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.

PCC photo

PCC photo

Pacific Cycling Center kicked off the 2019-20 season with its first training camp from October 25-27.

The camp started with a two-hour presentation by Coach Houshang Amiri on Friday Oct 25th focusing on planning and nutrition. “In past few weeks we have been reviewing the last season and identifying opportunities for growth and development,” said Amiri. “We also completed a performance audit and so this presentation was a great start as we prepare our athletes for the upcoming season.”

The Victoria weather was perfect on the weekend for the group rides with sun and a temperature of 12c.  Each ride was about 4 hours and included some basic climbing techniques with a focus on bike strength.

PCC coached athlete Amiel Flett-Brown won a bronze medal at the National Track Cycling Championships last month at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, Ontario. Riding for Cycling BC, the team led by coach Houshang Amiri performed well at the championships.

This year the quality and speed of the racing was world class since the entire Canadian men’s Olympic pool was racing, and while inspiring to see this level of Canadian riders, this made it a challenge for those who were not part of the program.

“Competing at this level of racing requires a high level of preparation – mentally and physically – and a certain amount of self-confidence and Amiel was up to the task,” said coach Amiri.

Amiel prepared well for the Track Nationals, starting after BC Super Week in mid-July, training at the Harry Jerome Sports Centre in Burnaby while also managing his work.

“He focused well and approached every single training session very seriously following his training program in detail, resulting in an impressive performance in the Men’s Omnium,” added Amiri. “It was exciting and very motivating for me to work and coach Amiel, and I knew he would deliver when he needed to.”

“Receiving a bronze medal at the National Championships was a humbling experience and exceeded my expectations,” Amiel said. “I had worked intently with my coach Houshang over a 12-month period of focused work. He had mapped out my training and season meticulously and prepared me to be on the podium. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the results in such a deep field, coming in to an Olympic year.”

The other notable podium performances at the track nationals was in the Men’s Madison where Cycling BC team achieved a second place finish.


Holly Simonson (centre) won seven medals at the Championships. PCC Photo.

Holly Simonson (centre) won seven medals at the Championships. PCC Photo.

PCC athletes had a successful BC Track Championship last weekend in Victoria – over 40 podium finishes were recorded by nine athletes. Holly Simonson came away with seven medals – three gold, two silver and two bronze. Parker Swanstrom was the golden boy with six gold medals.

Coming off a successful win in the Keirin at the NW Track Championships the week before, Parker won the U17 titles in the Omnium, Kieran, Matched Sprint, Team Pursuit, Team Sprint and in the Youth Madison.

Amiel Flett-Brown also came away with six medals including three gold (Team Pursuit, Keirin and Omnium). Zoe Zaccio won five medals – gold in the Omnium and Individual Pursuit, silver in the Match Sprint and Bronze in the Keirin and 500m TT. The TT gave her second place in the BC Championships. Colin Fowlow won four medals (gold in the Team Sprint and Team Pursuit, silver in the Kilo and bronze in the Keirin). Brenna Pauly also achieved four medals – gold in the Team Pursuit, silver in the Team Sprint and Keirin, and bronze in the Omnium. Micaiah Besler came away with silver in the Omnium and Individual Pursuit and bronze in the Match Sprint and Team Sprint. Caleb Bender won the U19 Individual Pursuit and was first in the Team Pursuit and won silver in the Team Sprint. Chris MacLeod also won a gold and silver medal.

“There was great racing at the BC championships last weekend, I was happy with all of the athlete’s efforts and hard work,” said head coach Houshang Amiri. “The results are a clear indication of this. Now we will move towards a new level of performance goals.”


Photo: PCC

Photo: PCC

PCC athlete Parker Swanstrom competed in the Fred C. Rehberger Memorial 2019 Northwest Track Championship from August 16-18. Held at the Jerry Baker Memorial Velodrome at Marymoor Park in Redmond WA, the U17 athlete won the Keirin.

“There was a considerable amount of time before the bike pulled off at this track and so I moved to the very back and conserved my energy,” Parker recalls. “Eventually in the last lap with 200m to go I used my extra energy to take off and sit on the leader’s wheel, where I came around in the last straight and took it at the line.”

