On the podium. Photo: PCC

PCC Masters athlete Renate Walton recently won the Individual Pursuit at the 2022 World Championships in Los Angeles making her a new 70-74 age group World Champion. A few days later she won a silver medal in the 500m ITT. Here is her story.

My journey started four years ago when I froze doing the I.P.in L.A. Returning home, I got hit by a car getting a fractured collar bone and a dislocated AC joint. Then of course it was COVID. The comeback trail seemed to take forever. I told my coach Houshang Amiri that I wanted to try again. The road had a rocky start as I ended up with COVID earlier this year, then got Shingles. Once again Houshang had to keep changing training plans to accommodate my fitness.

The World Championships returned to Los Angeles, and we finally put our plan into place, and we drove to L.A. We arrived early for me to get accredited on the track so I could ride in “open track” sessions, which of course started early in the morning. Everything was going great until the one two second brain fog hit, and I apparently slowed down going around the corner and fell down the banking like a sack of potatoes – lol. My leg swelled up immediately. I landed on my left side and ended up with a fracture and torn rotator cuff and a black and blue swollen leg. Thankfully, I still had a few days to train for the IP and had to adapt to riding in the indoor velodrome. Again, Houshang had more adjusting to do.

When the day of the race came, I misjudged the timing in the gate and fell very gracefully, again on my sore shoulder. I felt good during the race, focusing on my lines and Houshang’s encouragement on each lap. Like everyone else I thought that maybe I could have gone just a bit faster. I found out after the race that my competitor Mary Ellen Allen was the current record holder for the IP which she got in August in Aguascaliente, Mexico. So, I was very excited when I won the Gold Medal and finally got my jersey that I have been dreaming of. The women that I competed against were lovely, funny, and competitive. I have made new friends.

After several more days of training, it was time for the 500m TT. I have to admit that my shoulder was sore and during the warmup I felt like I had re-injured it. Anyway, no excuses but I had a horrible start which cost me first place, but still managed a second-place finish.

It was nice to have athletes there that I knew like Heather and Eric Simonson, Keith Bruneur and John Mayer, to support and cheer me on as I did for them when they raced. There were also other Canadians that I met while we were there. It was a such a special feeling that I will cherish.

Finally, to the most important person who made all of this possible, my coach Houshang. A man who I truly respect and admire. Without his commitment and encouragement to my training and forever changing my plans, I would not be able to ride at this level. Just being at World’s is an accomplishment, but realizing all the hours he puts in, and forever ending encouragement and definitely a kick in the butt when I needed it, made me want to work a little bit harder despite my injuries. I cannot thank him enough for what he has done for me. I am looking forward to discussing my goals for next season.

Renate with Coach Houshang Amiri. Photo: PCC

PCC Athlete Brenna Pauly recently rode in the TransRockies Gravel Royale. Here is her race report.

With road season coming to an end in July, it made sense for me to put some gravel events on my calendar for the end of the summer. I had a feeling that I would enjoy the atmosphere and style of gravel racing, but little did I know how much fun and suffering could be had at the same time!

While I have done many long gravel rides and even more road stage racing, putting the two together and entering a gravel stage race seemed like an exciting new challenge. It also suited my strengths on the bike. So that is how I came to find myself at the start line of the TransRockies Gravel Royale, a brand new four-day stage race, covering 400 km and 8000 m of elevation gain from Panorama to Fernie, B.C.

Stage 1, although short in distance, made up for it in climbing. After a long decent from Panorama I got into a good group on the first long climb of the day. The “climb” quickly turned into a rocky double track that eventually became very difficult to ride. To the point that everyone was off their bikes and hiking. The hiking continued into some even steeper single track. Once we made it over the top though, the views more than made up for the grueling climb. We were rewarded with a spectacular vista and a long winding gravel decent. At this point things were pretty split up and I ended up rolling the last 20 km solo to end the day in fourth.

Brenna with Red Truck sponsor John Ramsden

Stage 2 continued with a big climb early on. This time luckily there was no hiking and I set a good pace, catching a group a head of me. Over the top and it was a technical 4 km downhill single-track section. It was super-fast with some creek crossings, but I kept it rubber side down. Coming out of the single-track we were ejected onto buttery smooth dirt and it was 30 km home on wide open roads. Again, I found myself solo and rode in for fourth.

