February 23, 2009 (Palm Springs, CA) – Twenty-six athletes and two coaches made the most of the fair weather in the southern California desert during a week-long road training camp hosted by Cycling BC. The camp was aimed at junior and U23-aged men and women of all ages. The camp took place following the Valley of the Sun stage race in Phoenix, AZ, in which several campers also competed.
“It’s been awesome,” said coach Dan Proulx about the camp. “The young riders have learned so much and really benefitted from having strong women like Catharine Pendrel (Luna) on the rides.”
Many of the junior participants had never achieved such long rides (often 5+ hours and 130+km), let alone back-to-back long days. A group of junior/U23 men were bent on hitting the 200km mark during one ride. At 5.5 hours on the bike some women exclaimed that it was their longest training day yet.
“I was very impressed with the level of some of the riders in the camp,” said Pendrel, who enjoyed mixing it up with the young participants. “It was well organized, there was a great atmosphere, and an excellent opportunity to ride with some of the upcoming talent in B.C.,” she added.
The terrain in the Palm Springs area is ideal for logging miles, with a huge network of fast, flat roads and long, steady climbs. Highlights included the 6.5km Tram climb, which gained over 2,000 vertical feet to the base of a gondola, the Joshua Tree National Park ride, with its incredibly unique geography of cacti, distinct Joshua trees, and smooth, monolithic boulders, and the sandy Tower of Power climb, which coach Steve Lund “discovered.”
On the final day, riders headed into Box Canyon, a climb that took cyclists up through vineyards, lemon plantations and finally through the remote canyon bordered by steep sandy cliffs.
Most of the campers head home today, just in time for another rainy weather front, but they return with tans, lots of quality miles in their legs, and positive energy for the upcoming season.