Tag Archive for: cycling

Pacific Cycling Centre is offering purchase options for its team training kit in time for the Christmas Season. Designed by Jakroo Canada the kit features a cycling jersey, thermal jersey, pro bib shorts, wind vest, arm warmers, leg warmers and a neck wrap. Prices are discounted by 20% but the more orders placed the bigger the discount. Order must be placed by November 28 for estimated delivery of December 13.

 

VIEW KIT AND PLACE ORDER

 

A forced winter training schedule allowed PCC Athlete Caleb Bender to do time on his indoor trainer. But now back in Victoria he is getting back into a routine and planning a mammoth challenge.

The past four months have been eventful to say the least. From quarantine to race cancellations it’s been quite a crazy few months on the bike. The first race cancellations happened midway through a month and a half training block down south in Tucson AZ while preparing for my first year of U23 racing. From there plans quickly changed from preparing for a busy year with my TaG Cycling teammates to getting home as quickly as possible while talk of border closures was still up in the air. After a quick rebooking of flights, I was back at my home in Saskatchewan a week later.

For me, having a sense of consistency and routine was an important step to adapting to an ever-changing situation. Spending some time at home was an important step to this, although there were some challenges. The biggest of these involved the two feet of snow that greeted me when I got home. Being mid-March I’d came home with a month of winter weather remaining, meaning a month of trainer miles. On the bright side, being winter in small town Saskatchewan the following two weeks of quarantine didn’t feel like much of a change from my usual winter training routine at home.

After the snow melted, things slowly started to pick up again, with longer rides and some intervals training. Unfortunately, in typical Saskatchewan fashion there was also wind, and lots of it. Over the next couple of months there were weeks where I would be stuck on the trainer over half the week just because it was unsafe to ride outside from the wind. Thankfully with coach Houshang’s guidance I was able to adapt my training in a way that made the best use of the weather (and single paved road) I had to work with on most days, while still maintaining fitness under the less than ideal conditions. Despite the weather, I was still able to get in some 200km days in the legs. I also kept motivated with weekly trips out to my “local climb,” a valley an hour and a half drive from my house for a few 4-5 hour “climbing days” (with a few KOM attempts thrown in).

Now midway through July I’ve been back in Victoria for about three weeks, and slowly things are back on schedule. With Tuesday TT’s, Wednesday training time on the track, and lots of long rides in the mix there’s a lot to keep me motivated. Now that I’m back on schedule I find the long endurance rides to be the most motivating part of my training and enjoy pushing to reach a set distance or elevation gain target each day.

What’s keeping me especially motivated these upcoming weeks is an Everesting that Alex Amiri and I have planned on August 1st, in support of the MS Society of Canada. This will be a huge challenge, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to push myself for an incredible cause. Watch this space to find out how you can support us!

Although racing is still on hold, I’m looking forward to finding new challenges to push myself in the meantime. Although far from ideal, I’m learning to enjoy some of the opportunities I have this year that I wouldn’t normally have in a full race season, while of course waiting for the time we can all race again safely. In the meantime, I’m looking forwards to more big days in the saddle to come!

PCC athlete Holly Simonson had some major goals for the 2020 season. Instead the 2019 U23 Provincial Road Champion took advantage of the down time to ride with friends and take on a few challenges.

Over the past four months, athletes (and everyone else around the globe) have had to adapt to new protocols and challenges. It is hard to reflect upon this experience concisely because of the significant ups and downs the past months of training have brought. Pre-pandemic, I was extremely motivated for the 2020 season. Being my last year in the U23 ranks, I had my eye on the maple leaf jersey at the Canadian Road Championships as well as goals for podiums at BC Super Week and Track Nationals. Needless to say, I was itching to get back out there with my teammates.

When the event cancellations began, I was just a couple weeks out from my team’s training camp in California. The camp would have been followed by the start of our season, including the Redlands Bicycle Classic where I was all set to race with a composite team. In the beginning, it was disbelief that swept over me, followed by the disappointment. We all felt this. Anyone with a goal centred around an event this year felt it. The Olympic athletes set to head to Tokyo certainly felt it more than I did.

