“I soon realized that Houshang was just as much a life coach as a cycling coach.”
- Tyler Hansen
cycling, athlete, willock, amiri

Pre-Sea Otter Camp Report

April 11, 2005

Sea Otter Training Camp Report By Drew MacKenzie, Bronze level Mountain Biker at PacificSport National Cycling Centre

The PacificSport National Cycling Centre recently completed its 4th training camp of the 2005 season in Victoria B.C., coached and led by Houshang Amiri, Interim Head Coach and Director. Riders tuning up for April's Sea Otter Classic Mountain Bike Stage Race were in attendance for the 5 day camp. Starting Tuesday March 29th riders covered just under 550km by the end of Friday April 1st. Victoria's mild temperatures and a pleasantly surprising lack of precipitation made for ideal training and cycling interval training.

As per every camp, Day 1 included two gruelling individual time trials (TT) to gauge the athletes' current fitness levels. In the morning riders tackled the 5km Willis Point climb TT, which starts at the bottom of Willis Point and heads up into the forested hills surrounding Durrance Lake. This is a climb that the athletes are very familiar with as it is an integral part of their weekly training rides and is always a great indicator of fitness and performance. The riders then re-grouped to ride an easy 90 km around the peninsula to get to the location of the second TT of the day. The Sydney TT loop is infamous within the Victoria cycling scene with an annual Tuesday night series being run on the same flat 9 km loop for over a decade. This TT is another great measure of fitness and power output to gauge how the athletes' condition is progressing towards race form.


Day 2 of the camp had the group heading out to the surfing hot spot of Jordan River for some great training for cyclists over a beautiful 160km ride along the Southern coast of Vancouver Island. As many of the riders will attest, this ride is surprisingly tough. With no serious sustained climbs but a series of undulating small to medium sized climbs littered throughout, this route, which also comprises the 2005 BC Provincial Road Race Championships, takes a serious toll on the rider's legs.

Day 3 saw a bout of inclement weather on the Malahat highway forcing a change in ride plans. Instead of the planned 180km to Duncan and back, the group stuck to the lower elevations of Victoria and the peninsula. Once again the riders climbed with tired legs to the oh so familiar summit of Willis Point before descending down the backside through Gowlland Tod Provincial Park towards the turnaround point looking out over Brentwood Bay. To make up for the subsequent loss of big climbs due to the change in plans riders twice climbed and descended the steep backside of the Willis Point climb.

Day 4 of the camp saw the group hitting Mt Washington for what was for many the 4th time since January. For those not familiar with the island, Mt Washington is the 17km "hump" located just outside of the booming metropolis of Courtenay, BC. Many athletes came to Day 4 with a lot of fatigue from the previous three days of training. Intermittent rain and mist greeted riders on the final day of the camp. The moisture came with strong wind gusts on the route. Even with the weather and 550km+ in their legs, the athletes still had plenty of energy to form a paceline for much of the flat 100km of Island Highway riding leading up to the hour long ascent of Mt Washington.

The intended purpose of the camp was for the athletes to increase the volume of their training as a tune up for the upcoming MTB project to the Sea Otter Classic in California. With this goal in mind the camp focus switched over to mountain biking on Saturday with the riders doing a base endurance trail ride in preparation for the scheduled Island Cup MTB race in Port Alberni on Sunday. With such a large volume of riding leading up to the race many athletes were well tired and glad to have the race and camp over with Sunday night. With a week of rest and a round of MAP fitness testing to follow, many athletes were eager to reap the benefits of all their hard work and begin racing in California.


cycling, athlete, willock, amiri
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