Team Cycling Plus – meet the team coach, Ben Simmons

Setting the training schedules for the reader team

Team coach Ben Simmons

Team Cycling Plus will be updating you each week with the highs and lows of their training as part of the team. Time to meet their training coach Ben Simmons…


I would like to introduce myself: My name is Ben Simmons of Elite Wales ( and I am going to be coaching the all new Cycling Plus Team who will be riding their Wiggle ( sponsored Verenti bikes to success.

Hopefully you have all been reading this Cycling Plus magazine and have all kept up with this years team riders. Before meeting the team, they all filled out a rider profile and lifestyle audit so that I had a rough idea of their backgrounds and ambitious goals. I had the pleasure of meeting the team and staff for the first time last month when we all met up for a consultation and photo shoot. Unfortunately the team had not received their bikes by this time so first on the agenda was looking at their current bike positioning followed by a sports massage and consultation. It was great to meet the riders and chat about their goals and what they want from me to achieve their goals.

To start with I asked the team to continue with their regular training regime and record their data for a few weeks so I could analyse their current training. This data along with their lifestyle audit gave me a rough idea of how much time they had available for training without disrupting their working day or family commitments. After looking at this I was struggling to find time as these guys have professional careers with family commitments…believe me I was scratching my head to find some time slots for them to train.

I decided to prescribe 3 weeks worth of training in the first instance with 7.5 hours worth of training being the lowest and 10 hours being the highest. The training is set at a low intensity with a few sprints mixed in just so that I have some idea of how much endurance these riders have as well as how fast they recover. I will analyze their weekly training data to see if they manage to fit all the training in and also to see how they are recovering from the training. It is hard to prescribe training to riders who you don’t know so well and with most of them being new to structured training.

One thing I have asked the riders to do is a field based fitness test which they can easily repeat and record their time/distance. I have recommended either finding a climb that lasts between 5-10 minutes in duration or perhaps a 10 mile time trial course so that they can monitor their fitness based on these times. From these tests they can then determine their maximum heart rate (MHR) for their training levels prescribed in the training programs.

This will be their first week of following one of my programs so I will give the riders a ring to see how they are finding the training and if they are managing to fit it in to their busy schedules. Once I receive their data for this week then I can look to alter or continue with the prescribed training. So these next few weeks will be a bit of trial and error on my behalf and also structure to the riders’ week which they might not be used to.

I will be racing myself this weekend at the Wiggle Enduro 6 Mountain Bike event at Catton Park so if any of you guys are doing that then please come and say hello, I will be racing in Wiggle Kit and will more than likely be by the big Wiggle Tents!

Who are Team Cycling Plus?


Team Cycling Plus powered by Verenti are readers Andy Ward, Kay Bowen, Malcolm Ratcliffe and Sam Shaw. We’ll be following them in the magazine for the next few months as they train towards their personal cycling goals under the guidance of Team Wiggle’s Ben Simmons and we will be publishing their weekly trials and tribulations here too. For regular updates check our twitter page and the Team Cycling Plus facebook page