Olympian Svein Tuft has hung up his professional cleats to concentrate on creating memorable cycling experiences. Tuft’s Adventure Tours is offering single or multi-day gravel bike touring in Andorra. Two five-day camps in March and April are scheduled out of a Catalan farmhouse which include bike rental, epic rides, training and nutrition talks. The camps will “push your boundaries and step out of the comfort zone a bit to prepare you for the upcoming season, whether that is on the road or gravel/adventure racing.” Check out Svein’s website for more information.

PCC’s first camp of 2020 took place last week with 13 riders participating over the four days. Here is Holly Simonson’s report on the camp.

Last week  I was lucky to be a participant in one of the renowned winter endurance training camps put on by the Pacific Cycling Centre, in my hometown of Victoria, BC. Over the past four years that I have had Houshang Amiri as my cycling coach, I have ridden several of these camps each off-season, and every time the outcomes of the four-day training camp – not to mention the riders themselves – seem to be more impressive. This makes sense, as Housh (he approves this nickname, ask just about anyone in that Canadian cycling scene!) is a coach who knows how to build his athletes into champions over the long term, while continuing to let them each know that they are capable of reaching the next level and the goals they are striving for. In one of our pre-ride meetings, Houshang reminded us all of this surety he has in every athlete’s potential.

Thursday (Jan 30) was day one of the camp and traditionally this is testing day. Due to road work along Lands End Road we ended up leaving the longer time trial testing until the weekend, but we still endured the shorter test which is a hill climb TT up Willis Point Road. Everyone went off at 30 second intervals, and using one another as motivation (TT’s are always better when you have someone to chase!) we all gave our best effort to the top, where Houshang was waiting with stopwatch in hand. Personally I had a surprisingly good one, beating my best time and also getting one of my better 10 min power numbers. This made me a little worried for the next three days of hard rides, thinking I may have dug a bit deep on day one! Having this benchmark is important for Houshang and for our personal data, so that we both know how things are progressing throughout the off season and also year to year. The rest of the ride was steady endurance, with a slightly harder effort up Dean Park climb in North Saanich. At the end of the day the ride had already surpassed my longest distance this winter, but with the amount of fun had and how my legs were feeling so far, I was itching for more and knew this camp was going to be a solid one.

The next morning, Friday, was the wettest one of the camp. Despite some very soggy conditions, everyone showed up at the office for our usual pre-ride meeting ready to conquer the weather and another big day of training. This ride started out as many of our weekly PCC group rides do with a pilgrimage to the Observatory for some hill repeats. While most riders used these as zone 3 efforts with both seated and standing work, I took this chance to do some 20 second max effort sprints, which is a piece of power data Houshang was missing and which most others had done the previous weekend (I did not have a power meter on that day). After four of these high intensity efforts, I made sure to fuel myself up again so that I could continue riding endurance pace for many hours to come. By this point, the weather was improving, and so the ride plan changed from a slightly shorter day to another long one, where we did a loop of Lands End and then finished with waterfront. The group having shed a few people on the way, by the time we hit the waterfront it was all the women and Chris MacLeod. Since none of us could viably sit beside him while he kept a pace that benefitted him, we formed a train behind him (the ChrisTrain™), and this led to my day ending with my fastest waterfront time to date.

Friday evening many of us gathered once again at the office at Commonwealth Place, this time with no bikes or spandex, but with our minds ready to be expanded by Houshang’s camp seminar. The topics of the evening included goal setting, and energy usage while riding as seen in specific data analysis on Golden Cheetah (a program we use for uploading our training files and sending them to Housh). As someone who loves to look through data after my workouts, but doesn’t always know what to look for or what I am looking at, this was really informative and useful. Setting goals for the 2020 season also acted as a way of re-focusing on why we are doing all this work.

Day three of the camp was likely the hardest day for most of us, and was also my favourite ride of the camp. For those who had not had the pleasure of doing the Willis Point TT on day one (if they had to miss the ride due to school or other reasons), that was first on the menu. Next was the longer Lands End TT test, which we did after a bit of recovery while riding there through Central Saanich. With a slightly new course compared to previous camps, the testing ended up being about 30 mins in duration (for me), which is longer than the usual power tests we do and so acted as a good opportunity to see where our numbers are at for this length of TT. I dug really deep on this effort, having extra motivation when a few others passed me about half-way through and I became determined to re-pass and maintain my steady power until the end. I ended up getting a new PB for my 30 min peak power, which was an exciting take away from the day! The wind having picked up, the remainder of the ride was very blustery. The effort did decrease from our hard time trialling, but the ride took us to all corners of the peninsula and ended up being the longest of the camp. For me it was over 5hrs and 140km, which was my longest ride since last winter. I was surprised to still feel okay on the bike at the end of 5hrs, as often the ‘bonk’ would have fully set in for me on a ride of that length. On a ride like this one, with high intensity portions and lots of endurance it is so important to eat and drink properly. Houshang always reminds us of this, and offers us all food and water when we stop. The Nature’s Bakery Fig Bars were a crowd favourite throughout the camp.

