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!