about

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about me

Cycling is a passion. My bike has travelled with me all over Europe, Asia, Australia, and the USA. I love cycling for many reasons, including the reward of going fast down a hill after working hard to get up it... 

I have competed in cycling, running and multisport races, including stage races, criteriums, team time trials, and triathlons. My palmares are average but my drive to train is immense. In summer 2016, I won the London Women's Racing League’s Most Improved Rider award.

Over the years, I have tried hard and learned a lot. I know what it's like to come first, last and everything in between. I have crashed and got back on my bike; I have overcome weaknesses and turned them into strengths, such as climbing. (I came 10th in the Urban Hill Climb in 2017.)

I have had my fair share of injury and bad training. I have learned a lot about recovery, injury, and how to adapt when things don't go to plan. 

 

From 2016-2020, I worked at UK Sport with some of the best people in Olympic and Paralympic sport. Before sport took over my life, I was a human rights lawyer.

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Deena is friendly and approachable. She creates a good atmosphere on the rides.

She is like a friend and coach.

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what's your favourite...

 

Pre-race tune?

Right here right now  

by Fat Boy Slim 

Criterium?

Crystal Palace Tuesday Nights

Fuel?

Bananas!

Destination?

The Dolomite Mountains 

perspectives beyond sport

My grandmother Amina Desai with Nelson Mandela in the early 2000s. They had a shared experience of being  political prisoners in Apartheid South Africa.

On a serious note...

  • During the 1960s and 1970s, my family suffered human rights abuses in Apartheid South Africa. My parents were arrested and convicted for dating across racial lines. My grandmother was  South Africa's longest serving Indian woman political prisoner. My mixed heritage and its impact on my sense of identity informs my understanding of inclusion and what it means to feel 'welcome'.

  • As a human rights lawyer, I worked with children in the criminal justice system, and the bereaved families of people whose loved ones had died in state care. Most clients came from positions of social and economic disadvantage and faced frequent discrimination. 

On a lighter note...

  • I have over a decade of experience in the events and hospitality industry. From serving coffee in California to shaking cocktails in Sydney, I know how to create a great customer experience and have fun in the process! Events and hospitality are two amazing industries when it comes to culture and teamwork - where else do you see people dancing and laughing while they're working?

 
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Deena's background working across a range of sports helps her to always see the bigger picture.

Iain

Great British Cycling Team

 

coaching philosophy

tl:dr

driven

&

committed

curious

&

questioning

art

&

science

holistic

empathetic

caring

& supportive

the long(er) read

I. 'the unified human'* 

  • Every human has a unique life story. 

  • Every human is the aggregate of their physiological, psychological, and genetic, environmental, and coincidental attributes and experiences. 

  • Females are not the same as males; adolescents are not the same as adults. 

  • The complexity of humans requires a holistic ('biopsychosocial') and systems approach.

  • The uniqueness of an athlete's story means that, often the athlete is best placed to have the answers to their own questions. The role of the coach is to strive to understand the athlete so they can help the athlete to better understand themselves.

II. an athlete-centred collaboration

  • The programme is built around the athlete, adapting to the athlete's needs. 

  • The athlete and coach work together to help the athlete progress - it is a collaboration.
  • Coaching is a relationship-based endeavour - trust and honesty are vital for success.

  • Through continued dialogue and open communication, the coach seeks to understand and build trust with the athlete.

  • The coach plays many roles, including guide, mirror, cheerleader, and questioner; but it is the athlete who is at the heart of the process, not the coach.

III. the imprecise science of performance: data gathering in context

  • Data gathering is invaluable for coaches who want to make evidence-based decisions.

  • Data are a tool for decision-making but not an end in itself. They assist and complement but cannot replace human qualitative feedback.

  • Data require context, interrogation, and rational interpretation.​  

  • It is better to be approximately right than precisely wrong.

  • There is no silver bullet for performance measurement in humans - look at the big picture.

IV. the continual, curious, non-linear quest for understanding

  • The human body, the conscious mind and social experience have been the subject of inquiry for philosophers, scientists and psychologists for millenia. Despite many advances in sports and human sciences, there is still a lot that we do not know or understand.

  • Like any good learner, a good coach....

    • understands the limits of their knowledge 

    • strives to find answers and make sense of what they do not understand

    • is open to new ideas which may disprove what they know

    • is curious about everything and asks questions that they do not have the answers to

*Lorimer Mosley, 2019