With Sportive season in full
flow there’s no better time to introduce two individuals who have agreed to
sign up to my latest initiative.
A few month’s ago the organisers of the Etape Royale approached me and asked me if I would be some kind of ambassador and ride their event in September. I thought about it and then came up with a better idea; why don’t I train and coach two riders and the three of us ride this Sportive together and blog about our journey as we go through the summer? This way I can take a break and talk about someone else which is way more comfortable (but perhaps not for them, heh heh) and only interject with technical issues such as pacing etc.
So here we are. First blog post dedicated to Barbara and Darius. Perhaps a little background into these two wouldn’t go amiss?
Who is Barbara Murray?
Barbara first met at the end of a DTCC Evening League TT a couple of years ago. I vividly remember the day as so many bizarre events took place (which I’m happy to bore anyone over beer) and Barbara and I got chatting as we headed back to the race HQ in Drumoak on our bikes (I was on timing duty that evening). And I thought I could talk! Over time, we kept in contact and then boom, out of the blue last summer Barbara asked me if I wanted to coach a female specific group of riders. And the rest is history…
Even though Barbara managed over a thousand pregnant miles on her bike, motherhood eventually and naturally won over the bike, but undeterred Barbara is keener than ever. Back in January she managed 4.5 laps of the Strathpuffer 24 hour MTB endurance race riding two laps with my eldest daughter, but it’s my youngest daughter (who’s a wee bit lazy by default) who becomes hyper-charged when I tell her I’m leaving her with Barbara and they’re going mountain biking. Barbara is no stranger to long distance rides, as she’s completed Ride London, London to Paris, Cork to Derry and curiously Banchory to Shetland, but Etape Royale is a different fish and Barbara knows that the incessant gradients and high mileage on this cruel and gruelling route will push her to the edge of her limits, though it’s my remit to make this a cake ride for her. Well there’s only one way to find out!
Who is Darius Carr?
When I got a job in the real world back in 99, I joined IT company Logica (and spent the next 15 years cutting my teeth and suffering computers for a living), Darius was my staff manager. I didn’t really get to know him that well (I was never an easy person to manage), as within a couple of rollercoaster years I’d left to join the biggest database company in the world. Over the years our paths crossed now and then and we kept in vague contact.
Though a couple of years ago I’d been invited to a quiz night by Accord ESL (with whom I have many friends, connections, clients and acquaintances) and Darius asked me if I could give him a lift, so naturally I duly obliged. I’d always been aware of his enthusiasm for cycling (I had him down as a demon squash player), but I was unaware of his passion for cycling. So, of course since then we’ve kept in touch more often and now I have the privilege of coaching Darius and then when he told me he has a fear of the Lecht climb…
A wee lightbulb went off in my head.
And so here we are…but what next? Well as it happens, both Barbara and Darius have already been chatting are heading out this evening on a cycling date with hills I assume?
I guess I’ll find out tomorrow and start intervening. Or perhaps they won’t need me at all? That would be mission complete at the first opportunity! I await with bated breath...