Behind the scenes at Pillar is a passionate team of world-class coaches, nutritionists and athletes working together to build an AI training companion: to change the training landscape for all kinds of athletes.
One member of that team is Jamie Caldwell.
Jamie is not only an elite cyclist, but an engineer and computer scientist. He works within the team at Pillar developing the algorithm that organises and adapts the athlete's training plan. Jamie, alongside a team of cyclists and coaches, are shaping the core principles behind Pillar.
Jamie's start in sports
Jamie started cycling when he was fourteen, becoming interested in how he could push his body to new limits. His keen interest soon took him to pick up racing; To push himself whilst also playing a tactical game of chess (on wheels).
He trained competitively all the way through university, which eventually earned him the opportunity to race for a British Elite team. It was at this point that the possibility of 'making it' became more tangible.
I have always loved sports. It combines so many aspects of what we as humans can achieve. Not only does it push the body in the physiological sense, but it pushes our mind, our discipline and strategy.
During the next four years, Jamie trained hard and chased the dream. He also developed an interest in other aspects of performance; not just physical, but the nutritional and mental side, too.
After this time, he was ready to throttle-down and take a more relaxed approach to cycling.
I'm happy to say I gave it a go, pursuing the dream of becoming a professional athlete. But I came to realise I simply wasn’t prepared to make those sacrifices that I would have to make in order to move up the ranks. Now I just enjoy cycling, whether that’s turning up to the local club run or dipping my toe back into some racing. It is only ever for fun. In fact, I get greater fulfilment out of helping other cyclists improve and ultimately enjoy their cycling more than seeing myself improve.
Jamie at Pillar
Jamie has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, and is about to complete his PhD in computer science from the University of Southampton.
He uses the knowledge gained from his doctorate to help inform the algorithms being built at Pillar.
During my PhD, I spent most of my time developing algorithms to perform adaptation by learning from previous experience using deep learning methods. At Pillar, this connects with using machine learning to capture information about an athletes progress and then using this information to adapt the training plan accordingly.
As a group of sports addicts, the team at Pillar is out to solve the training woes we see time and time again - in ourselves and in our teammates.
Jamie is no exception; he identifies strongly with the mission of helping athletes to train smarter.
Pillar is addressing the problem that I see so many athletes having and something that I struggled with as well. That is - "I have the kit to train, but I don’t know what to do with it or how to use it properly."
Coaching is a huge investment for an already costly sport. One-size-fits-all static training plans will take you part of the way there, but will by no means help you to achieve your best.
Pillar is taking this training expertise and applying it in the best possible way to each athlete and their situation. The mission is to eliminate wasted training and recovery from incorrect timing.
Our long-term goal is to create an all-round holistic digital coach, which takes into account not just your physical condition, but all other factors including your nutrition, your mental state, the kit you have available, cross-training, and even the weather.
Even though I have been coached many times, there wasn’t enough help daily with the seemingly minor things, yet these were important to me. If Pillar had been around to adapt my training plan to suit changes that occurred daily, weekly and monthly, I feel I would have been much more relaxed about how to get the best out of myself.
We welcome Jamie to the team and look forward to the road ahead - making training better together!
We're a small UK-based team (full of real athletes) who are developing an app dedicated to all areas of cycling training. Whatever pains you can think of related to your training, we want to solve them; think nutrition, recovery, motivation, and much, much more.