Yesterday, I returned to the icy coldness that is southwestern Ontario after spending a lovely week in the sunshine of Florida biking my butt off. I was travelling with a group of cyclists and Coach Chris. We stayed in a house of 6 and met up with one other man to ride as a group of 7 every day. I can’t describe how awesome it is to have cycling tan lines in January, even if the first two days were a shock to my legs (and my still recovering lungs).
I realized that I may not be the best coachee—I usually do a CrossFit workout on top of things here or take a rest day by accident there or go too hard when I should go easy or don’t go hard when I should be sprinting—but that I benefit a lot from having a coach. Here are six reasons why having a coach rocks that came to mind this week for me:
- They’ll take pictures of you on top of hills. Even if it means missing out on a hill repeat or two, they’ll make sure the world knows that you’re biking in the sun. We rode up Sugarloaf for hill repeats twice. While it doesn’t look too bad in a photo head on, it feels a lot like the hill I ride to outside of London (Old River Road), hills + outside riding + January (+ recent bronchitis for me) = humbling!
- They’ll ride with you if you need it. I have slowed Coach Chris down on numerous occasions outside of London. Most of the time, I ride faster for being with people who are quicker than me and that is awesome. At camp this week, my cough and the little rollers were a bit too much for me and we took an easy day separate from the other riders to ride 50km instead of the planned 110. My ego raged a bit, of course, but I knew as soon as I started pedaling that my coach is a smart man!
- They’ll handle the details. I don’t know how many years Coach Chris has been heading to Florida for this camp, but having someone to organize a camp who knows the rides, the airport, the grocery stores, etc. sure makes for an easy breezy trip!
- They’ll introduce you to lovely people. I like meeting other people who take pride in their bike short tan lines and can laugh at a joke about chamois butter. There was one other lady on the trip this past week and she was a great roommate—and we’d met before at rides and races that I’ve gone to with Coach Chris and then decided to go on the camp together. Bike friends are perhaps the best friends!
- They’ll help you with silly things, or hook you up with the people who can. Pumping your tires with a different pump too tricky? A coach will show you how. Having bike issues in the rebuilding process? The people they bring are givers: one of my co-riders this week lent me his spare wheels for the week—lifesaver! Cyclists are the best people—and helpful!
- They’ll reign you in and remind you of what’s important. I always want to go and try to prove myself. It’s part of an inferiority complex I have, and it usually means that I want to achieve my goals yesterday. With a coach, I have to keep a longer term goal in mind and I often get a dose of perspective about things like the fact that it’s January, or that I’ve just started to feel better following a gnarly cough, or that weight is not something worth obsessing over.
If you’re on the fence about hiring a coach, I would say to give it a go. There are tons of things that we waste money on, but I’ve never felt like the money I’ve spent on my coach has been for naught. I think part of the puzzle is finding someone who you want to listen to and who you trust with your training. I’m lucky that I have a fit with someone who lives in my city and who just so happens to plan really good camps—South Carolina is next in 7 weeks!
Do you have a coach?
Did I forget anything on the list?