver in her debut championships, Jenni Sammons taking Gold in the 5 plus 2k pursuit, Paul Gittins battling well in the M40-44 sprint to finish higher than his qualifying position, Buffie Wuestewald getting a Silver medal in the W45-49 Sprint and a Bronze in the 500m TT again at her first World champs. And these were just some of the riders that we supported!
What Pete had to say, “This was my first World Masters experience and I took home from it the feeling of a great camaraderie amongst the riders, both at the racing and at our camp. Riders were united both in their desire to win and in their love of competition and cycling. I have no doubt that this was one of the reasons that the 20 riders attending our camp came away with 7 Gold, 7 Silver and 10 Bronze medals, an incredible achievement.”
The two weeks for us were a great success and have left us eagerly anticipating next year. Track times have already been booked and we have learnt a great deal of how we can make next year’s camp work even better. If you are interested in attending the 2014 camp, please contact us to be added to our mailing list and kept updated of progress and camp details.
Lastly a quote from one of the riders “No better way to get ready for Worlds! You get to the UK early enough to adjust to the time change, get used to a track that is very similar to Manchester, excellent coaching and advice, and there’s no easier way to haul all your bike stuff around!”
Lee and Pete