The final day was dry and sunny, if a little cooler in temperature. This ride’s focus was on hill repeats in Dean Park, which features an increasingly steep grade on two sides of a box, and then a short descent for recovery. The instruction from Houshang was to ride between 4 and 5 w/kg until the really steep part and then just make it to the top. Most people crushed this workout, completing anywhere from 5 to 7 laps of the circuit at this hard effort. Unfortunately I was dealing with a sore glute and hip and had to tone things back a bit, but I still got a few reps in. The group then headed towards town again, with a slight detour along Prospect Lake Road and along the Galloping Goose trail to take us to the waterfront, where we ended the day with another fast rip along one of Victoria’s most popular cycling routes. The day came to a close along with the camp, and I think mostly everyone was still sporting a smile. My personal camp stats amounted to 19hrs of riding, 500km ridden, and 5000m climbed over the course of four days. This is definitely the most training I have ever done in that short a time period; luckily the quality of the riding, the company of the other athletes, and the support from Houshang were all amazing throughout, making this big winter training week super enjoyable. Thank you to Pacific Cycling Centre, Houshang, and everyone who supports us athletes in our performance pursuits!

Pacific Cycling Centre is offering athletes an opportunity to register for a Performance Training Camp in March which has an option to prepare and race the Aldergrove Long Road Race on March 29 in Langley, BC. The camp has two four-day options and a six-day option and runs from March 24 – 29 in Victoria, BC.

The camp led by PCC Head Coach Houshang Amiri, will have daily rides from two to five hours in duration with three afternoon track sessions. The rides will have hill climbs and sprinting and have a focus on technique and sharpening cycling skills. The camp will also include a training presentation.

Those wishing to do the Aldergrove RR can choose one of the camp options that includes race preparation, final tuning, an equipment check and nutrition strategy. The camp fee does not include the race registration.

All level of riders are welcomed from different cycling disciplines. Depending on the size of the camp riders will be divided into groups according to their level and ability.

Cost for the four-day camps are $495 + GST and for the six-day camp is $795 + GST

The deadline to apply is February 25.

Go to the Camps page for more information

Amiel – far right – with his bronze medal team. Photo by Canadian Cyclist.

It was a great weekend for Canada at the World Track Nationals at Milton. And an even better one for PCC athlete Amiel Flett-Brown winning bronze in the team pursuit.

“I couldn’t have asked for a more solid team and support from Cycling Canada,” Amiel said.

When Amiel was invited to the National team camp, coach Houshang Amiri changed his training program. “I had to make sure he was ready for selection camp and preparation camp,” he said. “Amiel did an excellent job of following the program while working at a bike shop so he could save for his trip to Milton. I believe this was good learning experience for him and proves you can achieve your dreams when you believe on yourself.”

“A massive thank you to my coach Houshang Amiri and the Pacific Cycling Centre for preparing me for this wild ride. We’re still taking it in,” Amiel said.

PCC athlete Amiel Flett-Brown is competing at the World Cup Track Championships in Milton this weekend. He was selected after his solid performances at the Canadian Track Nationals. He has been training at Milton for the last four weeks in preparation for the Team Pursuit.

“As well as Team Pursuit, I’ve also been selected as Omnium spare, which came as a pretty cool surprise as I had not prepared or expected the role,” Amiel said.

“Having coached Amiel for the last two years he has shown his skill as a rider and can adapt to any situation,” said PCC Head Coach Houshang Amiri. “We wish a very best for Amiel and all his teammates”.

Luke Hubner on the podium. PCC photo

Five PCC athletes took part in the Western Challenge at the Harry Jerome Sports Centre over the weekend. Sanctioned by Cycling Canada, it was hosted by the Burnaby Velodrome Club.

Zoe Saccio and Micaiah Besler were in the elite races and on the first day they came 1st and second in the 500m TT. Aedan Cracker, Parker Swanstrom, Luke Hubner were in the U19 category with Luke winning the IP and Omnium racking up 183 points.