“Overall there were some good moments and experience with this result and as a Canadian U17 it was something I hadn’t been yet been exposed to.. With the help of Houshang’s coaching at Pacific Cycling Centre I was able to adapt quickly and I was happy I went and am looking forward to returning next year,” he added.

“At 16 Parker is part of Pacific Cycling Centre’s talent development program. He is a very motivated and hardworking young athlete and I see a good future for him in the sport,” said coach Houshang Amiri.

Parker will be racing this weekend at the BC Provincial Championships in the Westshore Velodrome in Colwood.

PCC coached athletes Micaiah Besler and Caleb Bender competed in the Western Canada Summer Games in Swift Current, Saskatchewan from August 9 – 18 and came away with some notable podium performances.

With six provinces and territories participating including Nunavut, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan, there was stiff competition in the cycling races which consisted of a time trial, road race and a mountain bike race.

With both Micaiah and Caleb coming from Saskatchewan they wanted to do well and they didn’t disappoint. Micaiah placed third in the TT and Caleb second. “I had an amazing TT, with good legs and an even better mindset. I started out way harder than I intended but was able to maintain that power and speed throughout and pushed myself further than I ever had in a TT to get a silver,” Caleb said.

Caleb then took another silver in the road race. Micaiah had a great road race also placing second, but it had its frustrating moments she recalls. “The race ended up being quite slow preventing any sort of reasonable pace from being set, but there were however, plenty of attacks throughout the whole 80km. I was quite often in a small group of riders off the front trying to break away. Eventually at about 15km to go there were a series of attacks one after each other that kept the pace quite high which led to the field being spread out. I was in the group of riders behind the winner of the race and I managed to win the bunch sprint from the front to take second place.”

The cross-country mountain bike race the next day was rained out but a short course was set up by the officials as a substitute. “The race was short and hard, but this being my first time ever mountain biking and feeling under the weather, I was very pleased to stay up right the whole time and to come 11th,” said Micaiah. Caleb had a fun experience in the MTB race: “Despite being way out of my wheelhouse on a mountain bike, I had a large enough buffer from the road events to hold onto a silver medal in the GC,” he said.

Both riders enjoyed the experience and competition in the games. “I enjoyed being able to represent Saskatchewan and I was proud to be able to earn the province some medals. Overall, I had a blast at the games and enjoyed being able to meet new people. I am happy to be a part of one of the most successful Saskatchewan cycling teams ever to participate in any Western Canada Summer Games. Of course, none of this would have been possible without my amazing coach Houshang Amiri and the continued support of the Pacific Cycling Center as well as my parents,” Micaiah said.

“It was awesome to represent Saskatchewan well at the event and have some good results to show for it. The games were a great opportunity to test my skills against the best up and coming riders from other provinces, a good learning experience, and a really good motivator for me heading into my upcoming training and races. A huge thanks goes out to Houshang Amiri and Pacific Cycling Centre for the coaching and support. Houshang’s coaching has and will continue to be a huge part of my development as an athlete and a person, and the support of PCC has been vital to my performance and huge improvement this season,” added Caleb.

“We were happy to see Micaiah and Caleb performing well at the WCSG and representing their province,” said Coach Houshang Amiri. “Both relocated to Victoria in 2018 to optimize their training with us at the Pacific Cycling Centre.”

Cycling legends captured by Scott Mitchell of Trek in December 2011.

Cycling legends captured by Scott Mitchell of Trek in December 2011.

Pedal Magazine has made an announcement that it is closing after 30 years in the cycling business. The magazine under editor Benjamin Sadavoy, has been a great proponent of the Canadian cycling scene with its in depth articles, reviews and race news.

The magazine – in print and online – was a great supporter of the Pacific Cycling Centre publishing news of our athletes over the years and promoting our camps. One issue in late 2011 featured a full page photo of coach Houshang Amiri, Svein Tuft, Erinne Willock, Rob Britton, Annie Ewart and Jamie Sparling enjoying a coffee after a camp session in Victoria. Cycling legends captured by Pedal – with help from photographer Scott Mitchell of Trek Bikes.

Thanks Benjamin for your major contribution to Canadian cycling.

