Posted by Editoress on 11/12/10
Members of the 2011 Cycling BC High Performance Downhill Mountain Bike Team experienced an all new understanding of the phrase "hell on wheels" when they took part in the first ever testing session for downhill at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence (PISE) in Victoria over November 6 and 7.
Wendy Pethick, the Lab Manager and Physiologist for Canadian Sport Pacific at this high level training facility, led the on-bike testing sessions. She was impressed with the attitude shown by the athletes. Although completely unfamiliar with this form of testing, they put in great efforts and were not afraid of pushing themselves. The athletes were led through a series of sprint (reading peak power output and their maintenance capacity at a high cadence) and MAP (Maximal Aerobic Power) testing. After establishing their baseline, they are able to compare their current status with averages for other Cycling BC athletes from different disciplines. At follow-up camps they will be able to register their improvement and mark areas into which they need to pay additional attention.
Following their testing, athletes were treated to hands on sessions with the certified instructors of the PISE teaching Strength and Conditioning, Flexibility and the extremely important steps of Regeneration and Recovery. For many DH riders the "we came, we rode, we crashed and/or we conquered, we went home" has been a way of life. For some riders new to this professional approach it is quite a leap to realize that their sport is, at a high performance level, a sport like any other. To achieve at national and international level, therefore, attention must be paid to warm up, cool down, and taking care of the body through good nutrition, conditioning and recovery.
"Some athletes were unabashedly nervous, some supremely confident, but all found it an eye-opening experience," said Chad Hendren, Head Coach for Cycling BC Downhill 2011. "I was very pleased with their efforts and the attention they gave the instructions and information they received. They really busted themselves to do well. I think there was only one athlete who had experienced this form of testing before when he was involved with the cross country team - all the others were complete novices and they did well, were totally open-minded and glad to learn."
Coaches Mark Bunyan and Dave Hord were both recovering from injury - Bunyan a fractured scapula and elbow in September and Hord from recent, extensive shoulder surgery. Despite this, they joined Chad in taking on some of the testing to 'put themselves in the team's pedals'. Said Bunyan: "I commend both Chad and Dave for stepping up and completing some challenges with the team - that's awesome. I confess, however, that I nearly died doing the MAP test and sprints!"
Bunyan, a personal trainer himself, was excited by the chance to observe the shopping and nutrition choices of the team while on a mass outing to the supermarket. This offered a teaching opportunity and a chance to cook together at the large house provided by Cycling BC. He added "I also enjoyed the support each athlete gave their fellow riders while doing their tests. There is a growing sense of maturity in the group and this is what we need - a tight bond as a team. I really believe they all felt more than special being at this facility and treated like an actual athlete! This was a huge boost for them all. I was proud to be part of this ground breaking camp for Cycling BC."
Comments from riders:
Miranda Miller - Elite - Age 20 - Squamish
"I am really excited to be a part of the Cycling B.C. Downhill Team for 2011 as I believe everyone, riders and coaches, are taking things more seriously than ever before. Being able to utilize the facilities of the Pacific Sport Training Centre in Victoria is just the beginning of stepping up our performance. Proper training attention, nutrition awareness, equipment and financial support combined with B.C.'s prime training grounds will produce the strongest team we've seen yet. I am personally doing everything in my power to become the strongest, physically and mentally, and most dominant female downhill rider/racer in the world. It will be a long process but I am confident with Cycling B.C's help and support as well as my own determination and sponsors that I will be successful. The weekend in Victoria will be the first of many training camps that I'm looking forward to. Thanks to Chad, Mark, Dave, Richard and Tamsin for making this weekend a success. And especially a big shout out to Wendy and Katherine for running the tests and putting up with being puked/spat upon."
Forrest Riesco - Junior - Age 17 - Gibsons
"I enjoyed being able to participate as part of the Cycling BC DH team at such a high level testing centre. The information I got from the tests will help me with my training and will push me to train harder this off season. I also learned some more information about strength training and recovery strategies. I will be applying the things that I learned over the weekend to my training and am looking forward to returning and improving on the tests soon."
Harrison Duxbury-Sleep - Junior - Age 16 - Gibsons
"I learned lots about dynamic warm ups, strength training, and recovery and a better understanding of how to get a better result for January's test. This camp was a bit of a wake up call to get it together. I can't wait to put what I have learned to practice."
Holly Feniak - U17 & Junior - Age 15 - Sechelt
"Victoria was the beginning of Team B.C.'s fitness being nothing less than extraordinary. Just wait until February, as we will prove to anyone that has ever said that downhill mountain biking isn't for the extremely physically fit, that they are very wrong...the TESTS don't lie!"
Max Horner - Junior - Age 17 - Whistler
"The camp was very helpful. It's so great that the Downhill Team has a facility like PISE at our disposal. The (super fantastic happy fun) tests will allow us athletes to see progress in our dry land throughout the season and pick out what needs to be improved, which is key to give us an upper hand on the competition."
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