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In April 2013 I coached Andy Cummings across the channel and was able to help him achieve the title of Molokai Solo Master World Champion status!
Aside from being extremely proud of his achievement, I am also thrilled with my experience as his coach. This is the 3rd person I have coached across the channel and I love it nearly as much as racing myself. That’s a lot of love!
I get a huge amount of energy from pulling ‘best performance capable of’ out of a paddler. This starts with mindset leading up to the race. Strategizing and reviewing each detail – the food that will be eaten race morning, trips to the bathroom, loading of the escort boat, warm up protocol, start piece strategy, breaking down the race into mentally manageable chunks, and planning what to eat, how and when to eat it.
Andy had one main request, that I never use the motivational calls of ‘Good Job’ or ‘Awesome’. This was the best feedback a coach can ever have. I needed to know what would motivate him and keep his mentality sharp so he could perform.
For Andy’s race, knowing where his competition was and judging accurately the pace that he was pulling away, as well as when he would catch and pass someone was a tactical necessity for his success.
Andy set very specific and measurable parameters for this race:
Start piece heart rate of maximum165
Average heart rate through the race of 140
Speed above 6 mph average (in flat/headwind conditions)
Andy’s also used my ‘eat real food’ strategy adapted from Sean Croxtons JERF philosophy, and reserved sugars and gels for the very end of the race. Andy’s perceived energy levels were the most stable out of any racing he has done, especially compared with his previous channel crossings.