Stage 3, after finishing two days solo, my goal for the day was to get in a good group early on. Again, the climb got extremely steep at the end and we had to navigate some fresh sludge that washed out the route the night before. Off the decent though I found a few others and we worked well together to catch groups of two in front of us. We settled into a good rhythm and picked up the pace after the second check point, dropping the one other girl that was with us. One of the cool things of gravel racing is being able to work with a wide range of people in the race all with a common goal. The last 20 km was very fast and we caught the group ahead of us. It was an awesome day out on the bike and I rolled across the line in third place.

Brenna (right) on the podium after Stage 3 with Lauren Cantwell (left) and Rachel McBride

Stage 4, the final queen stage, 130 km and 2100 m of climbing was hands down one of the top five hardest bike races I have ever done. The course was unrelenting with big climbs and technical descents. My goal was to build on my performance from yesterday. I quickly found myself in a solid group and away we went. I was ahead of some of the other girls for a while, but they rode back up to my group with a few others. The middle climb of the day put me close to my limits, and I lost the group I was with on the decent, when I bobbled in a creek crossing. I took the opportunity to eat and drink and top up my fuel stores for the last climb of the day. I rode solo until two guys I had been riding with off and on all week, caught me and I hopped in with them. The last climb I found my groove, but I was close to my limits as I missed seeing a water trough on a little descent and went straight into it. I twisted my handlebars which took me a few minutes to untwist. Once I did though, I hopped on my bike and finished the last couple kilometres of the race. Again, rolling across the line in fourth.

 

Photo credit: PCC

Congratulations to Holly Simonson for winning the keirin and for placing 4th in the scratch race at the Vision GP last weekend. Good luck to all PCC athletes at the BC Provincial Track Championships this weekend at the Westshore Velodrome – August 19-21.

Photo courtesy ASO

It was a historic day for Canadian cycling today at the Tour de France. Hugo Houle won stage 16, the first time since 1988 that a Canadian has won a tour stage. Ironically the last Canadian who won a stage was Steve Bauer who is the Directeur Sportif for Houle’s team Israel-Premier Tech. Houle dedicated his victory to his youngest brother Pierrick who died in a hit and run accident 10 years ago while cycling. Fellow Canadian and team mate Michael Woods was third.

Read about the stage win in Canadian Cycling Magazine

Steve Bauer interview in CanadianCycling.com 

Holly Simonson (right) on the podium. Photo by Rob Jones/CanadianCyclist.com

Congratulations to Holly Simonson for winning bronze in the criterium at the Canadian National Road Championships on Sunday in Edmonton. It was an exciting race with several breakaways at the front and the lead riders not decided until the last lap.

“I am really happy to bring home my first medal from a road national championships and I could not have achieved this result without the constant support of my coach Houshang, as well as my team and my family,” said Holly. “I was really suffering in the first half of the race, but my teammate and fellow PCC coached athlete Brenna Pauly saved me and brought back a dangerous breakaway when I didn’t have the legs. This gave me so much motivation, and allowed me to safely make it into the mix for the final. By the end I had definitely found my crit legs and I just went for it through the final corner. Being on the podium with racing sensations Maggie Coles Lyster (DNA Pro Cycling) and Alison Jackson (Liv Racing Xtra) was super exciting and gives me confidence to keep pushing myself to the next level.”

Next up for PCC riders is the Tour de Concord Vancouver Criterium on Thursday, June 30 from 3:30 pm.

PCC athletes are going into the second part of the season with several track races coming up, including the Vision GP at the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome August 12–14, the BC Track Provincials in Victoria from August 19-21, and the Track Nationals in Milton, ON from September 2-4.

 

PCC will be holding a pre-Road National Championships Training Camp in June 2022 to prepare athletes for the Canadian / ITT National Championships. There will be two camp dates: June 1 – 5 for U19, U23 and Elite level, and June 9 – 12 for Masters. Location is Victoria BC, and the deadline to apply is May 22. Early bird discount of 10% if registered before May 1.

More Information and to register

Houshang with Erinne Willock at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. PCC photo.

