Happy as a Clam: Breaking New Ground, Enjoying Three Perspectives & Exploring Ways Forward

 Screen Shot: Cyclops Power Hub Data

This is a screen shot from yesterdays afternoon session. After a solid few days and field testing in the morning it was great to get indoors and validate the feeling and numbers from a few position changes. This is the shot of the software screen and shows 4 x 4min at 460 – 470w with average speeds of 50km/h. Heart rate averages were positive too with all under 160HR. The final effort was like a ramp/progressive sample. It was a bit of exploration to see if Raoul good get the data he needed to isolate the rolling resistance. I must say with Raoul and Jono engaging in this process with me is really enjoyable. To explore variables and sample all the available info we can record so that each and ever adjustment is understood as to it’s effect.

There has been great communication obvious with Raoul taking the scientific view, Jono the coach view and little old me as the athlete perspective.

 Jono & Raoul making adjustments to front end of the bike
It’s a great fusion of thinking, testing and performing. Obviously I was always going to be challenged and challenging. I have mentioned this before but my size was always brought up as a big hurdle, and like an good sports person what do you do with hurdles?
Size it up, practice jumping it, push it over, go round it, smash it, break it…this list goes on. I think that Raoul and Jono saw this as a big part of the interest in this project we are engaged in. I couldn’t be involved with two better people. The three of us together are competitive, willing to challenge the norm’s, and we love a challenge. I know at times we have all done some head scratching, but our persistence and collective motivation has been great.
The new ground is clear for me as trying to transform and transition from one sport to another is curiously compelling. Getting aero, light and fast have been the foremost needs. Working with motivated, committed people has been something I have enjoyed before and to find it with this venture is rewarding and critical. The perspectives are crucial like never before.
The coach and athlete partnership has always been important to me and with Chris O’Brien for 8 years was a key to performance success. Our friendship and time together saw both of us grow into people who shared much more the just rowing on the water. Ultimately equals in our relationship and yet difference in approach and styles were a strong compliment. Noel Donaldson was the 6 years before that and again I would never have been half the athlete with out his guidance, support and shaping ability.
Now to be working with someone new and different is obviously refreshing. But to leave it there would be to understate what Jono Hall has done over the last two months. Combine this with Raoul’s expertise and willingness to search, explore and engage is a very cool connection between three people.
Jono and Chris must have had a discussion recently because my history or reluctance to follow a program came up. Last weekend I misread and sort of did a few extra things. It’s comes from being an intuitive athlete I think and although I think I have been better at working to follow Jono’s guidance with sessions I must admit I do like to stray. It would seem that they have both had a good laugh at the frustration of coaching an athlete like myself.
What I have enjoyed with Jono, Raoul, Chris and Noel over the years are the perspectives and honesty. There is no room here or in true performance environments for a lack of honesty. It creates a haze, uncertainty and the ambiguity can only end in dissatisfaction. This is not to say that having honest and at time brutal truths isn’t easy. It can be hard to take, but for me everything else in performance is a waste if it is not understood how important it is to be direct, clear and dare I say uncompromising.
We are exploring ways forward. I have no preconceived ideas about how we get to our destination. All I know is with a strong commitment, support and the energy to find, create unearth a pathway is central to my living of the performance project. Going forward means at least we can see some of the things coming up which might create challenges. Getting aero was always visible and we have worked to improve my position and will continue to do so.
We have a few tricks up our sleeves which might assist me dramatically here. Hence the reason for all the testing now so we have the best picture of where it’s at for me. Another visible hurdle is financial and this will continue to build the longer we go on this journey.  At this stage it is a reality that this project takes time, energy and money. Managing and balancing time with family, work and training has never proved more difficult. I am tired, often grumpy and spending more time with everyone involved as we attempt to pull all this together. I mention this because much of my time over the last months has been spent meeting with people about this project trying to get support for the road ahead. 
Exploring ways forward is about find the physical, mental and emotional pathway which maximises each step and continues to reap rewards for all involved. Come January 6, I will competed in the National Time Trail and by then the intangible will have become tangible. The line in the sand is has been drawn and any good little, old/young athlete it has sharpened my focus, brought me together with great people and enable some amazing development and personal growth.

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