CPCS is CrankPunk Coaching Systems.
CrankPunk Coaching Systems grew out of CrankPunk.com, which began with me, Lee Rodgers.
Bear with me here: this will take five minutes to read but if you are about to trust a coach to get you stronger and faster and about to send that coach your hard-earned money, you deserve to know why you should do that.
You won’t get a bunch of slick marketing speak here because I'm sure neither of us can be bothered.
And it’s not just that: you’ll read the same stuff on many coaching websites.
CrankPunk Coaching Systems comes with the same no-nonsense, get-on-with-it attitude you'll find in the articles I write about cycling. This extends to my approach to training, riding and racing. I know how to get strong, I know how to make a comeback, I know how to manage tight time schedules and I know how to win - and most important of all, I know how to effectively communicate these things to others so that they too can achieve their dreams and make improvements - in short, I know how to coach.
How It All Started
I tried just about every sport you can think of before I came to cycling.
I remember the very first time I got on a racing bike. It was the 24th of July, 1987. I remember that date so well because it took two days of annoying my Mum to let me use my meager savings to buy a road bike, after watching Stephen Roche come back to Pedro Delgado keep his Tour de France dreams alive in an amazing stage up to La Plagne.
I went out and did 25 miles that day and I distinctly remember thinking This is amazing!
Two months later I won my first ever race, a 10 mile time trial that I had to ride 25 miles to get to. I broke the 26-year old record for the course. I was 15.
I raced here and there after that over the next two years, maybe only seven or eight races in total, winning two, coming second in three and third in another. My training was not really training at all, it was just me going riding, doing what I wanted when I wanted, listening to my body but also my head – if I didn’t feel like riding I didn’t.
I rarely trained long but when I did train, I made it count. It was instinctive.
I had the same approach to racing.
Then I quit, just as fast as I had started.
Fast forward 18 years and I’m living in Japan. I haven’t ridden a bike further than the local pub in years. I was into bodybuilding and 96kg. I got tired of that though and was putting on fat. Finding myself outside a bike shop, I went in and thirty minutes later I was standing outside with a new bike, a Trek 1000.
‘What have I done?’ I thought.
Within a week I’d clocked up 250km.
A month later I was cracking a thousand plus whilst still managing a full-time job, something I've done throughout my second racing career.
Two months on I entered a little 50km race and won. Two more months and 4 more races later, thanks to the quick promotion system (and scarcity of racers) in Japan, I was promoted to the pro/am league.
I had no coach. I had no plan on the wall. I still went out and had a beer or two too many here and there, skipped training when I lacked motivation and enjoyed a dirty Big Mac now and again.
But when I did ride, I went out and did what I knew I had to do to get fitter. When I went to a race and got my backside kicked, on the way home I would work out how the guys who dropped me had done it. I worked out where they were stronger than me, identifying my weaknesses and then over the next weeks I would work on those areas.
I realized that what I thought was hard training was anything but. If that guy who beat me did it by kicking me off on the 5th time up a 4km hill, that meant that he was training for that. So I started to train specifically for my races.
I went from hanging in the group to illuminating races, then to hitting the podium, then to winning.
Then I got a call, at 38 years old, to join a Continental team and to race the UCI Asia Tour. I was old and I didn't care one bit. I loved it. Every minute. I rode in the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman (finished both, maybe my proudest achievements, I certainy suffered for those!), and won the Points Competition in the Tour of Taiwan 2012.
ProCycling magazine feature from 2013
And I did it by doing it my way. I got up before work and rode or I got home from work and I rode, and I once spent 75 hours in three weeks on my indoor trainer to get ready for a stage race, enforced on me thanks to a broken hand. I put my time in.
So, when the top female rider in Singapore asked me in 2013 to coach her I had to sit down and, for the first time ever, try to work out what it is that I do. It was a fascinating experience, trying to translate ‘my way’ so that someone else could understand it and benefit from it.
What You Get
I began CPCS by putting the same dedication into my coaching that I put into riding my bike, and, as the clients started to come, so did the results.
Some clients want to win a specific race or several, and I help them do that. Others want to hang on to their local group ride, and I help them do that. Some want to ride 1000km in 7 days over Mongolia and have never ridden over 200km in a week in their lives when they come to me, and I help them achieve those goals too.
I get a greater kick when my clients achieve their goals than I ever did when I achieved mine, and I get way more tense before their races then I did before my own too!
And maybe that’s the way it should be, when you’re investing your time and your money in a coach.
You deserve to get out what you’re willing to put in.
That, in a large and roomy nutshell, is ‘What is CPCS’.
Road Director of the ANZA Cycling Club and CrankPunker Donald MacDonald on his way to the podium at the 2013 Singapore National Championships.