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- Rob Britton
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PacificSport NCC Training Camp Report

February 28, 2005

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Max Plaxton getting ready for the time trial

Following weather reports for a week of rain, the PacificSport National Cycling Centre Spring Training Camp provided over 20 athletes with an opportunity to measure their pre-race season fitness.In the sun!

Under the direction of Centre Interim Head Cycling Coach and Director, Houshang Amiri, Centre Gold, Silver and Bronze level cyclists participated in 5 days of training covering over 700 km in and around Victoria.

This is the third time this training season that the centre has run a training camp, allowing athletes to increase the volume of their training and work with a team, while measuring their improvements leading up to the racing season.

The first day of the camp looked bleak with cloudy skies looming over the cyclists as they re-fitted fenders in preparation for a wet ride. For the most part though, the rain held off and as the group worked their way up the Saanich Peninsula the morale of the group picked up. The first challenge of the ride was an individual time trial up Willis Point Road along-side Mount Work Regional Park, a steady climb lasting nearly 5 km and taking most athletes nearly 10 minutes to climb. This is a climb that the athletes are very familiar with as it is an effort included in most of the weekly training rides as a constant gauge of fitness and performance. Today's climb was highlighted by a centre "best performance" by Silver athlete, Roddi Lega who knocked nearly 30 seconds off the previous best time for this climb and 30 seconds off his own personal best for the same climb earlier in the season. All this just days before Lega competed at the first NORBA Mountain bike event in Texas.

After completing a loop up around Land's End and the Schwartz Bay Ferry Terminal, the cyclists completed a second individual time trial around the flat Sidney Time Trial Loop, a course of about 11 km. After over 100 km of riding, this is always a challenging effort and the strong winds presented to the athletes caused them to dig in and draw out their extra reserves!

The second day of the camp took cyclists up and over the Malahat, around Shawnigan lake and towards Mill Bay and Duncan. Beginning in Victoria, the group rode on to the Malahat pass, presenting over 12 kilometers of climbing, the athletes then continued on to ride an additional 100 + km before returning to Victoria by mid afternoon.

Wednesday morning brought brighter weather again, and the group headed out along the west shore through Sooke and towards Jordan River. To add some challenge to the already lengthy route, the group ventured along the hilly Otter Point Road loop taking the back roads to their final destination. While the highlight of this ride is usually the Surf-ball cookies at the Shakies Shack on the beach in Jordan River, they were fresh out and the athletes were forced to rely on Power Bar to make it back to the city!

On Thursday, the group headed back up the Saanich Peninsula for an easier spin before embarking on a challenging Team Time Trial around the Sidney Time Trial Route. Despite the volume the athletes had already accumulated, all of them looked strong, and performed well!

Finally, the group rose early on Friday morning, loaded their bikes into the trailer and headed up island for the final challenge. Just north of Nanaimo, they climbed back into the saddle and headed north along the Island Highway, through Courtney/Comox and to the base of Mount Washington. What followed was over an hour of climbing for most to the snowless ski resort. While the group spread out quickly, all of the athletes put in a strong effort. Brendan MacIntosh, (NCC Bronze athlete) pulled away early and made the climb look easy arriving at the top in less than an hour. Not far behind, Erinne Willock cruised with the boys, again, making the effort look like fun!

With race season beginning, or just around the corner for some athletes, we wish all the centre cyclists our best as they travel to competitions around the world.

"There seems to be no formula that determines a champion. Champions are born, and then made. This applies to all of us. We all need to work to be our best."
Connie Carpenter-Phinney.

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Rob Britton, Tyler Trace and Dave brooks getting ready to mountain bike during a 2008 winter training camp

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A wet bike ride during winter training camp