By Joshua Levine
Joshua on the start line
Kyoto, Japan is surrounded on three sides by mountains and there are countless opportunities for getting outdoors including cycling, gravelling, trail running, road running, and swimming. My family and I have been living here for the past ten years and training is an integral part of my daily life.
At the end of 2018 my wife and I became empty nesters and it seemed a good time to take on a new challenge. A Swiss friend recommended this crazy event known as ‘Chasing Cancellara’ in Zurich, Zermatt which was billed as 290km with 7000m of climbing and a 15-hour time limit. The distance was believable but combined with the elevation and the time limit it seemed impossible. I signed up immediately as this was the perfect, crazy goal I’d been looking for. The plan was to start training about 8 months out and it was quickly evident that it was time to get a coach. I messaged around to all my cycling mates and my friend Alastair mentioned that he was following Lee Rodgers, aka CrankPunk, and highly recommended that I contact him. It was a great call.
I completed two training programs with CrankPunk Coaching Systems. The first was a 12-week Everesting program. Breaking down the numbers on the Chasing Cancellara event it was essentially an Everesting attempt and Lee had a standard program [pre-written] ready to go. At that point in time I was primarily trail running and my cycling was weak. The 12-week program whipped me into good cycling shape and prepared me for a whole lot of climbing. The second program was the 1-2-1 Elite Plan, a fully customised training plan that features weekly calls.
During the 1-2-1 Elite program Lee focused on building up my pace as well as tailoring the workouts to my abilities/weaknesses. For example, I HATE riding flats and Lee helped me build up my flat and long downhill pace. These ended up being critical skills for hitting the finish line ahead of my planned schedule in Zermatt.
In both programs the workouts were a combinations of high intensity training mixed in with longer endurance efforts. I was a bit wary at first as the workouts seemed to be too short and too efficient in comparison to my standard training schedule. I was wrong. At the end of working six months with Lee every aspect of my cycling had improved.
Climbing was faster. Endurance was endless. Flats were fast. Recovery was instantaneous.
At the age of 55 my motor is more diesel than two-stroke. Long, hard, all day rides are fine, but, please, don’t make me go too hard. Lee helped me push through these self-imposed limitations with two great pieces of cycling wisdom:
‘Go until you blow up. And, then, keep going’.
‘Don’t look at the numbers all day. They are holding you back’. Repeat ad infinitum.
It was a true please to work with Lee. In addition to the well thought out and tailor-made training program, our weekly chats were informative, motivating, and funny. One more big shout out to CrankPunk.