Zoe Saccio (right) on the podium. Photo by Laura Saccio

Zoe Saccio (right) on the podium. Photo by Laura Saccio

PCC coached athlete Zoe Saccio competed in the 2019 USA Track Nationals last week in California and won a bronze medal in the individual pursuit. This was a remarkable result for the Vancouver-based young American as she has only been racing for two years. “I had no expectations of myself to do anything other than learn,” she said.

The three-day event started with a 10k scratch race then the Omnium on day two. “With the help of Coach Houshang I made the decision to be an instigator [in the Omnium scratch race] rather than just following moves. I attacked to keep the pace high, but by the time the sprint came, we were going so fast that I was unable to give it the finishing kick I needed to place.”

The tempo race followed, and points were hard to come by and although Zoe rode well in the elimination race, it didn’t go as planned. “Houshang told me that my strategy in the points race would be to lap the field. After a full day of hard, fast racing, I was not sure I was going to be able to do it, but I had nothing really to lose and everything to gain.”

Zoe waited for the right moment, separated from the pack and picked up two sprints on her way to lapping the field. “Once I got there, the job was to stay in and finish the race. At the end of the race, one rider was off the front and would win the final sprint, but the pack slowed so I took the opportunity to jump with 400m to go and was second in the final sprint for a second-place finish.” This resulted in an eight-place finish in the omnium at her first Nationals.

The final race was the individual pursuit. “I had never done a pursuit in my life but figured I would sign up because you have to start somewhere!” She rode well in the heat and then had to wait to see if she had made the finals. “I ended up qualifying third, which meant I had to come back and race for a bronze medal.”

She decided to aim for faster splits riding almost seven seconds faster than the morning with a time very comparable to the gold medal rider. “The best feeling in the world has to be when you get to the point in a pursuit that you can see the other rider in front of you but still have more in the tank, that and hearing the announcer compliment your cadence over the loud speaker! When I finished, I was so exhausted and happy that I cried, then I sat on the rollers drinking chocolate milk and wishing everyday was pursuit day.”

Svein Tuft and Rob Britton at the Nationals. Photo courtesy Canadian Cycling.

Svein Tuft and Rob Britton at the Nationals. Photo courtesy Canadian Cycling.

Pacific Cycling Centre alumni were out at the Canadian Road Nationals over the long weekend in July and secured a one-two result in the Time Trial. Rob Britton took the win over 11-time National TT champion Svein Tuft. They are also teammates, cycling for Rally UHC.

Both Rob and Svein were part of the cycling programs at the National Cycling Centre in Victoria. Rob from 2004-2009 and Svein from 2005-2009. Svein is a silver medalist at the world championships and he came ninth in the time trial in the Beijing Summer Olympics. “I had the privilege of working with both of them in the first few years of their development,” said Houshang Amiri who coached them at NCC.

Victoria athletes also placed in the road race: Adam de Vos took first place with Nigel Ellsay coming second. They also ride for Rally UHC.


Photo courtesy TLBVelo

Photo courtesy TLBVelo

PCC’s Alex Amiri will be spending the summer in Europe riding for 303 Project, a US based UCI Continental Team. Alex, who has having one of his best ever season’s, left for Europe after riding for Cycling BC in the Tour de Beauce last week.

Talking to Canadian Cyclist, Alex said: “Getting on a team like 303 is pretty huge.  Being on a Continental team provides opportunities I wouldn’t have had access to otherwise.  Meeting the guys and making these new connections is really important to me; I can’t wait to get to know everyone.”

Voted Cycling BC’s 2018 Elite Male Sportsperson of the Year, Alex successfully took the KOM polka dot jersey at the San Dimas Stage Race in April. Early in the year he was training in Tucson with Re-Cycle Tucson, gaining valuable riding hours and competing in races such as the Redlands Classic.

“I would like to thank my team Glotman Simpson for their support over the last year and a half, The Condo Group, Trevor Connor, Bridge the Gap fund and the Pacific Cycling Centre and Head Coach Houshang Amiri.”

Alex’s first outing with the team will be in the Tour of Sibiu, Romania from July 3-7.

See Canadian Cyclist article on Alex here: