Mid Winter blog 2014

The last 3 months I have been busy focussing on developing a robust all-year-round cycle coaching business.  It’s funny the way life/business turns out though: back in April I was intent on avoiding the imminent winter lull through as much brainstorming that you could point a stick at, which unfortunately didn’t work out for me.  The lull hit and the annual questions of how I was going to make coaching work with a family to feed kicked in.


Ironically if it weren’t for a crash on one of my school group rides (St Margaret’s College) and help and guidance from local BikeNZ educator James Sagar, I  actually wouldn’t have had much work.  After many draft risk analyst strategy systems (RAMS) forms and extra hours educating the girls to keep safe (while keeping it fun), I had realised my new core winter business activity – secondary school’s cycling: safe secondary school’s cycling.  Yes, this activity has also highlighted for me that safety is a now a major and growing concern for road cycling especially given the rapidly changing social geography of Christchurch.


In a further twist, the cogs of motion in my mind (which to be fair could do with an upgrade) have finally clicked to the concept that to make my cycle coaching service an all-round facility I should move indoors.  And what better place than at my local bike shop and sponsor Chain Reaction Cycles Specialized Concept Store.  Being a morning person I’ve always struggled with the thought of after work/evening exercise that I’ve avoided taking indoor training sessions at night.  But a recent change in home life and an observation of what my competitors were doing made me realise I could quite easily shift an afternoon group ride to after-work-hours and indoors to provide a more consistent and popular environment for training.


It’s a win-win for myself and Chain Reaction as finding a space to take my group rides indoors in a red-hot rental market would have been costly and I’m exposed to new potential clients.  For Chain Reaction I’m bringing new (and old) people into the store and I’m also helping to create a culture for the store where people do more than just shop.  When Craig Shakespeare, store manager, and I sat down at the start of winter we discussed how I could strengthen my identity as a Chain Reaction sponsored cyclist.  Taking indoor sessions at the store is certainly a step in the right direction!


Finally, a key component in my winter-time business activity is my participation, coaching of those that compete, and sponsoring of the Prebbleton (Christchurch) Winter Worlds.  This year I’ve stepped up my level of involvement in all these areas.  Of the nine races run to date (of eleven), I have competed in seven and won 5 (record for me).  Before the start of each race I take a group ride in which I run my clients through race specific tactics practiced out on the road (attacking with others, chasing, judging sprint distances and lead outs), much to their joy.  I also teamed up with local coach, commissaire and numbers guru Hamish Ferguson to take a ‘learn how to race safely’ ride over the course for members of the public.


A new contribution I have made to the series this year is offering two 3 month cycle coaching scholarships for both a male and female junior rider.  The successful applicants Felix Donnelly and Georgia Voice have shown excellent application and motivation to get the most out of the first month of their mentoring and coaching and it’s been a pleasure helping these two gain new ground in their sporting careers.


As I sit typing inside a cafe while cloud and rain shroud the Christchurch port hills and the long range forecast predicts nothing but rain, I live in hope for the end to winter soon but simultaneously the optimism of a coach with the world as his cycling-mania-oyster.


Ride strong



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