In the last two years, I’ve learnt three things; never judge a book by its title, coffee tastes better when it is shouted by a mate at a Melbourne café, and it takes three to really tango! And really, these little life gems are there for taking by anyone….it’s just a tempo ride away…..

It was definitely with trepidation that I went on my first ‘The Hurt Box’ (THB) tempo ride with Harry Hanley, aka ‘The Doc’, and mastermind behind the THB numbers. Wait! Who would be crazy enough to join a group called ‘The Hurt Box’????….. As soon as I discovered that coffee was a mandatory part of the ride and knew I had joined the right group; never judge a book by its title! Since this time I have had the privilege of being coached by a trio with interesting names: Harry aka The Doc, David Sturt, aka ‘Steggles’, and now Michael Gallagher, aka ‘Micky G’. With over 60 years of racing experience between them, they have helped me to grow not only as a cyclist but also as an individual proving it takes three to really tango!

The Hurt Box is more than just a group of people to ride with and coaches to receive a training program from. Rather, it is a community of like-minded individuals who are willing to apply a little dedication, challenge themselves a little each day knowing there are always teammates who have your back and sometimes buy you a coffee. The tradition of shouting everyone coffee after a race win also goes down well. The benefits just get better and each rider achieves their goals – from gran fondo’s through to track.

Steggles on far left in THB kit, and the Doc in THB kit in middle.

Steggles on far left in THB kit, and the Doc in THB kit in middle.

Since changing my focus to incorporate track cycling as well as road cycling, I have been under the guidance of the reigning World Pursuit champion, Paralympic Pursuit Champion, and World Record Holder, Micky G. And that is just a small section of his resume…. Definitely an underachiever. However, I figured I was in good hands. The past seven months have included some rewarding improvements on the bike. More importantly, though working with Micky G I have been able to learn how to critically reflect on my training and racing, and that I still have a lot of strengths and opportunities that I can work on. I have also really appreciated the support from Annina Gallagher, another amazing Para cyclist, who has encouraged me, pushed me, and helped me with all things number related; completely brilliant for someone who can waffle for eons but struggles to add and subtract…

Micky G, Annina, Niki, myself, Jus and Meredith at Tour of Bright = Women's C Grade Domination

Micky G, Annina, Niki, myself, Jus and Meredith at Tour of Bright = Women’s C Grade Domination

There a few things that I particularly love about THB –

Support & The People. Life is too short to surround yourself by people who are going to bring you down. My THB teamies are part of the reason I ride.

Flexibility & The Ability to Train Individually and With a Group. We all have different schedules and crazy busy lives. Through training with THB, you receive a program that is individualized to your diary.

Feedback – The Individualised Communication. Without feedback, we cannot learn. Steggles, Harry, and Micky G all have different communications styles and strengths – one for everyone! This means you get a quadruple whammy when you add in the feedback you give yourself too.

Challenges and Encouragement – Being able to Improve as an Athlete and a Person. THB is not only about performance, it is a culture that encourages individual growth on and off the bike.

RiderMetrics – A Software Training System Developed for Coaches Collaborating with their Athletes. RiderMetrics allows you to track your rides and provides a whole heap of easy-to-understand visual graphs that help you monitor your training.

Until next time,

Ride with a smile, ride with a purpose, ride in the moment,