Once I accepted that the season was really fading into nothing, I had to adjust my outlook. My coach, Houshang Amiri really helped me with this. He reminded me that this time can be used to improve upon things we would not usually get the chance to work on in-season. So, even though I haven’t been able to line up with my teammates and get those results I was hoping for, I have still grown stronger this year than I have ever been. Seeing that progression has been motivating for me.

One thing that has helped motivate me along the way is doing semi-regular 20min TT tests up at Goldstream Heights, a climb near Shawnigan Lake with about 300m elevation gain. It is fun to try and beat your previous time and power numbers. Admittedly, there were times where the motivation to ride has been much lower than it usually is. I really love racing my bike. Normally, I love the training too, but half of that is because it lets me perform at races. There were days where heading out for a long endurance ride on my own just didn’t feel fun or worth it. There were days when the weight of other stresses took my energy, and I had to learn how to be gracious with myself about missing a ride. Something I am still working on is not overthinking about what others are up to. Yes, it can be motivating to see those around you doing all this training, but if you get too much in the mode of comparing, it won’t do you any good.

During the past couple of months, I took part in a mentorship program put together by the Athlete’s Council. In one of the Zoom meetings, we heard from and ask questions to Tara Whitten. Something that really struck me from our talk was how her training only worked when she was in tune with her body. To be able to listen to your body and do right by it is super hard, but I think it is something I have got better at this year. Part of this requires not comparing how much riding you are doing with how much others are doing. Not everyone reacts the same to the same training. I think knowing this will help me as I continue working towards my goals; having Houshang be such a trusting coach has also been a big part of this learning development. Of course, he knows when to push you, but he also listens and trusts when you need it.

Now, back to the fun stuff. It has been great to get to ride with some teammates and friends again recently as things started to open up in BC. I really love long rides with good company, especially if the day includes exploring new roads and a top-notch snack stop along the way. When things were really tightened up, and no group riding was allowed, I was super fortunate to have my partner Colin and my family in my COVID bubble (built-in riding buddies). Having a few more people to ride with now is something I won’t take for granted ever again. Getting to soak in all the beautiful riding that the lower island has to offer has been really special, and getting to do it in the spring and summer months is unusual for me.

Another thing that was really fun was taking part in Rob Britton/The Last Ride BC’s weekly coffee hunt. At the start of each of the six weeks, a Strava segment was posted and somewhere along the segment (of mostly trail) a bag of Eleven Speed Coffee was hidden. The final challenge was a one-day ride where you had to connect all of the segments together. This was a really fun adventure, and it was cool to see all the people in the Victoria bike community who took part, as well as the local businesses who provided support.

This time away from racing has made me feel lost, has made me question my identity outside of sport, and has brought on all sorts of other emotions. But it has also made me sure of how much I want to keep racing my bike and how cycling can be a part of regular life, used as a tool for fun, for adventure, for mental and physical health, and to push your limits. I am so excited to push my limits this summer, notably when I set out for “the big loop” ride (a 260km loop of the lower island) along with some other PCC athletes and Red Truck Racing teammates.

In another post in our Training during a Pandemic series PCC athlete Brenna Pauly, found the time to explore trails and rack up mega miles on her bike.

While the last few months have redefined the meaning of “normal”, it has been easy to mourn the loss of so many events and races that usually define the summer racing calendar. For me things started to change when I was on my way home from two months of warm weather training in Arizona. I got an email saying that our team camp that was scheduled to happen in a couple weeks in California was cancelled. At this time, it seemed like a premature decision, but in hindsight it was the best call that the team could have made.

 

No one could have predicted what would follow in the coming days, as one race after the next got cancelled and the rules surrounding our day to day lives shifted. While at first the thought of not having a race season after spending the winter preparing for one was very disappointing, my bike became the only constant in the ever-changing world during the pandemic.

I fell into a “COVID routine” which entailed packing my bar bag full of snacks and pointing my bike in the direction of the road the least travelled. I realized quickly that all of my winter training was not going to be lost, just shifted to using it to adventure. I got to explore the roads less travelled around southern Vancouver Island during a time that I usually am far away from home. Having that mental shift made me able to push the limits of my endurance training all while having fun.