“It was a great weekend of racing and they all worked very hard,” said Head Coach Houshang Amiri.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) has sent out a reminder to the Canadian sport community that the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) 2020 Prohibited List came into effect January 1, 2020. See their media release here.

https://cces.ca/news/2020-prohibited-list-is-now-effect 

PCC’s third off-season camp is set to go from January 30 – February 2. Based in Victoria, BC, the focus will be on building endurance and fitness in a vibrant, stimulating group training setting. The camp will identify athlete training targets for the 2020 season and the long rides will boost  aerobic capacity for cycling disciplines such as road, track, MTB and triathlon.

The four-day camp is led by PCC Head Coach Houshang Amiri, with daily rides from four-five hours in duration. The rides will include hill climbs and a time trial with a focus on technique and sharpening cycling skills. The camp will also include two training presentations.

All level of riders are welcomed from different cycling disciplines. Depending on the size of the camp riders will be divided into groups according to their level and ability.

Cost for the camp is $495 + GST. The deadline to apply is January 25.

Information and Registration Details 

Photo: Tour of the Gila

Pacific Cycling Centre coached athlete Alex Amiri will be racing for Team California in 2020, a Domestic Elite Cycling Team based in Northern California. Amiri rode with them for a short time earlier this year taking a podium spot at the Cascade Classic and riding in the Tour of Gila.

Team California races at the highest level in UCI and Pro Road Tour events. “Alex has a lot of experience on the road. He took a major step forward this year and matured as a rider. His aggressive racing nature found him in positions to win races and I think that next year he will have some breakout rides,” said Team Director Karl Carlsen.

Amiri is looking forward to the coming year: “It was a pleasure to ride for Team California this year. After strong rides with the guys at both Cascades Classic and Tour of the Gila, I’m super excited for what’s to come this next year.”

Team California focuses on U23 and U25 riders. Managing director AJ Kennedy realized the need for a transition program for young riders leaving the junior ranks and moving up to the elite level. From 2013 he created an initial squad and built a core group of riders that became the foundation for adding young talent. From 2014 through 2016, a number of riders were added to the roster with the goal of reaching the highest level – the Pro Road Tour and UCI invitation races. In 2017 the team became Team California with a focus on continuing to build the program.

“I believe it’s important for young riders to develop strong relationships and respect for each other,” said Kennedy. “I have learned that for these young adults, building friendships within the team structure helps give the riders a focus. When a rider has focus, they are much more apt to learn about responsibility, accountability and commitment.”

“Team California has a good platform and will provide opportunities for the riders to race and grow,” said PCC Head Coach, Houshang Amiri. “I believe the team will have more success and become a presence on the North America racing scene in 2020.”

PCC credit

PCC credit

Pacific Cycling Centre’s second camp of 2019-2020 took place last weekend under cool but sunny temperatures in Victoria. The four-day camp kicked off on Thursday November 28 with a 100km loop through Saanich and Sydney, which included a loop of Lands End. This first ride was set at a steady pace, keeping in mind that the rest of the camp would have some timed testing and off-season maintenance intervals as they hadn’t been in training zones since the racing season.

Day two saw the riders tackling another endurance focused ride in the hills around the Metchosin area – host to the BC and Masters Nationals Road Race course – before taking on the winding roads around Prospect Lake to the airport. Everyone kept a steady pace on the challenging terrain ensuring the riders kept warm in the cold November weather.

On Friday evening the riders were treated to a special guest appearance from Olympian and former professional rider Erinne Willock. Erinne gave an in depth run down of her career and experiences sharing many helpful tips on nutrition and race preparation.

Saturday was another endurance ride with a mid-ride team time trial to reintroduce everyone to some sub-race paced riding. This allowed Head Coach Houshang Amiri to analyze and set some benchmarks for the season to come. Included in the warm up were some pedaling technique drills up Observatory Hill, which included a stop at the top to fuel up and practice some of the tips given in the previous night’s seminar.

The last day of camp was a long one with some riders feeling the effect of the accumulated hours in unusually colder temperatures. As there was light snowfall on the Malahat north of Victoria, the plan was adjusted to a flatter terrain. Riders were tested again along the road up to the Saanich Observatory, including four repeats up the hill. They were later pared into small groups of similar ability to race around Lands End. There was a surprise detour near the end of the ride at around four and half hours in, where the riders were tested by the steep inclines of Dean Park Road. Coach Houshang wanted to throw that one into the mix before the winter snowfall cuts the road off for the rest of the winter.

“This was a great camp which brought everyone together for some good riding and to share knowledge and experience,” said Houshang. “The provided an opportunity for younger and upcoming riders to train and learn from PCC’s elite riders.”

The next clinic will take place from January 30 – February 2, 2020.