April 3/01 11:07 am - California Report, B.C. Training Camp
Posted by Editor on 04/3/01
Sizzler Cross Country - San Jose, California
(courtesy Andreas Hestler)
Nice one with the April Fools, you had us running and freaking, but we figured it out. Anyway Seamus, Chris and I did the 13th annual Sizzler Classic this weekend and Will Reutly and Ben Sexton our Rocky Juniors were there doing well also.
The race was a two lap Cali style double track, felt like one big climb. We arrived a little late so with a minimum of warm up we diced with Bas, Henrik and Josh all who were top 10 from the weekend before. ( well Josh did blow in the end at Sea Otter as did I). It was really good training, not to long or too technical I think this will be very good for Napa. We are not allowed on the course till Thursday so as everyone arrives tension is mounting and some are a little angry.
Weather here has been great. See you at the weekend.
Grant Ranch County Park - April 1st, 2001
1 Bas Van Dooren 30:12.1
2 Andreas Hestler 30:34.1
3 Josh Fleming 30:54.1
4 Seamus McGrath 30:55.0
5 Henrik Sparr 32:32.0
6 Chris Sheppard 32:37.0
7 Eric Jones 33:06.0
8 Ben Jacques-Maynes 36:27.0
9 Warren Gravely 37:15.0
10 Andy Maynes 38:10.0
1 Skyler Bishop 42:36.0
2 Will Reutley 42:43.0
3 Matt Sanders 46:41.1
4 Ben Sigston 54:46.0
5 Steven Cozza 55:55.0
National Cycling Centre (Calgary) Western Development Camp
(courtesy Dan Proulx)
The city of Penticton played host to the 6th annual National Cycling Centre - Calgary Development Camp for Espoir and Junior athletes. The camp was attended by 20 athletes from Alberta and British Columbia. The camp covered 450km of the beautiful south Okanagan in simulated races and training rides during a 6 day period. The camp highlighted some of western Canada's best young cycling talent.
The coaching staff included Kurt Innes (Head Coach, National Cycling Centre -Calgary), guest coach Ron Hayman (former professional cyclist, coach and manager) and myself, Dan Proulx, Development Coach for the National Cycling Centre - Calgary and coordinator for the annual training camp.
The venue was selected for its variety of routes, hilly terrain and temperate weather. The community is extremely supportive of the camp and cycling. Penticton is the host city for Ironman Canada.
Upon arrival to the camp, participants selected team captains for the week's racing events. Laura Yoisten and Chris Bentley were picked as captains for their respective teams. Each captain then picked their "dream team" from the selection of riders in attendance.
The teams were both evenly matched. The selections were difficult for the team captains as they weighed the strengths and weaknesses of each rider selected. The captains got an appreciation for how difficult team selections would be in the real world. After team selections, each athlete was issued two racing numbers for use during each stage of the week long race.
The first event was a team "tire change" requiring each member to change a tire completely. The time was taken from the team's last member. The pressure was on as each team struggled to get less experienced riders through a quick change. The fastest tire change was 2min and 30 seconds from Eric Holland ( a junior) using a zefal frame mount pump. The total time for each team counted on the team classification but had no bearing on the individual G.C.
The first day of racing featured a 15km time trial near the Observatory. This is a desert like area just west of Penticton. The course was an out and back 5km loop. The course allowed the coaches to take splits for each 5km segment and to film the riders on several turnarounds. The riders pushed themselves to the limit throughout this event and really showed their strength.
The leader after stage 1 was Eric Daggett (2nd year senior) and Laura Yoisten (2nd year junior). The leaders were awarded their jerseys in beautiful desert sunshine and 15 degree temperatures. Andrew Davidson showed incredible improvement and placed 3rd overall in this event.
In the afternoon of day 1, the athletes completed a 40km circuit race near the town of Summerland. The riders rode nearly 15km (uphill) to reach the course. Ron Hayman (former 7-11 rider and former National Team Coach) selected the course for this event.
The loop was a "keremese type course". Ron said it reminded him a lot of professional races he had done in Europe. The course included 2 rough railway crossings and a severe "popper" of 10-12% grade in each lap. The course also featured a very steep downhill with a gravel covered right hand turn at the bottom. The pack handled this race very well despite the fear of the uphill each lap. The course emphasized skills in reading wind direction, efficient cornering and maximizing climbing ability. At the end of the stage, the standings remained the same - Eric Daggett and Laura Yoisten leading the field.
Day 2 was a recovery day. Each rider was assigned a different workout based on their current state of fatigue. Most athletes rode 20-30km on their own or in small groups.
The afternoon skills & drills workout was rained out. Athletes spent the afternoon viewing the video footage from the previous days stages. The feedback proved to be invaluable for many of the athletes.
Day 3 was planned as a race over much of Ironman Canada bicycle course (155km). After an early morning reconnaissance, I decided to postpone the event. In some of the high passes, the course was completely covered with hard packed snow. It was definitely not a good day for racing over the extensive route.
