Sunday, April 27, 2008

Bike Camp Report

This past weekend (Friday, Saturday, and today) I was at a Carmichael Training Systems beginner road skills bike camp. As the longest time in a triathlon is usually spent on the bike, the more comfortable I am in bike handling, the better. Plus I might also learn some tricks and tips to help the TNT folks. Friday morning I headed downtown to the CTS building with my bike and riding gear ready to learn...

Session 1: Coach Natalie, Kirk, Ryan and intern Rachel took care of us this weekend. There were 8 campers - a great student/coach ratio! We rode to a grassy patch of MVP along the dirt trail (yup, road bikes on the dirt trail) to get some handling skills under our belt. Starting, stopping with and without unclipping the pedals and such. Then attempt the water bottle pick-up from the ground while on the bike. I managed a few times but can still work on that one. Then we rode behind others and next to others, trying to get comfortable next to other riders, as is important while in a pace line. Then we worked on the "track stand." Staying clipped in while completely stopped for as long as possible. Took a few spills on this one, but that is why we were on the grass!

Back to CTS for some lunch from Panera and then a presentation on cornering to get ready for Session 2.

Session 2: Work on cornerning while descending at Garden of the Gods. Rode over to the park and then did a short loop starting at the trading post - up the hill, hang a left, down the couple curves and back around down to the trading post. I think I did that loop about 8 times! Then we did a bigger loop around the Garden - once as a group and once on our own. Then back to the CTS building to wrap up the day!

Session 1: Presentation on bike clothing, then presentation on various pace lines. After the pace line we got to practice inside walking. Then we rode over to a residential street where we had about a mile with minimal traffic to try to get the hang of these pace lines for real. Going uphill into the wind (and boy was it windy on Saturday!) definitely felt the benefit of a group more than going downhill with a tailwind. After we got somewhat familiar with these lines, we rode over to Mark Dabling road to use these skills on a longer stretch. And sure enough with that strong wind out of the north, we got to experience the benefit! Then a quick ride back south (downhill and tailwind) to get some lunch.

Lunch from Pita Pit (yum!) and a presentation on nutrition. I was familiar with most of the concepts and CTS is definitely a high carb proponent.

Session 2: The wind was still super strong and a bit chilly, but that won't stop us! we headed out to climb gold camp road. Nice 6% grade or so - fairly comfortable climb. The descent not so much. With that wind you get some good crosswinds coming down so I was a bit out of my comfort zone. Probably didn't go as fast as I could have - I am pretty cautious on windy and wind-y roads. Then back to CTS for a wrap-up. I had a power meter on my bike today so I got to check out my numbers with Coach Natalie. For what it's worth, up the hill I think I averaged about 160(?) watts and a 162bpm heart rate.

Legs are a bit tired, but not as bad as I expected. it was really cold this morning so we waited a bit to head out until it was a tad warmer. Then we had our final ride of about 2 hours. Over to Mesa Rd on the west side up to centennial (some "big" climbs here) then a brief descent over to W. Woodmen. A short potty break here at a park, then up the West Woodmen hill back to Centennial, over to Mesa and back to CTS. My legs were feeling it on the steep stuff! But in the flat/downhill parts my legs felt pretty good considering all the riding I've done in the last few days - probably about what I'd get in a week's time, probably even more! Back to CTS for a wrap-up bagel/coffee meal and a chance to chat with the CTS coaches. A review of today's power meter had me at 180ish watts and about 172ish on the climbs. Definitely a harder workout!

A good camp - I learned quite a bit and know I have a lot to work on. But I also have some places to ride (though I think I've been at all of them before) where I can focus on specific skills. The coaches were very knowledgeable and friendly so it was a comfortable environment to learn. We did get all the powerbars, powergels, powerbar endurance drink we wanted. They took care of us - made sure our bikes were ready to ride each day (though they did give me mine today with the rear brake open - glad I caught it before we headed out!) As with all camps, it wasn't perfect, but the negatives are minor compared to the positives. It was an enjoyable and educational weekend that went by too fast.


Jess said...

so like, this one bike camp....

Terry Odell said...

You've received the "Blogging with a Purpose" Award for your efforts in both training and fund raising.