Tuesday, July 15, 2014

UK Tour Update

Dear Swimmers

Hope all is going well back home in Perth - I heard the weather has been pretty bad? Surprisingly we're up to 30ºC today - wowsers!

I thought I'd send through some photos of what I've been up to for your interest. I'll see you all back on pool deck on Wednesday next week!

Le Tour de France:

First up was Le Tour de France which actually started in my home county of Yorkshire and went up many of the hills that I cycled and trained on as a young triathlete. It even inspired me to buy this fun little foldable bike to get around on. I haven't ridden for years and the first road went immediately up a 25% gradient which was "interesting" - I was loving being back into it though and saw the first stage go up the Category 3 climb of Buttertubs and then I watched the Grand Départ in York on day 2 before seeing the finish in Sheffield on the famous Jenkin Road (33%!!) - it was truly amazing!! Here's the pics:

The Tour de France, in my home town, seriously??!! You betcha!!

My new steed! 20 inch wheels and 18 speeds (most of which are slooooowwwww!)

Jens Voigt makes a break just before reaching us - his 17th Tour de France!

Little kids battling hard before the riders came through - very inspiring!

It takes all sorts I guess! :-)

Simon Gerrans cruises by - Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

Kittel from Germany takes the first Yellow Jersey after local legend Mark Cavendish crashes out

Check out this little kids commitment riding Le Cote de Jenkin Road - 33%!

People were grabbing any vantage point they could!

Alberto Contador leads the way with 3km to go (Vincenzo Nibali ends up winning the stage and taking the Maillot Jaune)

I spent the afternoon with former British Cycling Head Coach and one of the key figures behind much of Britain's successes that are being realised now, Simon Jones - you can only imagine the level of insight he brought to the proceedings!

Our first 3-day Coach Education Course:

After two days of "holiday" it was straight into our first 3-day Coach Education Course at a new venue in Oxfordshire which looks a lot like Hogwarts School (think Harry Potter!). It was a fantastic venue and we had 14 coaches from all around the world attending whom we pairs up with 14 swimmers on the 3rd day. We'll be running this same course again this Friday, such was the massive demand when we opened applications to the 1,300 registered coaches on our worldwide Swim Smooth coaches network. This is the very best thing for me - being able to spend time with my peers, chew the fat and help them improve their own coaching businesses. We have now had 175 international  coaches sit this particular course since we started it in June 2010 and the demand just keeps increasing each time we advertise it. I was able to share with them all the recent data from the 8 Week Get-Your-Mojo-Back program which was really useful also.

Coaching elite triathlete Paul Ryman using my radio headset and communicating with the coaches at the same time

"You can't be serious! I can improve just by doing exactly what you say?" Correct, you can!

Enjoying an evening open water swim in a lovely local lake!

Day 3 with all the swimmers - the coaches get to practice what I've preached...

Scull # 1 - as much a favourite in the UK as it is at sunny Claremont Pool!

Jazz hands everyone!!

The Jenson Button Trust Triathlon:

On Friday / Saturday we were invited to the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon on a private estate near Luton to conduct an open water swimming workshop and familiarisation exercise the night before the race. I couldn't have been more chuffed when I was introduced to Jenson himself (2009 Formula One World Champion) and his Ichiban Triathlon Team before I started coaching and he knew about our program - wow! Jenson's wetsuit of choice is even the one we helped to create, the HUUB Archimedes 3:5. Great!

We delivered a 1hr coached session on the Friday night before attending the race on the Saturday and watching the great Chris McCormack (2007 and 2010 Hawaii Ironman World Champion) do battle with Jenson and a collection of other high calibre elite athletes. Adam had to pinch me several times to let me know it was all real, especially when out for dinner with them after the awards. This has been a real highlight of my trip so far!

65 swimmers about to be put through their paces and shown some cool new open water tips and tricks!

Annie coaching from the kayak - Emma (waving) is enjoying her 2nd ever open water swim, the first was only 2 days earlier, also with us!

Demonstrating some drafting skills with elite triathlete and über-swimmer Stuart Hayes (one of my idols as a young junior)

The Swim Smooth Team: Adam, Annie and myself

Can we get a "whoop, whoop!"

Jenson with his custom-coloured HUUB Archimedes 3:5 wetsuit - he's an impressive swimmer / triathlete as well as a great racing car driver!

All smiles for the cameras - such a great, relaxed event and all for charity!

Legend: Chris McCormack

The bunfight - nearly 30% of the field were wearing one of our HUUB wetsuits - not bad considering they were only launched 2 years ago!

Textbook: Jenson Button in the swim!

Catch me if you can! Jenson exiting in about 5th place

Even cruising for fun, Macca still packs a punch!

Jenson punctured about 2km from the finish, ditched his bike and ran the rest of the way to T2 in his bare feet!

Macca "gifted" 4th place to an up & coming top age-group athlete who performed brilliantly!

Paul Ryman (who we coached on Wednesday) finished just behind Macca - impressive!

Despite puncturing Jenson still finished strongly!

Macca with his Team Macca-X after the finish…great to hear a more familiar Aussie accent 12,000 miles from home!

Out with Jenson's Ichiban Triathlon Team the night of the event - spot my Shimano SPD shoes - great for tap dancing on the dance floor!

Open Water Course for Triathlon England:

So all of the above has happened in the last 7 days (unbelievably!) and yesterday we hosted two Open Water swimming clinics for Triathlon England at the wonderful Shepperton Lake. We have re-written the entire swim coaching curriculum for British Triathlon / Triathlon England and as such all of their coaches (over 3,000 UK-wide) are now familiar with our methodology. We have also been running these training days for their members over the last two summers and this was my first chance to deliver one myself and it was an awesome day! The morning session is with a group who have typically never swum in open water before and the afternoon group are a lot more experienced. Taking someone into the open water for the very first time and showing them how to not let their anxiety dictate them is one of the most rewarding things that I am privileged to do - I love it!

With our novice group - showing them how to avoid a panic attack (luckily sharks aren't a consideration here!)

Ian prepares to join the drafting conga-line!

All smiles from Jo-ann!

Talking race tactics with the more advanced group

One week to go:

And after all that I've still been able to get a bit of "bro-mance" time with my best mate Adam - cruising the country lanes on a summer evening on our bikes has reminded me just how much I miss cycling!

Simply: awesome!

Still finding time for a cheeky Mojito!

Cheers and thanks for viewing!


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