I went home for the Holidays after my first November and December camp in Tucson. Then for January I changed my winter training venue for the first time in 3 seasons and flew down to Los Angeles. I spent the months of January and February in Oxnard and got to explore lots of great roads in the Santa Monica’s, around Ojai and up in the Santa Barbara area. I had another first when I flew home for a week off after my first training block, which was really nice to get the chance to see all my family for a bit. I think that will become a feature in my future plans for training camps.
California was beautiful and I rode for nearly 3 weeks before having to repeat a ride, save for the coffee rides to Palermo in Ventura that were a twice weekly feature. I’ve always been a big fan of group rides to supplement intervals but without anything like the Shootout around I found myself doing structured workouts far more often this Winter than in the past when I had two of the hardest group rides around to go to every week.
It was really different training more on my own. Not getting to measure up to the other guys every week meant leaning more on my power meter to be able to gauge the progress I was or wasn’t making. We were fortunate enough to be able to attend two races while in Cali one being the Santa Barbara Country Road Race and the other being the UCLA Road Race. With some good team work Silber came away with the win at both which always makes the racing even more fun.
Our rental in Oxnard was for two months and with March approaching I was getting a little tired of the 45min commute to the good riding and also a little homesick for Tucson. Alex, Conor and I decided that at the end of the month rather than finding a new place in Oxnard we’d rent a van and make the day trip over to Tucson for the month of March to get in some more intensity and then cap off our preseason training with the Tucson Bicycle Classic before starting the racing calendar with our respective teams.
I rented a Dodge Caravan Stow and Go, my new dream car and we packed up our 5 bikes and what could pass for all our belongings and made for Arizona.
I was so happy to make it back to Tucson for my final 2016 build up. The community here is incredible and it was something that is easy to take for granted being from Ottawa (also having a great community at home) until you go somewhere else where you are the only people in the area who ride.
The last push before team camp was great catching up with friends out on rides, stopping for coffees at Stella Java and Le Buzz, testing out the legs on Mt Lemmon, even getting up at 5am isn’t bad when you know you have the Shootout to get to by 7:00.
A couple days before we left Tucson we finished up racing the Tucson Bicycle Classic (TBC). Alex took the top step in the Time Trial and with a full squad of Jelly Belly’s it was going to be a very hard weekend of riding for us. They had the numbers and oh man did they make use of them loading up the break with 6 of 9 on the road race and stacking the GC 1-6 going into today’s circuit race. We tried to take a stab at the stage today, I went in an early break with Travis from H&R and Conor from Ride with Rendall but after 4 laps the Jelly Belly TTT mopped us up and that was that. Alex took a brave dig on the final time up the climb but couldn’t hold them off alone and it came down to a sprint. It was a fun weekend of racing before we got back together with the team and started racing with the boys again.
My Winter by the numbers
Totals: 470 hrs | 13,851 km | 155,964 m of climbing!
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