Crank Punk Coaching Systems: “It’s the greatest thing since energy gel flavored energy gel,” says James Cole

James Cole, for,er top-level sailor turned cyclist
James Cole, former top-level sailor turned cyclist, on the Mecca of climbs, Alpe d’Huez

Well he didn’t really say that but he should have.

James Cole, 37, originally from Oz but now living in Singapore, joined CPCS some months back in preparation for the 2014 Haute Route Alps. Here is his account of life as a crankpunker.

______________________

by James Cole

Crankpunk got me through the Haute Route Alps (HRA). This event is 900+km over 7 days with 23,000m of climbing over the French Alps.  There is just no other way I could have completed without Lee/Crankpunk sorting me out with a program that just worked.

Living in Singapore with the highest lump only 80m above sea level, I set myself a huge challenge by signing up for HRA in July 2013.  Having only really been cycling for 6 months at that stage it was a really crazy idea to think I could do it.  At that time I getting into cycling and was enjoying it, but training?  What was that?  I just rode to work daily and did group rides on the weekends with their pre-designated sprint points and otherwise comfortable do your turn on the front and have a good chat time rides.

Then I started getting into the racing, and oh crap.  I was able to keep up for the first half, and then the suffering and the getting dropped set in and that was just no fun.  So it was time to re-evaluate my approach and ask around what the fast guys were doing. This is when I stumbled onto Lee and decided if you can’t beat them, then at least start utilising their coach and programs.

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James, training on Singapore’s Mt. Faber (I think)

So in Dec 2013 the Crankpunk relationship with Lee started.  First with the discussion of goals, what I wanted to achieve (ie complete the HRA) and working out my general timing and availability to ride.  Having 2 young kids time pressures can get restrictive, but fortunately riding to work daily (30km each way) made for a satisfactory alternative and Lee was able to work around that.  So gone were the rubbish miles rides where I rolled into work to be replaced by various types of intervals.  The work ride changed from routine to being what punishment/suffering has Lee dreamed up for me this week.  It made Sunday nights interesting as I waited for what was in store the following week.

After a few months the initial results were in. OCBC race in April came and went and finished with a 6th place in the sprint.  Never been at the front at the end of the race let alone in the sprint.  Then there was the Cycosports Bintan Race shortly after.  Got into a break which lasted for 60km before the peloton chased us down.  Never had been in a real break before let alone lasting that long in one.  So the crankpunk program was working.

Now it was time to focus on HRA.  How on earth was I going to get over those mountains when all I did was train and ride on the flat?  But somehow Lee nailed it.  When I got to France and started that first climb up Columbiere I put myself into the groove as we had trained for on those mind-numbing repeats up that 80m lump they call Mount Faber he had me do regularly. I sat in that groove, kept the cadence high but comfortable and climbed.  And then everyone seemed to be going backwards as I climbed.  I reached the top and went wow, I can do this and now for the next climb.  7 days later the HRA was complete and now it was a case of how to convince the wife to let me do it all again next year.

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So the Crankpunk program works.  It isn’t one of those cookie-cutter one-size-fits-all program, but it works around what you want to achieve and the timing you have available to do it.  It isn’t easy but you shouldn’t expect easy if you are signing up for a cycling program, but it is fun and very rewarding with a lot of variety.  Lee provides great feedback and keeps you focused.

Highly recommended.

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