NJINGA

Michelle Sharland

Discover how a Njinga Remote Coaching plan helped Michelle smash her PB in the Cape Town Cycle Tour. Read Michelle's Story below...

 

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES WITH NJINGA

FTP score: 236 Watts - Joint highest female FTP score we have seen in the Njinga Lab

Power to Weight: 3.7 w/kg - Within the top 10 female power to weight scores seen in the Njinga Lab

Head HotChillee Ride Captain for the Cape Rouleur (four day stage race)

Finished the 109km race in 3 hours 7 minutes, smashing her old PB by 31 minutes with an average speed of 35kmph

Where my journey with Njinga began:

I met Togo on a HotChillee gravel ride and immediately knew I needed to speak to him some more. I love his passion and enthusiasm for riding and Njinga. It didn’t take me long to find out that Togo also loves seeing people achieve their goals.

 

 

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My goal preparing for The Cape Rouleur...Or so I thought:

I asked Togo to help me with my training through the winter in preparation for my upcoming event: The Cape Rouleur, where I would be riding a 4-day, multi-stage event as the Head Ride Captain. I felt I needed someone to structure my training as well as needing to be accountable. Most of my training was going to be alone, on my Wattbike at home. Dire!

After chatting to Togo, without hesitation, he said that I would be able to ride the Cape Rouleur tomorrow on my current fitness BUT that I needed a better goal and that I was to train to race the Cape Town Cycle Tour (30,000 participants). I ignorantly said ‘yes’. And so we started…

I achieved more than I thought possible:

I have no idea how but Togo knew exactly what type of training was going to work well for me. I am a power athlete (so I’ve discovered) and the harder he worked me, the more I loved it. The difference from other coaches I’ve had in the past, is that he intuitively knew the physiological changes I needed to make in order to get stronger. Some days were tough! Some days I smashed it! And some days I couldn’t train! Whatever the outcome, Togo was there supportive and encouraging whilst pushing me to achieve what he believed I could do. Togo always told me that it’s about ‘training smart’ and not once did I feel as if my training load was too much or that my training was totally taking over my busy family life.

 

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The HotChillee Cape Rouleur:

I rode the HotChillee Cape Rouleur well, keeping in mind what Togo had told me – not to push it, nutrition, recovery, hydration and most importantly…To stay out of the sun when off the bike (I didn’t need to come home with a tan apparently).

 

 

Race Day - The Cape Town Cycle Tour:

Race day – my nerves were shot!! Togo told me this was normal. My legs felt heavy, my stomach was churning…I was determined to achieve my goal of 3h15 over 109km which meant I needed an average speed of 33.4km/hr. Phew. No pressure! Huddled in my start pen with 150 other riders (racing snakes) I told myself that all I needed to do was to sit on wheels…The gun went off. My cold legs SCREAMED at me for the first 15km which felt all uphill. Oh help! How was I going to do a 3h15…

 

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I did it:

Luckily I know my body well enough to know that it takes about 50km to warm up properly. So I just dug deep and pedalled. Riding in a huge peloton of over 300 riders we maintained speeds of around 37-40km/hr. When I reached the climbs, for the first time in my life, I was over-taking fellow cyclists on the climbs. It felt comfortable, manageable and I was in great form. At the top of the last climb with 15km to go, I began to attack. Some came with me and we formed a group riding well together until the last km. I looked at my time, goodness, I was on track for a sub 3h10! I changed gears, went on my drops and pushed hard all the way to the end. I knew I could do this as I had done it in my training, many times over. 3h07! Fist pump, smile and it was all over. I had done it. I had done better than I had anticipated, riding an average speed of 35km/hr. Togo you ROCK!!

Later on, I discovered that I was 8th in my age group and also 31st female overall (out of 3,200 female participants). I wasn’t even targeting a place – just a time. I had smashed my PB by a huge 31 minutes!

START YOUR OWN JOURNEY

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Michelle's journey with Njinga has included:

  • Remote Coaching Plan
    • Rider Consultation
    • Benchmark Testing (pre & post)
    • Bespoke Training Plan
    • Weekly Remote Coach Call Catch Up and Session Feedback
    • Pedal Technique Assessment with coach feedback
    • Indoor Training session with live coach evaluation

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