The alternate workout proved to be harder than the Ironman route itself. The course began in Okanagan Falls and featured a classic hill known locally as "The Wall". The 2km climb featuring switch back turns and some very steep grades. The course forced athletes to climb hard on each and every lap. The rest of the course was rolling. It winded and twisted its way along mountain lakes and meadows before returning for the descent of the wall - a "nerve racking" series of heavily sanded curves - ending in a 75km/hr straight downhill pitch.
The first lap saw an early solo break from Ryan McKenzie. The first climb up the Wall shattered the pack. After the summit - riders were left to combine in small groups and try to chase back to the main group. Each and every lap left more and more riders suffering alone or with small groups - desperately trying to limit their losses to the leaders.
Ryan McKenzie continued to extend his lead and eventually won by over 11 minutes - making him the new leader. Laura Yoisten opened up a 5 minute gap over the women's field and placed 8th overall amoung all racers - including junior men.
This day taught everyone a lot about bike racing. It forced athletes to lose the "pack mentality" and realize that even when dropped - they are still in the race and there are still people and groups to catch. The riders were pushing to their limit even when they were all alone. I saw many racers go well beyond their previous limits.
Many of the athletes agreed that the event was much harder than a "real race". For the athletes who completed this workout - many learned that they could dig a lot deeper than they ever thought possible. The total distance for the ride was 130km.
Day 4 was another recovery day. The weather had turned sour and several riders elected to simply take the day off to recover. It was a relaxing day and a chance to enjoy some of Penticton's local flavour - namely the Hog's Breath Coffee Company and the Bike Barn.
In the evening, the riders were treated to a tactics presentation hosted by Ron Hayman. Ron is one of the few people in Canada who has done it all. He has been an Olympian, a professional rider, a National team coach and a professional manager. His insights into racing tactics were phenomenal. The basic message Ron presented was "positive racing" - encouraging athletes to work very hard in racing and to stay away from techniques like "blocking" which Ron agreed is "very common in low level racing". Ron encouraged the athletes to race in a manner that uses sound strategy and initiates aggressive efforts, rather than always waiting for the pack to pick up the pace.
Day 5 opened with bright sunshine and dry roads. A perfect day to handle the Ironman course. The start times were handicapped so that slower riders were given a head start. The gap between the first group and the last group was nearly 1 hour.
The Ironman course winds its way down the Okanagan valley for 70km to the town of Osoyoos. At Osoyoos, the riders climb 12km up the Richter Pass. After the summit, the athletes descended for 5km before meeting 8 rolling climbs (1km each at 6%). The course then turned and took in some beautiful backroads leading into Keremeos.
After Keremeos it was 30km of climbing and false flats up to Yellow Lake. The pace up to Yellow Lake was intense with the pack splitting and re-grouping several times in the climb. Cam McKinnon, Spencer Atkinson, Phil Abbott, Mike Patton, Andrew Davidson drove the pace as the pitch began to steepen. Ryan McKenzie and Eric Daggett launched an attack 2km from the top. They managed to retain their lead in front of a hard charging pack of hungry juniors including Geoff Argue and Doug Jensen of Vancouver. Laura Yoisten and Jenny Trew reached the top of the climb together - the lone female representatives in the main field.
The main group did well, but could not make up the handicap lead of the first group. Lysanne Delogne, Tricia Milner, Rachel Boekel (Canmore) and Heather Parrott (Vancouver) maintained their lead into Penticton and finished ahead of the main field by 6 minutes.
The 155km course claimed two crash victims. Felix Haspel and Yvonne Potter were both involved in minor crashes that forced them into the sag wagon. Felix was able to continue after a 10km transfer. Yvonne Potter was unable to continue.
Day 6 saw the entire group experience high levels of fatigue from the previous week of training. The morning featured a street circuit in downtown Penticton. The course featured some of the course used in the Tour De Vine criterium the previous year. The emphasis for the day was on cornering. Athletes were encouraged to switch lines and experience the corners using many different approaches. The course allowed all of the athletes to practice their pack skills and greatly improve their cornering. The workout was a great ending to an excellent week of training.
The afternoon featured a small awards ceremony where each of the athletes was presented with a commemorative cycling vest designed by Tacara Garment Manufacturers of Penticton. Each of the athletes were given the opportunity to say what they thought of the camp and the efforts of their fellow riders. It was clear that each athlete had pushed their limits and gained a great degree of respect for their fellow competitors.
After several pictures and kind words, the camp officially concluded. Athletes spent the evening training as professional bowlers at the local alley. Kevin Bowser proved that his future is in cycling and not amoung the 10 pins.
It was a wonderful camp and I am very impressed with the depth of fitness and ability these riders displayed. Western Canada has an excellent crop of development riders who will be shooting for the National team in the near future. I look forward to seeing some of these riders on the podium at Nationals this summer.
Special thanks to all the riders from Vancouver (coached by Jeremy Storie) who attended this camp.
Olympic Oval - National Cycling Centre, Calgary