February 18, 2014 – The 4th Annual OCA OHPSI February Excellence Camp is underway in Buellton, California, with some of Ontario’s top young athletes logging important endurance training rides in southern climes. Catch up on what the squad is up to in the Days 1-4 report below.
Day 1 and 2 Report
by Peter Disera
Setting: Buellton, California. The sun is out. Life is good. Cyclists flock like geese south to the warm weather. Smiles are a common sight on the roads.
On the 10th of February 2014 Team Ontario was sent on an epic ride. This ride would be a deal breaker for some, a record setter for others but a test of endurance and mental strain for all. The day was warm. Moderate mist was met in some of the rolling hills but no rain droplets were formed. The sun came out and the shorts were rolled up. The wind was howling – this posed as a source of pain to some.
The day was the day to climb Fig Mountain. We were briefed that it would be a 15km climb with some solid grade. We were to take our time and stay in our zones. The ride to the base was relatively uneventful and windy. Some solid head winds posed a challenge getting to the base. Gradually climbing we did not know where the climb would start. All of a sudden – boom – it was up; 15km of climbing to come.
I got in with a solid group of Adam Jamieson, Luke Vanlauwe and Conner Byway. We may or may not have pushed the pace, but this is completely irrelevant because by the second half of the climb we were looking for the top. After a long time (first real mountain climb in roughly a year) climbing hurts. Who knew 15km of climbing could take so long?
As Sean Kelly, who was in the support vehicle, came past us we asked eagerly how far the top was. “Just up ahead”, Sean piped. This was completely incorrect as we learned 30 minutes later.
Once reaching the top it was determined that this was in fact the biggest climb any of us had done to date. It had some good vertical too – just shy of 1000m. The plan was to hit the top and come back down to the last rider and climb in together. The coaches were dreaming…we were dead. It was almost impossible to eat on some sections of the climb so we demolished large quantities of food waiting for the riders to trickle in.
Skipping ahead a few hours: The Bonk! Well this part of the ride was exciting. After the descent of Fig we spent more then an hour in the wind. This popped everyone. A stop for lunch, more like dinner, in a local town and people were starting to look like themselves. Personally, I ate 5 sandwiches, 3 pancake size peanut butter cookies and a bar. Yea…we bonked; hard.
After making it back home, still well fueled from our stop, it was time to sleep. Going to bed sore but the mind ready for tomorrow.
Tomorrow came early for most of us. I was nice and tired, but still very much ready to ride. Today we were going to the coast. With a good breakfast into our bellies and speed bikes underneath us we were ready to roll.
A bumpy road made me numb in the opening kilometers but I did not care what so ever as the sun was shinning and today was to hit a high of 74F (22C) (and for the scientists 295K). The coast was beautiful – the wind to get to the coast was treacherous. After some beauty pictures were taken of some ocean views we headed for home. The wind now to our backs we rocked 45+km/h for 20+ minutes easily. It was smooth sailing on the way home.
There was a gym session after the ride for 2 hours. Top-secret gym strength stuff happened. The only information being released at this time is Team Ontario cyclists are going to be more explosive and stronger then anyone else in Canada this year.
Tuesday was rounded off in Cabin 1 with fajitas and rice pudding, all homemade and delicious of course. With a slight change to the schedule there will be a rest day on Wednesday. This means that Peter Disera is going to be hitting the hot tub, playing overly competitive table tennis, doing homework, cleaning bikes and most likely realistically sleeping all day.
Day 3 Report
by Marie-Pierre Nadon
Today the ride through the Southern California mountains was breathtaking, in good and not-so-good ways. The scenery was incredible, but the climbing…ugh. The climb was like a tease, you never knew when or where the climbs would finish. The roads were amazing and at the start of the mountain the grade was more than you could count with your hands, and the roads turned into dirt about half way up—what a real treat. Since I have a mountain bike background I felt very confident on the roads. Anyway, about 5km up the mountain and half an hour later, we began descending for about 700m with gnarly hairpin turns with death cookies (rocks) all over the road. The temperature was perfect, but as we got higher and higher up the mountain it started to get cool, although a lot of people were getting sunburns after taking off the arm warmers when the temperature rose. Getting to the top of the hard climb was amazing, you could just see for miles on end.
We were higher than the clouds and to finally see the van at the top was such a relief, after one and a half hours of climbing. The average gradient was 7.9 for 15km and now the fun part was about to happen, we got to rip the decent and it took us about 40 minutes to get down and I haven’t ever descended for that long and at the bottom my arms felt like noodles.
Day 4 Report
by Adam Jamieson
The three of us are sitting on a couch wondering who’s got enough energy left to write this. Thankfully Luke’s in journalism so he has more endurance when it comes to writing — Simon and I are just hanging on ! The second day has been a toughie.
We started off with an early morning 100-km ride through the hills that split in two at the halfway point.
It’s hard to believe that after coming from minus 30 Celsius in Ontario we still needed our arm warmers and vests, but we did. Simon was having an issue with a spoke popping out, and that is what we are going to blame for our 28-km/h average.
Okay, that’s lame.
But this random climb we rode up had a deadly drop-off and we just don’t yet have the skills to ride off the side of mountain!.
We turned onto Hwy. 101 and then went “HAM”, which stands for Hard After Mountains.
Sean Kelly — no, not that one — this one is the Ontario Cycling Coach, decided he was going to ease back into camp, “we are just going to go slower and steady.” And we did, at a mild 350 watts in the draft.
After some food, and a one hour break, we headed to the gym around 2. Coach Chris took us through core work that would be wicked good for cyclists. Simon and Jesse said their core work is really similar to what Chris was doing with us.
I found it okay, too, but you could tell others didn’t and for them tomorrow’s ride is going to be, how to say, even more interesting.