Testimonial | Client Cristy

I have always fancied myself as a mountain biker and a bit of an adventurer. I have big dreams and love a challenge.  

When my friend coerced me into signing up for the Joberg2C, a 9 day 900km mountain bike race across South Africa, I had little hesitation in signing up. It was absolutely aligned with my dreams.

Fast forward a few months to September 2018. I had an impending sense of dread: “what I was thinking?”. I had been trying to follow an extremely complicated online training plan, with little improvement. My approach (just ride & ride) was not working, and… winter was coming! I was frustrated, unfit, overweight and totally overwhelmed. Self-doubt becomes a slippery-slope!

I had just started thinking that a cycling coach / trainer of sorts may be what I needed when I met Dom in her Cyclone class one Friday afternoon. I consider it a moment of divine intervention that our paths crossed and that I asked her if she knew of anyone who could help me to prepare for the event. That is how I ended up at Macclesfield Performance. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this was a turning point not only for my training, but emotionally and physically too.

It was very overwhelming for me (a “recreational cyclist”) to start a new training program with a completely different approach to anything that I had done before. I was strength training 2-3 times a week and following a bespoke cycling program that Natalie put together for me. The stress and chronic sense of failure I had endured while trying to follow the unmanageable online program disappeared as I started with their joined-up approach. They did the thinking and the planning, all I had to do was put in the time!

I was always dismissive about my status as a “Recreational Cyclist”, Dom and Nat made me feel like an “Elite” and were so committed to helping me smash my goals! Having this level of interest, care, support and, of course, challenge was something that I had not experienced before.

Encouragement for getting a squat right, or having a good Wattbike session, or improving on a Strava segment meant so much to me, at a time when I had been feeling so lost and low. Bit by bit, session by session, my strength, endurance and confidence grew. My countdown app to the event started to excite and no longer scare me.

In April I set off to South Africa to participate in the event. I was excited for it. I took a lot of confidence in the fact that my coaches were confident in me smashing it! Also, I had seen so much progress in my strength and endurance while on the program. Having cycled in snow, rain and mud (mostly on my own) I had built a good amount of mental resilience too. Somewhere along the way I started to believe in myself again.

The Joberg2C experience was incredible, and incredibly tough. Cyclists bikes and bodies take a massive hammering on the trails, some of which are very technical. 9 days and 65 odd hours in the saddle is significant, with little opportunity to recover in between. I was ready though. I can honestly say that I had been perfectly prepared for this kind of event!

Because of the strength training, I could keep form over hours on long smashing descents. Because of the bike sessions to specifically build endurance, I could get to the top of long climbs without my heart rate going out of control. Oh, there were plenty of them (a few days were in an area called “the valley of a 1000 hills”)!

I am deeply grateful to Dom and Nat for their help and thoughtful programming. I would never have managed this ambitious goal without them. As much as I loved the ride itself, it was the journey getting there that made it the so satisfying.

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