A day in the life of Maddison Taylor – Giant Racing Team

23 May 2022

My alarm goes off at 4:15am. I am not a morning person by nature, so this is always a struggle. It takes me a good long while to drag myself out of bed this morning. Luckily, I always put my kit out for the entire week ahead on Sunday afternoon to make things easier for these early starts. I also try and make sure my bikes are sorted on the weekend too (oil the chain, pump tyres, replenish any spares etc.) because there is absolutely no way I’m remembering anything before I head out to train. Breakfast is simple, just a couple of pieces of toast with honey. I manage to sit around for a bit longer before I finally grab my bike and head out the door just after 5am.

It was forecast to rain this morning, so I’m relieved to be greeted by mostly dry roads. I have time trial intervals today and there was no way I was getting on the indoor trainer. I’ve got a real aversion to indoor training at the moment so have resigned myself to riding in all conditions. That said, any ride in the rain is unpleasant in my opinion. My main race target for January is the individual time trial at nationals so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on my TT bike of late, which is my idea of a good time. Apparently, I’m a sadist…

For the majority of my sessions, I use our local criterium track at Nundah. Riding around and around a flat track isn’t the most exciting thing to do each morning but at least I can be guaranteed to get my intervals done without interruption. Because I work full time and usually need to be at my desk before 8am I don’t have time to head out of the city to find quieter roads. Nundah is nice and convenient for me, living on the north side of Brisbane.

Nundah Criterium Track

During the summer months Nundah can be astoundingly busy in the mornings, but I’m ecstatic to find it mostly empty upon my arrival. The forecast seems to have prompted most people to sleep in. Admittedly, the sky looks pretty grey when I arrive, so they might have had the right idea. I stop before entering the track to quickly calibrate my power meter, put my music on and load the work out file onto my Wahoo. 

Even though I’ve ridden 20min or so to the track I still like to run through the warmup my coach programs into the session. Today it’s just a simple 5min progression effort, building up to the top end of threshold by the end. Then 5min recovery before getting into the main interval set. 

Today’s main session is 3 x 10min ‘punchy’ TT efforts. Each interval starts off with 2mins at VO2, before settling into 8min at threshold. Then there is a nice 10min recovery interval between each set. I’ve always liked time trialling but have historically struggled on courses with more varied terrain that required me to work above threshold. The aim of this session is to improve my ability to maintain threshold power after a hard effort, something my coach and I have been focussing on for the past 12 months. This is also important on a course like the nationals ITT around the FedUni campus at Mount Helen.

Punchy TT Intervals - 3 x 10min
Punchy TT Intervals – 3 x 10min

I’m a bit of a data nerd so I love how easy it is to analyse my efforts post training with Today’s Plan. When I first did this set back in January 2021, I was only just managing 300W for the 2min and then struggling to find 250W for the remaining 8min. However, this has improved in the ensuing months and today I was comfortably able to hold 310W for 2min and then 260-265W for 8min. My cadence was also considerably higher than it has been in the past, averaging 104RPM for first 2min and 99RPM for the remaining 8min for first two sets, before it dropped off a little on the last set – down to 103RPM and 96RPM. For me, a higher cadence suggests that I’m working more efficiently; it tends to drop off when I’m tired or having to fight to put the power out.

Interval 1 - 2min at 313W and 8min at 261W
Interval 1 – 2min at 313W and 8min at 261W

Somehow I managed to get through without a drop of rain, and the sun even started to peak through towards the end so I’m feeling pretty happy with myself as I wrap up the session. I’m working in the office today so instead of heading home I peel off the Kedron Brook bikeway to jump on the North Brisbane Bikeway and head into the city. My TT bike isn’t the ideal commuter but it’s too much of a hassle to go home and change bikes before heading to work. I’m pretty lucky that there’s such a high-quality bikeway most of the way into the city in any case, so it’s a fairly stress-free commute. I make it to my building by about 7:15am and quickly run through the shower. I work as a Policy Advisor for the state government and I’m very lucky that my building has excellent end of trip facilities available free of charge. I re-stock my locker with clothes on Monday so I don’t have to carry a backpack in everyday, something my back thanks me for when I ride the TT bike in. 

After grabbing a coffee from the coffee cart in front of my building, I’m up at my desk and logged on by 7:30am, ready for a busy day. By this time I’m thankful that I had the forethought to bring in pre-prepared breakfasts and lunches for the week yesterday, so I pop my sandwich in the sandwich press. Work is hectic this week as my team is trying to organise a large stakeholder engagement event in response to an emerging Ministerial priority. This is scheduled for tomorrow, so I spend most of the day bouncing between meetings and trying to pull together all of the material required for the event. I usually aim to finish work by 4pm, but by the time I look down at the clock it’s well after 5pm and I still have a few things to finish off. To make matters worse, it started raining heavily mid-afternoon and shows no sign of letting up. Just as I was thinking about how to get home without riding my TT bike in the torrential rain, my lovely sister/housemate sends the following text, ruling out ‘asking for a lift’ as an option. 

Text from my sister
Text from my sister

Once I wrap things up just after 6pm I trudge downstairs to get changed and face the deluge. Somehow, I think the rain gets heavier the minute I step outside. It’s pitch dark and absolutely pouring, which makes for a very interesting ride home – on one section of path I misjudge the size of the puddle and end up ploughing through flowing water that is up to my hubs. By the time I realise, it’s too late and I have to commit but luckily momentum carries me through; though for a moment I did think there was going to be a ‘splashdown’. I shortcut around the final bit of bike path near my house as it will almost certainly be underwater, and my poor TT bike has suffered enough. The brakes on it aren’t great at the best of times but in rain this heavy they were non-existent. Thankfully I make it home in one, very soggy, piece. After hanging up my bike and gear in the garage to drip dry, I’m very glad that my sister has cooked dinner for me (she’s alright sometimes). I run through the shower, inhale some food, and fall into bed by 8pm, ready to do it all again tomorrow!

Brisbane radar at 6:09pm on November 23 2021

Working full time in a demanding job and training to race at an elite level isn’t always glamorous (in fact it’s almost never glamorous) and can be tricky to manage but getting the balance right is incredibly rewarding. I’m always unbelievably busy but I enjoy my work and training to equal measure, so I don’t think I’d have things any other way.