It was some months ago when I was approached to be Head Coach for the new Cycle Academy. At the meeting I met John Marshall the CEO of R-evolution and Tim Pattle the Development Co-ordinator at their base in Cottingham, it was an ambitious and interesting project plan, to recruit a group of young riders and develop them physically and psychologically through a road based Cycle Academy. It was soon clear that we all had the same passion and enthusiasm to help young riders develop in the sport and I jumped at the offer to be involved.
So we fast forward to last night which was our fourth meeting for the academy riders and one where the team achieved their first goals as we ventured out from Beverley on the first team road ride. Up to this point the riders had spent three sessions at Ennerdale circuit on a closed circuit so that they were ready for the road so that they could be safe and efficient in their riding.
We met six riders yesterday in Beverley for the start of the ride consisting of 20 miles with just under 1000 foot of ascent, a route which had one significant climb up Stoneknowle hill out of North Newbald. Andy Cawley and I acted as the ride leaders and Tim Pattle drove the support and safety vehicle. The riders certainly performed better than we had anticipated, there were some strong efforts from the riders up the ascents and the group riding was very effective into the head winds. It allowed Andy and me to see first-hand where each rider was with their bike skills, fitness and team work. The riders finished the ride with a respectable average of 15 miles per hour.
One of things I always like to monitor when I am out with the Academy is the chatter and listening to ensure that riders are getting on with each other and there is a sense of fun in the team, we certainly had that last night and the humour was there throughout the ride (well apart from when everyone is pedalling hard to get to the top of any climbs). I was also pleased to hear riders appreciate the environment and there were comments on the local scenery and how nice the evening was and that’s one thing that makes this sport so different with such fantastic roads so close to nature and the countryside than some other sports and pastimes.
It’s been a superb start to the Cycle Academy and the riders have been a pleasure to coach and support, all the riders listen and soak up the advice. So keep up the good work team.
Finally, we cannot forget the excellent support that this Academy has, everyone involved, from Amy in the office doing the essential admin, Oliver for the mechanics on the bikes, Tim with his superb communication support and overall management, Andy (Coach and my wingman) and John for his constant drive and enthusiasm. It’s a great team!