NJINGA

Stewart Twidle

From a total novice to an experienced sportive rider and now with the help of a remote coaching plan is training for time trials. Read Stewart's Story below...

 

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES WITH NJINGA

20 Minute FTP Test: Improved score by 60w from January 2018 to June 2019 to set a new PB FTP Score of 301w

6 Second Peak Power: 1609 Watts. 12th highest male score seen in the Njinga Lab

Completed Njinga Challenge Ride No.3 to Girona including conquering Cat 1 Climb Rocacorba

17 watt improvement in 60 minute FTP score in 7 weeks after working with a Njinga coach

Before I got into Cycling:

Like most children, my bike used to represent my freedom. It was like an extra limb. We went everywhere together. I’d cycle for miles every day. Then I got my driver’s licence and that bike vanished into thin air, along with my love for cycling.

My business is in Hampton Wick and I’ve witnessed the rise of Sigma Sports and watched the hundreds of cyclists coming and going. I couldn’t quite figure out what all the fuss was about. I flirted with the idea of getting into cycling but it never really appealed to me. After all, I played football three times per week, I climbed at Whitespider a couple of times per week and I always had a handful of running events (usually half marathons) in the diary to train for. It was impossible to even contemplate a new hobby! Plus it’s been nearly 20 years since I’d ridden a bike!

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My Hobbies:

After graduating in 2003 I spent about 10 years fairly idle, whilst concentrating on my career (long working hours and another 7 years of exams!). The idle lifestyle meant I had put on about 5 stone and weighed in at 18 stone at my heaviest. I started running. Built up slowly until the point where I’d typically run 4 or 5 half marathons a year. I did the London Marathon twice too. I was a runner but a slow one (because of my weight) and I was growing very tired of just how boring running felt. The football and climbing were active hobbies but always felt like fun. It never actually felt like a “workout” in the traditional sense. If anything was going to make way for cycling, it would be the running which would fall victim.

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Then it happened....my first experiences of Njinga:

A lovely client of mine got a job working with the team at Njinga and she was raving about how awesome the whole experience is and that it was custom built for people like me. How could I refuse such a glowing review. I was expecting a high testosterone environment where it was win or die! It was nothing like I had imagined.

My first session in the Njinga lab was in February 2018 and it was love at first sight. The community of cyclists were all so friendly and supportive. There was a competitive basis to it but only for those that wanted it. Everyone is working so hard and trying to better themselves, it’s such a refreshing culture! The few that do compete side by side, do so in a way that encourages the best out of everyone. It’s a win win! We all ride in training zones so that even if your output levels are different, you are actually working at the same capacity as everyone. We all experience the same pain and the same glory! Within the first month, I did my first FTP test to find out what my training zones were and achieved an FTP score of 241! I was a happy man. 

 

 

 

I've become addicted:

I’ve now been in regular attendance at the lab for 2 years. I’d say on average I’ll get between 3 and 5 sessions in per week. Much to my surprise, I no longer climb…I’d rather cycle. I no longer play football…I’d rather cycle! I’m addicted to the numbers in a way that I can measure my own progress and development, which I’ve never been able to do in any other sport before.

My fitness is so much better now than it has ever been. I feel like that 18 year old who could just run all day. I’ve run 6 half marathons and 2 ultra marathons since that first day in the lab, and I’ve done no training runs. Zero! All my training has been on the bike.

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My Achievements:

In the lab, I have been collecting the winners jerseys for each of the grand tours…I now have all three sprinters jerseys, the yellow (tour) and red (Vuelta) distance jerseys and a climbing jersey. I recently added the Lab Championship jersey to the collection too! Just three more jerseys to complete the collection!

I’ve also been on the Wales training camp, the Njinga Challenge Series no.3 in Girona and the Tuscany social tour. I’ve completed a handful of sportives including Le Tour De Yorkshire, Tour of Cambridgeshire and the Prudential Ridelondon. 

In terms of benchmark testing, I have improved my 20 minute FTP score by 60 watts from 241 to 301 watts and my 60 minute FTP by 22 watts from 259 to 283 watts. The training works!

 

A hobby we can both enjoy:

Cycling has stolen the heart of more than one person in my household. Within weeks of riding with Njinga I got my wife hooked with the amazing support of the Njinga team and now my wife Catherine is as equally hooked as I am. We have been married for nearly 20 years now and we have never had an active hobby that we both loved. Cycling is it! We bought each other a road bike for our wedding anniversary and I’ve been upgrading the specs on a regular basis ever since! To have someone who completely understands when you come home from a lab session and talk about what you’ve just done and the numbers you pushed out. I don’t think it would be the same if we didn’t have this common love for it. The excitement of booking the next Njinga trip or the thrill of putting your name down for another sportive…It’s just so much fun!

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Remote Coaching

New goal with tailored training:

Several months ago I started to work with Head Coach Togo with the aim of focusing my training around a set goal and new cycling challenge.

Togo believed given my body's make up, personal strengths and limited time to train as I run my own business and we've got 3 young children, I would be well suited to time trialling and where I will be able to get the best success due to my limited time I am able to devote to training. With that in mind Togo is helping me to structure my training and currently we’re working on “building the engine” to prepare for future individual time trials. We have agreed that a 25 mile (40km) individual TT would be the best distance for me given the hours I can commit to training each week so we set an initial target time of sub 58 minutes. Post phase one of our periodised training block has got off to a flying start and I have already seen a 22 watt increase over 60 minutes in 8 weeks.

Togo has been great understanding my challenges to training and modifying the plan to keep me committed and focused. As he says, "Its all about quality over quantity training sessions!"

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A big thanks to Njinga:

I owe so much gratitude and thanks to all of the Njinga team and the incredible community. It’s humbling and motivating, it’s authentic and exciting! I am an Njinga advocate and would urge anyone with a cyclist hidden inside themselves, to join and give it a go!

START YOUR OWN JOURNEY

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Stewart's journey with Njinga has included:

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