JONATHAN WEEKS

Discover how 1-1 Njinga coaching helped Jonathan prepare for Ride London and conquer his ride across the Dolomites and Italian Alps.

ACHIEVEMENT HIGHLIGHTS

RIDE
LONDON

Completed the 100 miles in 5 hours and 56 minutes - A new PB.

DOLOMITES CHALLENGE

Rode across the Dolomites - 15,500m of climbing including Stelvio.

benchmark IMPROVEMENTS

Improved FTP score from 243w to 256w in the first 8 weeks of 1-1 training.

PERFORMANCE NUMBERS

Improved 12-minute climbing test by 15 watts (283 to 298w) in 8-weeks.

"I knew that I’d need to train seriously if I was going to complete the ride across the Dolomites and enjoy it. That’s where Njinga came in."

Before Njinga

I’ve cycled since I was a small boy. My dad was a keen club cyclist, and I inherited his love of cycling and of bicycles. I raced quite a bit in my late teens and twenties, but then an injury stopped me cycling for many years. When I did come back to cycling, I entered some sportives - including the Etape - and then completed the Tour de Force (every stage of the 2014 Tour de France route - each stage 7 days ahead of the real thing).

Unfortunately travel resulted in me putting my road cycling on hold again until early 2022. As a 60th birthday present to motivate me to get out on the road again, my wife gave me a trip to the Dolomites - 7 days of riding some of the toughest road climbs out there. I’d already ridden some of the famous climbs in the Alps and the Pyrenees and had always wanted to ride some of the iconic climbs featured in the Giro. It was an amazing present - but I knew that I’d need to train seriously if I was going to complete the ride and enjoy it. That’s where Njinga came in - well, eventually.


 How I found Njinga 

I knew I needed a coach or training programme of some sort. My first instinct was to get a coach. I’d worked with several coaches over the years and valued the feedback and the accountability that the relationships had provided. 

I got in touch with a coach, that had been mentioned by a number of riders, and featured in an article on coaching in one of the popular cycling magazines. I hit it off with the guy but after several weeks I was becoming frustrated by the lack of feedback, so I decided to end the arrangement. I then looked at an app - one that used artificial intelligence to update your training programme week by week based on the results from the previous week. It was interesting but I wanted human feedback - and I wanted to understand what each session was supposed to be targeting. 

I decided to look again for a human coach. I Googled some search terms and came across Njinga. The website looked good, and the reviews were excellent, so I got in touch and arranged an initial consultation with Togo.

After that initial consultation I was confident I’d found the right coach. 

I set up a personal 1:1 coaching programme and as part of that I got a bespoke training plan which included indoor and outdoor recommendations, weekly calls with Togo, I was able to complete “on-demand” Njinga training programmes and also got access to the Njinga Cycling Academy which has over 300 hours of on-demand content. 

Ride London Sportive

I’d entered the Ride London-Essex 100 mile sportive to help with my motivation. When I came to Togo I had only 6 weeks to prepare for the event. I’d been doing the occasional longish ride outside, but I needed a serious boost. I joined the Ride London training programme run by Njinga. The sessions were hard, but I enjoyed the competitive aspect that the on-demand platform (On the Njinga Cycling Academy) provided. Long story short I completed the event in a time of 5 hours and 56 minutes. That included a long wait of about 45 minutes due to an accident on course. 

Even with that delay my time was a personal best for me for a 100-mile sportive - 8 years after my last 100 mile sportive. 

Ride across the Dolomites

I continued riding Njinga on-demand programmes and having weekly coach calls with Togo. I also completed outdoor rides in accordance with recommendations from Togo. Then in September I jetted off to Venice to meet up with my fellow riders to take part in the ride across the Dolomites and Italian Alps - A trip that included 15,500 m of climbing across iconic climbs such as Monte Zoncolan, the Stelvio, Passo Giau, the Mortirolo, and the Gavia. I won’t pretend the ride was easy and that I flew up the climbs like Pantani reincarnated. It wasn’t and I didn’t. But I did complete the ride and loved it (so much so I’m thinking about repeating it next year). 

Without the help from Togo and Njinga I’m not confident I would have completed the ride - and I’m certain I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I did. 

So many positives

I have so many positive things to say about Togo and Njinga that I’m not sure where to start! Togo is terrific. He takes a genuine interest in his riders. He’s the first coach I can remember who looked at my Training Peaks data and given me feedback on it. In my experience (before Togo) coaches used Training Peaks only to upload your training sessions - not to look at the resulting data and provide feedback.

I suspect that like a lot of cyclists, I tend to jump on the latest technology that the pros are using. When heart rate monitors became a thing, I got one. And when power meters became more reasonably priced, I got one of those too. But I never did anything with the data - other than to see what my maximum heart rate or power was. Togo helped me to understand the importance of the data I was collecting from my rides and the need to analyse it and then respond appropriately at the next session. Now I’m getting value out of those toys!

Jonathan out on his bike.

Jonathan at the top of Passo Giau in the Dolomites.

Jonathan with Njinga Head Coach Togo.

Jonathan cycling in the Dolomites.

Jonathan cycling down to Brighton with the Njinga Collective.

I also love Togo’s holistic approach to cycling. It’s not just about riding the bike. It’s also about nutrition, recovery, pedal technique, breathing, core strength etc. I thought I knew a lot about cycling but I’ve learnt so much from Togo that helps me, not only with my cycling, but in my general day-to-day life too.

The whole Njinga set up and team is very professional. The resources available are incredible - I still struggle to understand how the team have put it all together.

What's Next

I’m taking a break from training now. But once I’ve decided on my big cycling event for 2023, I’ll be reaching out to Togo and Njinga to kick start my training.

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It's the best day I've ever spent on a bike so far. And I can't think of a better bunch of people to have shared it with.
WHERE IS KARMAN NOW?

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A NOTE FROM THE COACH

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– Togo Keynes, Head Performance Coach at Njinga Cycling Academy

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