I’ve spent the past four days riding in Penticton BC to kickstart my cycling fitness for the 2010 season. I’ve been outside a bit prior to this in Edmonton but this week is a great opportunity to kickstart the cycling for the season, hopefully giving me the fitness to make my way into the next 5 months of cycling able to really do effective work for the whole time. Usually the beginning of a season requires a bit of time to gradually build back the ability to do hard work on the bike, and log big miles. Hopefully this will accelerate that and allow me to move into some very long rides to continue building base fitness in the next few months.
We’ve got a group of ten cyclists from Alberta, a collection of clubs and a collection of skill levels, I find myself in a good spot amongst the crew, definitely fast enough to keep up and strong enough to not worry about completing, but lacking a few watts/kilogram compared to the other roadies meaning I really have to work hard on the climbs to keep up. What’s really great is that the camp is almost entirely climbing focused! What you can’t do in Edmonton you’d might as well do in excess while in Penticton.
Saturday commenced with a long rolling climb above Summerland and an assault on the Giant’s Head climb. It was my first time going totally anaerobic on the bike so far in 2010. I wouldn’t say it felt good, it actually felt really really hard, but it was good to get out there and feel like I had big power. Day 2 was the “climbing extravaganza” and we did the Carmi Road climb out of town, I completed it in 32 minutes after building effort across the climb and finishing very strong. That was followed up by a paceline up the Green Mountain Road. I started riding in the whipping seat and gradually moved past people as they fell off the pace. I was working hard at 160bpm and didn’t want to go any harder so never volunteered my help on the front into the wind. The guys up front were really drilling it and eventually the paceline got pretty jumpy as the pulls turned into attacks and I eventually rolled up to the front to try and set a steady pace and calm things down a bit. Ultimately they’d explode at that pace and I rode off the front after their successive implosions. The regroup included some heckling but I reminded them that it was their choice to ride harder than they were able to maintain the whole way, and knew that I’d have to do my share on the front for the rest of the week if I were to not drag my name through the mud too much. We continued up from the Apex junction another 20 minutes until the first switchback and then packed it in for the day, cruising down the hill at 50-60kph.
Monday we took an easy day, rolling out to Naramata through the vineyards and then stopping for some fantastic coffee, we then cruised out along Skaha for another hour of easy riding and called it a day on the bike, and headed over to the local yoga studio for a stretching session. Tuesday was a great ride, starting out on Eastside road and doing the McClean Creek climb. We then double pacelined it all the way into Oliver and then headed up into the White Lake valley and towards the radio observatory. The road was winding and pretty good pavement. I really enjoyed it and pulled on the front for 20 minutes at around 40kph with almost the full crew strung out in tow. What a beautiful day! The weather began to turn for the worse as we got a bit of snow for a while, it soon disappeared but we descended the back of Yellow Lake pass now rather damp and chilly. Following that we began the long ascent of the back of Green Mountain Road. Greg disappeared into the distance as Bruce and I summitted together and then descended like a freight-train through a snowstorm, then a hailstorm and finally a rainshower before being spat out into Penticton with 125kms under our belts, most of it seriously rolling or full on climbing.