PCC Head Coach has been featured on Fast Talk Laboratories latest podcast. Fast Talk is hosted by Trevor Connor, who Houshang coached at Victoria’s National Cycling Centre. He discusses Gran Fondo pacing, how steady state riders can build anaerobic power, training juniors, and how to pace 5×5 interval workouts. Listen to it here:

Q & A with Houshang Amiri

Pacific Cycling Centre recently completed a successful training / education U23 road endurance base camp with one day sessions held on three consecutive weekends – February 26, March 6, and 12.

The camp was a pilot project with the objective of introducing elite level programming coaching services to U23 athletes, while exploring opportunities on how to work with local organizations within the community.

This camp was fully funded by 94 Forward with Tripleshot Cycling handling the administration and inviting riders to the camp.

The day-to-day management, training, and programs were led and delivered by Houshang Amiri, Pacific Cycling Centre Head Coach, assisted by Olympian Peter Disera 

Nine riders attended the camp, which created an opportunity and knowledge base for U23 cyclists with goals of attaining national team status. Participants were provided with basic tools which were utilized with the objective of improving their overall performance.

Key road cycling race skills were covered including climbing, individual time trial, team time trial, pace line technique, and sprinting and sprint lead out. These skills were explained and practised during the road training (practical) sessions. The sessions were fully supported with nutrition supplied by Gruppo Nutrition.

The riders met at Commonwealth Pool in Victoria, the home of 94 Forward and Pacific Cycling Centre. A three-four-hour training ride was preceded by a short presentation and then followed by lunch at Kattia’s Kitchen Café at Saanich Commonwealth Place.

In the afternoon there was a training, endurance knowledge presentation by Houshang Amiri, including guest speakers Olympians Peter Disera, Jay Lamoureux and John McMillan President of 94 Forward.

“This was a great opportunity for the athletes not only to experience an elite level of coaching, but also to collaborate with community organizations, “says, Houshang Amiri.

Pacific Cycling Centre (PCC) was established in 2009 after the disestablishment of the National Cycling Centre (1998-2009), which was a legacy of the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games. PCC offers many elite, performance-based programs as well as development and training camps working in and for our community. We work Canada-wide assisting with coach education / athlete development, and since 2010 have introduced an online coaching system working globally with athletes. We have advanced many athletes to National and professional teams many of whom now work as community leaders and coaches.

Photo by Jay Wallace

Tripleshot Cycling in partnership with 94Forward invite applications from U23 / development level road riders to attend a three-session coached clinic focused on developing road skills and fitness in advance of the upcoming road season. The clinic days are part of a pilot project for services and programs for u23 / development level riders aiming for national teams. The sessions will be held in the Victoria area.

Dates: February 26, March 5 & March 12 (9:00 AM – 4:00 PM). There will be morning and afternoon sessions on road skills and presentations. Lunch is included.

In addition to great coaching from former National Team coach Houshang Amiri and Pete Disera, Olympian, each selected athlete will receive a $500 honorarium from 94Forward.

Up to 5 male and 5 female developmental athletes may be selected.

How to Apply: Apply by sending a cover letter (email) setting out how such a clinic could assist you with your 2022 goals and confirming that your current coach and/or club is supportive of your attendance. Please note that in light of the current public health emergency only fully vaccinated athletes will be able to participate.

Applications will be accepted by email to development.tripleshot@gmail.com until 4:00 PM on Friday, February 18th.

Selected athletes will be notified by email and by notice published on the Tripleshot website.


PCC athletes will continue to be fueled by Infinit into 2022. The Canadian-based nutrition company has renewed its partnership with PCC for a third year. Luke Hubner takes his nutrition seriously and uses Infinit Ride in his drinks. “If I have it I can always keep going way longer than I would expect.” He takes Infinit on his long rides: “I don’t think I can make it through without it.” Parker Swanstrom also uses Ride to avoid that ‘bonking’ feeling, but also likes other Infinit products. “Jet Fuel is perfect for the track and shorter road events as it helps me activate my system for shorter hard efforts. Then for recovery Repair mix is a good thing for me to drink post effort to help save the system for more race days or just general recovery.”

Infinit Canada