Training Camp

I just got back from a long weekend of trying to ride and act like a roadie. For me, this is a fairly unnatural but important act that starts the process of converting the long hours of low-to-moderate intensity base training into some race-ready fitness. In my home near Washington DC, the DC Velo racing team invited me to train with them for 4 days of riding in the northern virginia mountains near the Wintergreen Resort.

The train is pulling out of the station... better put the camera away!

It was a big group of about 35 riders with 5 or so CAT-1 roadies that were dictating the pace. It seems every spring, I have to relearn where to position myself in such a large group when the intensity forces me near (and sometimes beyond) my anaerobic threshold. Too near the front and you’re bound to have to spend too much time on the front, exposing yourself to the wind.   Too far back, and you’re subject to excessive accordion or yo-yo effect eventually popping your off-the-back. I love the speeds that a large strong group can maintain as well as the spontaneous single and double rotating pace-lines that form when the terrain dictates.

We road 332 miles with over 31,000 feet of climbing over a gorgeous extended spring weekend. If you want to try your own camp of torture and can make it to Wintergreen, here’s the Garmin data for each day: (1, 2, 3, 4). With all that climbing, there was loads of fun fast descending too. Caution was the operative word on the blind corners due to the ever-present surprise residual road sand left over from the 80+ inches of snow this year. Descending on a road bike, with it’s inferior brakes and tires, requires keen attention.  In the beginning I kept longing for the power and modulation of a pair of SRAM XX hydraulics. Combined with a bit more rubber on the tarmac, they would likely inspire more confidence… As the weekend progressed, the cloud of fear was gradually replaced with a repeatable algorithm.  As on the mountain bike, I find it instructional and adrenalizing to ride behind competent descenders.

Big shout out to DC Velo for letting me play in their sandbox for awhile.  I’m pretty tired here today at my desk the end of my work day…  but my head is still buzzing with endorphins from the gorgeous scenery and exhausting efforts. I can’t wait to do it again… only in the woods on a Superfly!

Thanks for reading.

Team DC Velo 2010

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