 

 

I always knew that I loved riding my bike, but these last few months have solidified that for me. With no races on the horizon I shifted back into building that endurance base. I have now ridden almost as much in six months as I would in a year and have done my three longest rides ever over the last four months culminating in the craziest and hardest bike ride I have ever done – 290 km of gravel logging roads from Lake Cowichan to Port Alberni and back in one day. I knew that I was physically prepared, but three flats and two hike-a-bike sections in the first 80 km of a route with limited bail out options left me testing my mental strength on the bike. It is definitely a ride that I would have never even thought possible last year, and one that I will not forget for a long time. I am already planning the next one.

So, while 2020 has been more different than anyone could have ever predicted, I have also had many opportunities come up that were not possible in other years. I think I am more excited now to get back to racing when it is safe and in whatever capacity possible. With time trials starting again I look forward to putting all that riding into going fast on the bike!

Another PCC athlete shares her experience on training during the pandemic. For Keisha Besler it was also having to adapt to a different training regime – switching from triathlon to cycling. 

This year has been a big year of change. For me change started in January when I made a big and difficult decision to switch from triathlon, a sport I loved, and had been competing in for nine years, to cycling. I love triathlon, but I wasn’t happy competing anymore. The first few weeks were the hardest mentally as I was questioning if I had made the right decision and figuring out how to define myself as an athlete.  I was afraid that I had in some way just “given up” on my dreams and goals as a triathlete.  Thankfully, I was surrounded by amazing people who helped me look at it differently.  I was reminded that my path as an athlete, or in life, isn’t going to be a straight line and this was just one of the many zig zags towards where I would end up.

January and February were spent learning all things cycling and getting used to the training. I had also dropped my job working at a grocery store and started a new job at a boarding kennel which I was loving. Early March I was getting ready to do my first race as a cyclist but unfortunately, that’s when COVID-19 become a major concern and races were being canceled. I ended up going back to the grocery store and getting used too all the new protocols and changes. Slowly the new rules such as staying six feet apart, extra cleaning, and training on your own became more normal.

Although disappointed at not being able to compete in my first race season as a cyclist I was able to put more focus on my training as I wasn’t working as much as I was before. I took this as an opportunity to get stronger and build up my tolerance of being on a bike for hours at a time. Three hours used to feel long for me and now it seems very normal. Not only that but many other things that coach Houshang Amiri has been working on have improved. I have slowly been getting better and that’s been one of my biggest motivators throughout this crazy experience.

I have been incredibly lucky to have my sister, Micaiah, as a training partner throughout the pandemic. Though we don’t ride together all the time, she’s helped make more then a few rides feel a bit better than if I had been alone, especially for those cold, wet, and gross ones in the early months.

The past few warmer months I have really been able to explore Victoria and more of the island by bike than ever before. I am having a blast riding my bike for hours on end exploring new, beautiful routes. With restrictions relaxing I have been able to go on a couple of rides with other people which is something I had missed. My biggest ride was with a friend just recently. We started from home, rode through Jordan River, Port Renfrew, Cowichan Lake, and finally ended in Duncan. It was a seven hour ride and we were both proud about completing it as it was the longest ride for both of us. I am happy to say that I no longer feel weird calling myself a cyclist and I am so looking forward to all the new experiences of just racing my bike.

PCC athletes are sharing their experiences on how they are dealing with the pandemic and what adaptations they have made to their training. Here is Zoe Saccio.

This was my first year Red Truck Racing, and I was looking forward to a busy summer of racing with my team. I had lofty goals, such as winning a national championship, that I felt I was likely to meet under PCC coach Houshang Amiri’s guidance. When all racing was canceled I was disappointed, but it didn’t stop me from feeling motivated to train.

Keeping up with my training program has actually kept me grounded through this experience. Being able to have something to add structure to my day has not only helped me as an athlete but helped me to mentally cope with what is going on. While racing hasn’t been a thing, I did manage to find some competition. I entered Perform Unite’s June #coronachallenge and won both the sprinter and endurance power competitions, with both the highest 1 minute and 10 minute power for women! Thanks to Houshang for helping me stay strong over the last few months.

PCC cyclists have had a challenging few months. The pandemic forced many to train indoors, some faced lockdown after travelling out of the country or province and now it is safe to cycle outdoors this has to be in small groups. In the first of the series – Training during a Pandemic – we asked PCC cyclists how they have been coping and what has kept them motivated. We start with Alex Amiri from Team California. 

