"I put 100% of my faith in Houshang’s training programs and feel extremely lucky to be able to work alongside such a devoted coach. "- Max Plaxton
March 05, 2010
The Pacific Cycling Centre in Victoria, BC continued its trend of successful winter training camps last weekend with an end of February camp for Centre cyclists and several local athletes. The four-day camp — which ran from February 25th through March 1st — was offered free for any Canadian cyclists looking to be part of a world-class training program.
The camp was designed by Head Coach Houshang Amiri. PCC coach Trevor Connor, who has been living and working in Colorado, came up to help with the camp and see how the athletes were doing. “It was great to be riding again with a group of cyclists who are that talented and committed. I thought I was fit, but man, they taught me a lesson on those first day TTs” said Connor, “I came up mostly to see how some of our new development athletes were performing. I was really blown away by how smooth and strong they looked. I know some Pros down in Colorado who could learn to ride that well in a group.”
Prologue - On the day before the camp, several riders opted to for a staged ergometer and lactate test. Scientific training is an important component of the coaching at PCC. The winter training camps provide a great opportunity to benchmark the athletes and see how they are progressing.
Day 1 — now a tradition with Victoria cycling camps, the first day consisted of two ITT’s (a technical uphill climb and an 11 km flat course.) On the climb, Marcel Arden showed the great form he’s been developing this winter with a time of 9:01 — 12 seconds off the record. And as he pointed out, he had fenders on his bike. In the evening the athletes got together at the James Bay Gym to do some structured plyometric and core work.
Day 2 — the long day of the camp consisted of a ride north on the island to Duncan. As always the camps are designed so that all athletes can participate and benefit from the program. So, the athletes divided into two groups — one that did a longer 160 km ride and the other that did a hard 120 km. On the climb out of Shawnigan Lake, PCC athlete Tyler Trace and newcomer Stephen Kilshaw showed their strength driving a hard pace that popped a lot of riders including Connor who remarked between breaths after the climb “I miss the days when I used to be the one waiting for them at the top of this climb.”
On day 3, the athletes opted for an early start so that everyone could be back in time for the US-Canada Hockey final at the Olympics. After a fast ride to the end of the Pennisula, the riders were divided into groups of four. Each group did 4 to 5 simulated team time trials of about 15 minutes in length around Lands End. The focus was to work on the technical aspects of their pacelining and build threshold form. The structured intervals, with feedback from Amiri, were then followed by a less formal “sixth interval” home to make it in time for the puck drop.
Day 4 — the final day started with an easy hour and a half around the Peninsula followed by a climb over Willis Point where they were faced with the now legendary “backside of Willis” — a 2.4 km 10% climb. With the example set by veteran riders such as Erinne Willock, the camp participants completed 6 to 9 repeats of the climb at a pace that each rider could sustain for all of their repeats. “I was generally impressed with the maturity I saw in the athletes” said Connor, “they understood they were there to train smart, not to race. It will really benefit them come the race season.”
Overall, the camp participants completed 500 km of cycling, 2 hours of gym work, and the watching of one historic hockey game.
Pacific Cycling Centre is committed to supporting athletes and the community, and would like to thank PacificSport Victoria, Action Motorcycles, Robert W. Cameron Law Corporation, Erinne Willock, and Svein Tuft for their contribution and support, enabling PCC to continue in its role of developing future Olympians and world champions.