I’ve coached Hélène Gagnon for a couple of years now. Last year she had THE fastest learning curve I’ve ever seen for someone just getting into cycling. This year she is steadily getting not only stronger, but also more saavy on a bike. By “saavy” I mean she is more experienced and knows how to handle a greater variety of cycling situations within her comfort zone. She knows when to push, and when to back off.

Hélène smiling and suffering while climbing Mt Tam during Toguri Training's San Francisco trip this spring.

Today, Hélène achieved her target time for a 15km TT… reaching her goal 1 month ahead of schedule!! I wasn’t surprised based on her times during training. In fact I was really impressed last week when she periodically yelled out “fraises” while doing anaerobic efforts during a workout. I couldn’t figure out what was going on because I thought I was mis-hearing her… until I started smelling the wafts of wild strawberry patches that weave their way through the grasses and shrub-like units lining the seaway! That’s what training with Helene is like: I’m always trying to keep up with her subtle, short-sentenced humour, often expressed in 3 languages. I aim for 60% comprehension of what’s going on. Keeping up during training sessions can happen on so many levels. In the meantime, who says you have to stop to smell the…

"Hey coach!" said Hélène, "I listen to you; you shd listen to me!! I'm doing a PB while smelling strawberries!" "Uh... did you say something about PB and Jam?"

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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