I first came across Lee at the 2013 Tour of Friendship (“ToF”) in Thailand when he stormed to the General Classification in the Open Category. My own successes had been somewhat more modest – mid-to-lower podium finishes reflected an inability to conclusively break into the limelight on the top step.
My problem wasn’t a lack of motivation or mileage – I had that in excess but clearly those 5am training starts weren’t quite translating into the results I was aiming for.
After a disastrous National’s road race (my legs quite literally seized up with cramps on the finishing stretch and the bike fell onto the grass verge with me still clipped in), I sought the advice of a team colleague, Donald MacDonald, who’d started having decent results; he put me in touch with Lee’s Crank Punk Coaching Systems.
That was September 2013, about a month before the Tour of Matabungkay in the Philippines. Lee and I discussed my goals and reviewed my training including my nutrition and Lee put together a programme tailor-made for me.
The first thing that I realised was that it wasn’t just about piling on training miles. CPCS’s approach is focused and specific, designed to target areas that would make a difference where it would count. Instead of ramping up my mileage, it was actually scaled back but it was no less rigorous.
Another was recognition that rest time is not just down time but an important part of the structure of an overall training programme.
A third difference was whereas I had been trying to train to the ‘numbers’ (essentially using a power meter), CPCS eschewed this using ‘Perceived Rate of Exertion’ (“PRE”). In other words, it was about training your body to “get in touch” with itself so at any time, you knew when to go and when to wait.
The results were dramatic. Within five weeks, I came in 2nd in the Tour of Matabungkay (46+ Cat), much to my surprise. I had gone into the competition thinking that it would just be a ‘warm up’ event for the Masters Tour of Chiang Mai (“MTCM”) in November, but it marked the start of some notable successes.
The MTCM is essentially a climber’s race with the crux being the final stage, an 80km road race with three stonking hills including an 18km climb and Chiang Mai’s infamous “7-switchbacks”, 2.5km at 12%+. Coming into the race, I was lying 2nd in the GC but that counted for little as it was all about the hills. By the time we arrived at the switchbacks, there was only the pre-race favourite and myself left. Suffice to say, I was running on fumes and digging deep into whatever gains CPCS’s training had conveyed when the favourite cracked and I was able to ride away with the KOM and take the General Classification.
My ultimate goal however was the ToF, easily the most important elite amateur stage race in this part of Asia. We looked at this year’s course and concluded that the time trial was going to be of particular significance so we put together a training plan that spent time preparing for this as well. After a break in December, training began in earnest, building on strength gains from the past few months.
In the weeks leading up to the race, I could actually feel the improvements, particularly when riding with team colleagues where it was apparent that I was relatively stronger than before.
All that time trialing paid off because in the Prologue, I took the stage to secure the yellow jersey (actually blue in colour for our age group). In the mountain stage (Stage 3), I took the KOM after over-hauling all but one of the 30-year olds (who were racing with us) and extended my GC gap by over two minutes by Stage 4 of the competition.
Suffice to say, Crank Punk Coaching Systems has worked for me. Clearly hard work, motivation and time are necessary to succeed but what CPCS brings to the mix is an ability to direct those ingredients with a bespoke programme of structured training and blend them into a winning formula.
I can’t think of a better recommendation than that. Thanks Lee!