Interview number 1.

13Nov08

Sarah Riley has been my coach since 2004. Initially she started as my strength and conditioning coach, however, our relationship developed and she was the instigator in me starting my first race on the bike. Soon after she began to write me programs for the bike, I was rowing and studying at the time so her talents as a coach were tested from the start balancing my riding with my rowing and study. Sarah is extremely well qualified and now looks after my nutrition, strength and conditioning and bike work. The relationship of coach and athlete has developed over the years to now where she is a great friend, mentor and coach.

I want to use these interviews to see what makes the people around me and who have influenced me tick as well as finding some honest insight into myself. It may take a couple of goes at this before I get used to asking questions that are going to get under the surface so I may have to come back to some people at a later date. Hopefully this helps them as well.

NM: Firstly what made you become a coach?
SR: It has been a process becoming a coach not a decision I consciously made. I have been a coach for a few sports, the first I started with was swimming because I had come from years of training and competing so it was a natural progression for me to want to encourage people to participate in my sport. After I finished competitive swimming I really needed another outlet for my competitiveness so I took up tennis. My enthusiasm for this sport again lead me to becoming a tennis coach. While at university studying sports science I became particularly interested in the Strength and Conditioning side of preparing an athlete for competition and this has been a major focus in the development of my career in the sports industry. I really enjoyed the process of being able to break down a skill in order to teach the movement pattern and help the athlete to acquire a skill they previously did not possess. With cycling coaching I really enjoy the process of putting a training program together to help athletes improved their physiological potential on the bike. I also get a lot out of the support side of cycling coaching, helping the athlete through their training load and encouraging them with racing.

NM: What made you become a cyclist?
SR: I have always been involved in a lot of sports in the past and always been a really competitive person, so when I met my partner who is a cyclist I figured “if you can’t beat them join them!” Then my enjoyment for the sport kept growing from there.

NM: If you can remember back to when I was a fresh-faced rower what made you encourage me to race my bike?
SR: You really seemed to get a lot of enjoyment out of riding your bike as a means of cross training for your rowing. This coupled with the dedication you showed towards training and your obvious physiological attributes that would be suited to cycling, I really believed that you could be a great competitive cyclist.

NM: You have been my coach since 2004 how have you seen me change in that time?
SR: You have really matured as an athlete in that you are much more aware of your limits both psychologically and physiologically. Your approach to racing has become very focused and professional and your self control and decision making during a races has also become very proficient.

NM: You are a cyclist yourself are you good at taking your own training advice?
SR: In all honesty not always. It is very easy to get caught up in always wanting to race or train wherever you can fit it in and occasionally forgetting how important recovery is.

NM: What do you think makes our partnership work so well?
SR: Our communication, understanding of each others point of view and the trust we have in each other that we are working towards the same goals is what I believe makes our partnership work so well.

NM: What has been the hardest thing about coaching me?
SR: Writing training programs for you in a country that I had never visited and knew little about in the beginning. It was also challenging trying to balance training with such a huge racing load while you were in Europe.

NM: What is my best and worst attribute as an athlete?
SR: Your best attribute as an athlete from a coaches perspective is that the effort you put in towards training and racing is always 100% and you never complain. Your worst attribute is that you occasionally put in 150% but you are much better now at controlling yourself with that.

NM: Do I frustrate you?
SR: Never. . .because I know you operate in a very similar manner to what I do so I have complete understanding of where you are coming from.

NM: You are taking big steps yourself as a cyclist, what is behind motivation?
SR: I just really love both mountain biking and road cycling and all the aspects that come with that, the training, racing and the people.

NM: Some say you are a little crazy. Do you think this is true? If yes, why? If no, why?
SR: Yes, I am a little crazy but is only because I actually think that I am a super hero and can do everything!

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