Max Joly Smith (Rocky Mtn) on the attack at the Tour de Quebec ©2010 Robert Wilson

2010 Noteworthy Results
1st  Robert Brisson Series, June 17
1st  Robert Brisson Series,  July 8
2nd GP Pont Rouge
3rd Tour de la Gaspésie TT
3rd Provincial TTT
5th GP Brossard
7th Connecticut Stage Race, Stage 3 (14th Overall)
7th Quebec Provincial Championships, Criterium
8th Quebec Provincial Championships, Road Race
8th Quebec Provincial Championships, Time Trial
9th Stage 3, GP St-Raymond
10th GP Vaudreuil-Soulanges at St-Lazare
11th  National Championships, U23
15th GP de Charlevoix

In the News
Journal de Quebec: Tremplin Australien
Veloptium: Grand Prix Pont-Rouge 2010
Veloptium: Goodfellow largueses rivaux

2009 Noteworthy Results
3rd GP Vaudreuil-Soulanges at St-Lazare
4th Défi Devinci, Criterium; 6th overall, Omnium
9th GP Pont Rouge, Canada Games Selection TT

Date of Birth: April 22, 1988

Height: 1,83m/6’0    Weight: 73 kg/160 lbs

Type of Rider: Sprinter, Rouleur or “all-rounder”. Like many local sprinters, Max thrives on the shorter, steep climbs characteristic of many road races in Quebec.

Team: Rocky Mountain-CIBC Wood Gundy

Coach: Scott Toguri McFarlane

Number of Full Seasons Competing: 3

Favourite Race: Hmmm… That’s a hard question! Honestly, every race! But if I had to choose, the Ottawa GP would be up there; and Charlevoix. I like hard races.
Favourite Food: a big salad and grilled tuna, or a chicken sandwich on a baguette.
Would you have waited for Schlek? No, because he was attacking Alberto…It’s not like he crashed, or something like that.
Tell us something people may not know about you? I get really frustrated when things don’t go my way. I can take it, but hey, I’m being honest here!
If your old coach beats you in the legendary sprint to the 5-mile sign you will…? Haha, I would just say that I didn’t even try to sprint.

L-R: Martin Rooseboom (Independant); Martin Gilbert (SpiderTech); Max Joly Smith (Rocky Mtn); Czeslaw Lukaszewicz (VéloSelect); Everado Alejandro (VéloSelect) ©2010 Martin Brisson

Max Joly Smith makes me feel old. It’s not simply his sheer explosiveness on a bike. Max is explosive everywhere. Ask him how a race went, and he bursts into a 20-minute description of the event, and then adds an extra 5 minutes passionately describing his NEED to win and get stronger. Ask him to do plyometric exercises on stairs and he practically jumps over you to get started. Heck, he’s trying to grow some sort of goatee right now and it looks like the whiskers are just exploding straight out of his face! Energy, energy, energy, energy. By the time I’m finished coaching him through a series of intervals performed at 600 watts, I feel like an old talking tree in some crappy Disney animation. The main character, even the birds and animals have left. The wind has stopped blowing and my limbs sag.

Ok, ok... I slammed him into a hill to get this peak watts but still...He did it at the end of a brutal workout just for fun!

I’ve coached Max for 3 years now. When I met him he was battling to finish the Tuesday night crits in Lachine. This year he was sponsored and rode for Rocky Mountain. He rewarded that support by winning two races of the Robert Brisson series, grabbing 3 more podiums during weekend races, numerous top-10s, and providing leadouts for a teammate at the Lachine races.

What’s most impressive about Max, however, is his dedication and attention to details. Beneath all that erratic explosiveness is an athlete who trains with the kind of consistency and thoughtfulness required to succeed at a high level. Max rarely misses a workout, pays attention to nutrition and recovery, and repeatedly makes  suggestions regarding his training that I then incorporate into his program.

It may make Max sound younger than he is to say such things but as you move up to higher and higher levels in sports, the importance of maturity, consistency, passion and sport-specific smarts all become blatantly evident. Just think of the interviewing and profiling process that NHL prospects have to go through! Think of how many stories you’ve heard of amazing athletes who never reached their potential? It’s not all about suffering and power–it’s about the delivery systems that help you perform to the best of your ability.

Max came 3rd at the Tour de la Gaspésie TT, 18 sec behind the winner, David Boily (Spidertech). The position on his road bike was dialed in! ©2010 Robert Wilson

Any cycling coach who only talks about watts will be of limited value. Or worse, they’ll narrow your experience of the sport to a singular yardstick! Here’s a typical scenario that I’ve seen again and again: An athlete falls in love with cycling. They then hire a coach to help them take it to the next level. In a year or two they measure themselves almost entirely by their threshold watts, which improve at first but then often plateau for extended periods. Discouraged and sometimes bored, they move onto another sport having devalued all the experiences that got them into cycling in the first place. This is why I believe that channeled passion and breadth of experience are crucial to sustained improvement. Max wants more than a bundle of watts. He wants to be an amazing cyclist who gets-and gives-as much as he can in relation to the sport.

The uphill battle at Vaudreuil-Solanges in Hudson ©2010 Robert Wilson

Max’s hidden talent, therefore, is a maturity that provides the skeletal frame upon which his muscular explosiveness rests. That said, he must continue to improve at reading races and following race plans, which in turn will help him more precisely direct his training. These are the skills that will allow him to explore his abilities as a cyclist to their fullest extent. Max has the finishing speed to win races. The watts and explosiveness are there. It’s just a matter of putting them in the right place at the right time so he can compete effectively against racers with just as much raw talent. Easier said then done, but every year Max has improved… and he’s already started to win. This old man can live with that.

The first of two back-to-back victories at the Robert Brisson series. ©2010 Martin Brisson

About Scott Toguri McFarlane

Scott Toguri McFarlane is a former Elite racer, and the founder of Toguri Training Services. For more than a decade, his approach to training has helped aspiring professional racers, provincial team members, and recreational cyclists of all ages and ability achieve their goals, including gold medals at National and Provincial Championships.

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