If you are someone who hasn’t heard or read about the Ironman World Record broken last weekend (albeit how we could discuss about validity of these for hours), you probably are not someone from the cycling or triathlon bubble!
Today I want to start by sharing a reflection of what a coaching journey can lead to and my thoughts on the above using my own personal experience. And it feels about perfect timing in order to congratulate and highlight one of my cyclists – and the first one I started coaching - who just signed his first contract to race in Spain in 2022. Cormac Nisbet, massive kudos to you. At the age of 16 you are already one step closer to the big goal.
Going back to the initial example, in 2010, Arild Tveiten was still working for a heart rate monitor company when the Norwegian triathlon federation reached out to get him involved in the triathlon program. The goal was simple. To generate the first Olympic medalist for his country by Tokyo 2020 in the triathlon event. Nearly 12 years later, he not only helped developing the first medalist, but an Olympic gold one, an ITU World Champion, a 2 times 70.3 World Champion and many other titles. But above all, he has set the new standard for what racing in Triathlon looks like across all disciplines. Part of this program was what we could call “an experiment”, a bunch of measured risks with the believe on his “new” methodology and a constant trial and error which at times felt like that it could completely burn out his athletes. He didn’t, and now we can witness how Kristian Blummenfelt, Gustav Iden and Casper Stones are the icing on the cake of what this country and coach have achieved.
They spent 10 years working daily knowing the end goal. Opposite to this, when asked about coaching, we usually get enquired about how much time we need to complete an event in a few months. Many want to hit good numbers NOW but not many want to look beyond at what they could achieve in the mid/long term and commit to the potential performance. The Norwegians have shown how a long-term plan, with the believe, discipline and commitment can lead to amazing achievements. Not only this. They have also remembered us that the process is not something happening over-night but can take almost a lifetime.
Not everyone can win a gold medal. But everyone can have the mentality of a pro athlete regardless of level and age. That’s one of traits I look for my athletes, which brings me back to my personal experience.
When I first met Cormac Nisbet in 2018, he wanted to give a go to triathlon but soon after, he confessed his real dream of becoming a pro cyclist. He not only had a dream. He had the drive, the passion and the mentality to face many years of ongoing development, learning and experiences to be gained. Fast forward nearly 4 years and he has secured his first opportunity to race abroad in Spain next summer. To me he is a good example of what commitment and the believe in a long-term goal can take us to.
For the past 4 years he’s listened carefully at everything I have told him. He has committed to doing his training every single day to the best of his capacity and when he disagreed with something or didn’t understand it, he still got it done first and then questioned it. In the process, he has learned a lot about himself as a cyclist and about how to train smartly but he has inspired me to keep learning and improving as a professional coach too. Cormac is a great example of how anyone, with the right mindset, passion and drive can achieve great things. And as seen with the Norwegian team, not everything needs to happen right now or next month. Not even this year. Sometimes others won't see great results and will question it. Even ourselves may. But keeping an eye on the bigger scheme of things, we know that we pushing boundaries daily.
Cormac and his parents gifted me with their trust to build something from the spark we saw in 2018 and that trust and believe in the process is probably one of the main reasons why we can now celebrate (only a little bit before getting back to work) another steppingstone in his journey.
Commitment, discipline, and patience are three key aspects in the any journey to success in both, sport and life. The Norwegian team has led by example and despite it’s also true that it doesn’t guarantee everyone can get to the top. We can be certain that it will surely put us in the right path. We all are lucky to witness the next revolution in triathlon but as a coach, I am also very lucky to witness firsthand that not only Olympic gold medalists believing in the process, but also how a young man of only 16 years old commits to working on his dream with full support from his family, and allowing me to work by his side on a long term project.
Some of the results achieved this year:
- 2x National Champion (Closed Circuit and National Hill AG)
- 1st Colchester RND I Road Race
- 1st LVCC Sumer Series Road Race
- 1st Juvenile Catford Hill Climb (National Champ)
- 1st London West District 10 TT
- 2nd National GHS 10mile Youth TT Championship
- 2nd GC Deux Jours de Veo (B)
- 4th Junior TT Championships CTT
- 4th Junior National Closed Circuit TT
- Multiple Regional CX wins
Here is to the next stage in the journey for you Maccy and to keep working in the same way to ensure we get to summer 2022 more ready than ever.