Posted by Editoress on 01/28/04
PacificSport National Cycling Centre - Road Training Camp #1
By Dan Proulx
The PacificSport National Cycling Centre recently completed the first road training camp of the 2004 season in Victoria B.C. Representatives from almost every province and the national team were in attendance at the 5 day camp. Riders covered more than 650km in just 5 days. Victoria's mild temperatures and a surprising lack of precipitation made for an ideal training experience.
Day 1 included a grueling 4.5km Individual time trial near the beginning of a six hour training day. For many athletes, this was the first chance to see if their fitness was still intact after the Christmas break. The time trial went from the bottom of Willis Point and up into the forested hills surrounding Durrance Lake. Competition was fierce as riders tried to catch each other.
The aggressive ride in the morning was balanced by some "soothing power yoga" in the afternoon. Many of the athletes at the Centre have been doing these sessions for several months and are seeing improvements in core strength, stability, balance and flexibility. These sessions help the athletes to work out the fatigue of the day's training and to refocus their minds for the miles ahead.
The second day of training was unique because it was the first time the camp was separated into distinct training groups. This allowed riders to choose their intensity level and modify the duration of the workout. Athletes could select a group that was appropriate to their training needs. This increased individual specificity, coach-athlete interaction, and leadership opportunities for all riders. Each of the training groups at the camp had their own chase vehicle and mechanical support from PacificSport coaches Houshang Amiri and Dan Proulx.
The Malahat (a local climb of nearly 12km at 6-8%) was the feature event of the 2nd day. Athletes were asked to climb in their big chainring at 90-100% effort. The result was an amazing display of fitness and mental toughness. Riders pushed themselves to the limit while chasing their training partners through the thick fog that blanketed the middle part of the climb.
Day 3 saw a repeat of the Malahat climb. Luckily the fog that had made visibility almost zero the previous day, was gone. Riders climbed with tired legs back to the summit before descending to Shawnigan Lake. Riders completed some intervals in small groups before riding into Mill Bay. The return route climbed back to the top of the Malahat, where traces of snow still lingered on the side of the road from the storms of early January.
Athletes came to Day 4 with a lot of fatigue from the previous three days of training. Carter Hovey said "my legs haven't been this sore for more than a year". Despite the tiredness, 26 athletes participated in the second and final time trial of the week- using the same course as Day 1. Surprisingly, most riders went 15-30 seconds faster than they did on Monday. This improvement can be attributed to athletes finding their form and gaining confidence on the varied terrain of the course. Coach Houshang Amiri said, "the time trial is where the athletes really learn about themselves. If they can handle this pressure, they will know how to respond in tough races like Redlands."
Victoria's classic rain and mist greeted riders on the final day of the camp. The moisture came with strong wind gusts. Even with the inclement weather and 550km+ in their legs, the athletes still had plenty of energy. The ride circled the peninsula with the 2 groups keeping a solid pace of 31-35km/hr. It may not seem that fast, but at the end of this camp, it was certainly a challenge to get through the ride.
The final day of the camp also saw some great team work from riders like Ryan McNamara, Chris Reid, Derek McMaster, and Phil Edamura. They sacrificed a cozy position in the draft of Group 2 to help Group 1 keep up the tempo. This type of commitment and teamwork will help all of the riders at the Centre to increase camaraderie and the success of each training session.
At the end of the camp, the only true casualties were the dozens of inner tubes and broken spokes sitting in the back of the Saunders Subaru chase vehicle. We had nearly 20 flats during this camp. The winner of the prize for "Most Bicycle Destruction" went to Yoshito Tsuji. Yoshito managed to rack up over 6 flat tires and wrecked two perfectly round wheels.
Max Plaxton summed up the camp by saying it was "one of the best ever". From the coaches' perspective, we were certainly impressed with the dedication and work ethic demonstrated by all of the athletes.
Cycling is a very tough sport and you have to have courage and tenacity just to complete the training required at the top level. Camps like these certainly show that Canada has a lot of great athletes striving to reach the top.
Future Track and Road Camps:
The PacificSport National Cycling Centre will host 2 camps in February. The first one will be a track camp at the Burnaby Velodrome (Feb 10-12). The second will be a road camp in Victoria (Feb 23-27). For more information about the Centre or it's programs, please go to www.pacificsport.com.
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