Name: Monica Eden
Since first riding competitively at the age of 15, I have been part of British Cycling's Talent Team and gained numerous top 10 places nationally in a range of events including a bronze at the National Junior Women's Road Race.
Currently I help out with coaching with Eastland's Velo Cycling Club and I am hoping the scholarship programme will provide me with the skills to reach my potential as a coach in order to help more people enjoy the benefits of cycle sport.
Monica Eden is one of two recruits on to British Cycling's annual Coach Scholarship programme, which provides a wide variety of coach development opportunities across all of cycling's key disciplines.
Here, the former Talent Team track rider describes her activities in the early days of the scholarship, which have seen her diversify into Mountan Biking and Road and Time Trial with Level 2 Coaching courses, as well as organise her first ever race!
It's been a busy couple of months since starting the British Cycling coaching scholarship. Within a couple of weeks we were whisked on to a level 2 Road and Time trial course. For me this was comfortable ground as I feel pretty at home on the road but the process still taught me some valuable lessons.
The course was great in terms of giving us coaching points and exercises but weirdly one of the best things about it was learning how to actually hold a rider up properly!
It's only a small thing but on road and track it needs to be done and I must admit I've shied away from it. This was probably because as a rider I've always been a holder's worst nightmare, leaning and wiggling until eventually fumbling away from the start!
So with my new skills I have been a holder at every opportunity when the club I coach with, Eastland's Velo have been carrying out their track national's preparation and I now feel really confident with it.
This month I also attended a level 2 MTB course thanks to the scholarship. This is an area I am a little less familiar with. I've ridden some national series and a couple of national XC championships but I've got a bit rusty! For anyone wondering whether to do this course I'd say go for it! It was the most informative and enjoyable course I've been on so far.
The approach to the MTB course is a bit different and there is more emphasis on picking out ways a rider can improve that skill. This sounds simple but when it is something as subtle as where they are looking or the position of their hands on the bars it can be difficult to spot. This was made even harder when carrying out on-bike observation, mainly as I ended up paired with our tutor who was distinctly more technically advanced than me. After careering through the woods risking life and limb trying to observe his technique I can vouch that it's much easier when you're stood on the ground!
Observation was massively important and those skills definitely improved over the weekend. Learning each skill properly with flat pedals was fun after riding in spd's for far too long. Carrying out static demonstrations was also a bit tricky to start with but I have since got to grips with them and used them at our club's summer holiday MTB sessions.
Alongside all of this learning I organised my first ever race, and in keeping with this month's course it was a MTB race. I never realised how tough the job of an organiser is (this dawned on me at 6.30am whilst setting the course!) and I now fully appreciate the effort people put into all those races on the calendar.
After months of build up the day seems to rush by in a bit of a blur, but it was a really good day and a big thanks to the riders who turned out.
Last week many of the riders I coach with Eastland's Velo were competing at the Track Nationals so I was also down their helping them all out with their preparation and trying to keep them calm. They all rode really well so well done guys!
Hopefully in the coming months I will be able to get some more hands on experience with British Cycling and put the skills I have learnt over the last couple of months into more practice, I'm really looking forward to seeing what gets thrown at us! Watch this space.
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