BREADY’S Marcus Christie flew to Colorado on Monday morning to begin preparing for his attempt to break Sir Bradley Wiggins’ hour record.
The 27-year-old was heading to the USA to team up with renowned cycling coach, Andy Sparks at his Performance United altitude training centre in Colorado Springs where, they would not only work on his fitness and stamina, but also seek sponsorship with businesses and individuals.
The Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games racer had hoped to release a brochure to sell sponsorship opportunities to interested parties prior to his departure, but computer issues meant that publication wasn’t completed until Friday.
However, while that was one headache, as was a broken wheel on his road bike, Christie was trying to keep everything in perspective and his excitement levels in check!
“We need to get sponsors on board, but progress has been made with regards the bike, but it’s too early to worry just yet because I have a few plans and if they don’t work out then we’ll formulate another one,” he said.
“I’ve had a lot of problems with my computer, so I only got the brochure out on Friday and I’ve had a few other issues, like the road bike I’m bringing out, the front wheel snapped – little things that are frying my head!
“This is normal when you’re trying to undertake something like this – they are just small wee niggles, but you have to try not to lose focus because it’s really nothing.
“But I’m definitely excited and a little apprehensive as well, which is normal enough when you decide to go up against Wiggins!”
Sir Bradley’ world hour record of 54.526km (33.88 miles) was set on June 7, 2015, and while he is under no illusions about how tough a task he has set himself, Christie believes he has given himself the best chance of success by appointing an ‘A-Team’ of coaches – Sparks and Heiko Salzwedel. Marcus and American coach Sparks – a two-time winner of the USA Cycling coach of the year award, who led his country’s track teams at the Beijing Olympics and guided the women’s pursuit squad to a silver medal at the 2016 Games in Rio – previously worked together in Switzerland, while Salzwedel masterminded Wiggins record attempt.
The German coach set up the Australian Institute of Sport’s road cycling and mountainbiking programme, has coached the cream of the crop there, his home country, Denmark, Russia and has had three spells as British Cycling’s performance manager.
Initially, Sparks will be Christie’s lead coach and although unsure of the exact nature of his training schedule, the Tyrone man knows it’s going to be tough.
“It’ll be heavy training to get the thing up and running on all fronts,” he said.
“Andy’s going to take the lead on the project, while collaborating with Heiko along the way. It won’t be a quick fix, but it will be about formulating a plan, following a structure, ticking boxes and eventually get ready.”