27th June 2018
Because ‘Every Freaking Inch’ is One Day at a Time – Guest Blog by Julie McKenzie (aka Coach)
My first contact with Chris was via a message to my Facebook Coaching Page on November 17, 2018 – ‘Hi, I was looking to find a cycling coach. I am cycling from LA to Boston in May/June 2018, and I was looking for a couple of days coaching and guidance as I’m pretty new to cycling and I have a cancer/lymphoma which is controlled but obviously must be taken into account.’
(Hmm, I thought, is this a scam?)
I responded asking him to tell me more about the event and specifically what he was looking for from a coaching perspective? Back he came with a reply – ‘Well l am not exactly sure but I decided to do a bucket list item when I was diagnosed with Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia in July. WM is a slow-moving lymphoma so I thought cycling will help my fitness for the future. I have gone from my first 6 mile ride a few months ago to rides over 60 miles now. However, I can improve almost everything before my ride in May. I have some plans from the internet and books etc but I wondered if coaches actually do assessments or rides techniques etc. so I am just interested if there is anything you offer that might or could help. I don’t think there isn’t an area more important than others e.g. if I get faster I will have shorter days, if I improve climbing I will have shorter and a few easier days – same with descending, nutrition etc etc – sorry not to be more specific but decided this would be a good challenge so am sort of creating a plan as I go.’
As I begin to consider how impossible this will be, I responded – ‘As for services I offer, I do private lessons, pacing the hills, descending safely, shifting properly, and other fun stuff. These sessions are typically 2 hours long.’
(Uh boy do I even mention this? No way I can get him there in time!)
‘I also write training plans and meet with my athletes regularly via FaceTime or Skype if possible.’
Chris didn’t waste any time and came back – ‘We can start with that.’ And so we were off!
I first met Chris face to face on November 26th, 2017 for a two-hour skills/assessment session. I’m not sure who talked more, Chris or me. He brimming with positive motivation, me interrupting with shift, pedal faster, lean, lift your knee up, relax your shoulders, settle down, let’s pace this one. 🙂 It was then that I knew if anyone was going to beat the odds of not having the endurance background, and on paper enough time to prepare, coupled with January going to be a wash with 4 (weekly) treatments at Mayo Clinic (Roundup Weed Killer, we called it), I knew that I wanted to help!
I began writing his weekly training plan and insisted we Skype 1x/week so I could see his face. I’m sure at times he thought what a waste of time, but we always managed to leave the call with a better understanding of things, where we could fit in other activities such as golf, how sometimes throwing away a workout was the smarter option, and based on his daily ride blogs I think those sneaky nutrition and hydration hints got through.
Speaking of his blogs, everything you read tells you exactly why he has gotten this far and is almost to Boston. I am the blessed one to have been offered a part in this journey. Because EFI (Every Freaking Inch!) is one day at a time, I won’t say much about the last few days of pedalling other than I wish I could have surprised Chris along the road somewhere and taken a pull or two. He’ll just have to come to Clermont for Horrible Hundred in November!
Love you Man!