Lately things have been chaotic, with COVID-19, the cancellation of the 2020 NA cycling calendar, travel bans, and many other complications, finding ways to stay self motivated can become difficult for some people.

This is a journey through my time with training during the pandemic. It starts back in March, after pre-season training in Tucson, to heading home early and being quarantined to my house for two weeks, all the way to the present day and what I am doing now.

In Tucson I was able to get in the quality training needed to perform at a high level in North America, things were going great on the bike, all the while the situation was rapidly deteriorating in Europe, Asia, and unknowingly at the time, in the North America as well.

From warm sunny days in Arizona, to hearing Justin Trudeau telling all Canadians to come home. On such short notice this was a bit of a shock. It was grey and rainy for the whole two weeks of my quarantine. During this, I was not allowed to leave the house. That meant lots of time on the trainer. For some, this is a non-issue. For me, this was a hard adjustment, and mentally it was tough. Things were still uncertain for the 2020 race season, so motivation to turn myself inside out on the trainer was nonexistent.

Coming into April post quarantine I was excited to finally get back outside and on the road. Rain or shine, I was getting out on the bike for my own sanity. While this was great, the two weeks on the trainer took its toll. Physically, I had lost the fitness I gained in Arizona. Mentally, I lost some of the drive to keep up with the prescribed training. Thanks to my team, Team California, I was able to have a major shift in perspective, understanding that I am not alone. And thanks to my coach, we were able to formulate a plan to maintain and build fitness in a way that I could enjoy, and I was committed to the long road ahead, regardless of what the racing season might look like.

Throughout the month of March, my focus had shifted from high intensity back to the off-season style of training. This was a still a major adjustment, going into May and the “start” of the racing season.

Alex on a gravel ride near his home in Mill Bay. Photo by Jay Wallace.

May brought more favourable weather, but it also brought the bad news of our 2020 race calendar being all but cancelled. While the month started with the Virtual Redlands Bicycle Classic, it ended with lots of time spent on the Gravel bike, as well as the TT bike. The goal was to build the base fitness, without too much thought towards building the high-end power sustainability. This allowed a lot of time to explore the roads less traveled. It allowed opportunity to keep things interesting, from 8-hour gravel epics, to 4-hour rides on the TT bike to find comfort in the aero position. Towards the end of the month, I was feeling refreshed.

June meant summer. With that came earlier sunrises, and later sunsets. That greatly affected the amount of riding I was doing. Finishing May with 90 hours of riding in the legs led to a big boost in fitness, and in turn, a morale boost. Feel-good do-good right? It was a refreshing feeling having the freedom to ride to my hearts content, keeping in mind that racing will eventually happen, even if it is eight months away. This became the perfect time to push my limits. Without pushing limits, its hard to find areas to improve on, making it difficult to formulate realistic cycling goals. The last time I had really “pushed” my limit was in 2017. The big training loads, for me, help me build my self awareness on and off the bike. Teaching me what I can and cannot handle. This began one of my biggest months of training, logging 108 hours on the bike.

The last week of June was a solo 37 hour training block over the course of eight days, with one day off (the second day). The beginning of the week was rough, coming off the Virtual Joe Martin Stage Race and heading into a training week like this was a shock to the system. After the rest day began six days of training totaling 30 hours and 900 km. Feeling terrible on day one was a bad sign, but I was committed. You are not always going to feel amazing on the bike, and what I found was that as the week went on, and the hours and km’s started adding up, I started feeling better and better. By the end of the week I felt like I had just had an easy week. I felt great. I learned I can handle a big training load like that, and I learned just how hard I can push myself with that much time on the bike all at once.

Now going into July, I’ve started with an actual easy week. With the last months weighing on my mind it became abundantly clear that nothing lasts forever. If you’re up, you’ll come down. If you go down, you will come back up.  Cycling is a tough sport, everyone has a different journey, and everyone develops and goes through these highs and lows at a different rate. Mentally you need to find what drives you, on and off the bike. A big fault many cyclists struggle with is feeling vulnerable. If you feel vulnerable, you’re out of your comfort zone, and in the gain zone. So embrace it, and just keep pedalling.