Sunday, 17 March 2013

Training camp blog.

To kick off the 2013 season with PYcycling, Paul Cordes and Yolande Speedy organised a 7 day endurance training camp based at Matthys Beukes’ farm in Oudtshoorn. The crew consisted of Paul, Yolande, Arno Du Toit, Marcel Marais, Neville and Patsey Ackermann, Edwil O Niel and myself.
We decided to get the 12 hour trip done in one go, and left Pretoria at about 4:30am on the 27th of December. The ride was long, accentuated by my constant suffering from TB (Tiny Bladder) luckily the company was good, Paul was in his cowboy hat and him and Yolande played some arb wildlife spotting game that I still don’t understand! Entertaining none the less!

For the training camp, I would be riding two Cotics: a Cotic X cyclocross bike for the road, and a Cotic Rocket trail bike for mountain biking.
We started each day’s training at 5:30 to avoid the worst of the heat and allow for recovery time.

   Day  1: 28th December
Our legs were not feeling too fresh having done a long ride the day prior to a long day’s travelling, so we kept it easy, 3 hours out and back. In the distance loomed Swartburg Pass, a massive mountain shrouded in clouds. It reminded me of the road to Mordor. That’s where we would be training hills the next day, gasp!

The hours after the ride was spent chilling, eating, swimming, sleeping and relaxing. The sun sets really late in Oudtshoorn which allowed us to go for a “trail jam” session at about 5:30pm. Matthys has built an amazing xc course around the property which we played around on for about an hour session before dinner which worked up a good appetite! This trail jam session was my first mtb ride since I broke my hand at Burg n Bush. It was also the first time riding the 26” duel sus Cotic Rocket, I fell in the first 50m. My skills were sketchy but I’d get the hang of it and it felt great to be back on the trails again!!

Day 2: Swartburg Pass
We took an easy ride up to the base of the pass and kept a steady tempo heart rate to the top. Although it was long and pretty painful, I managed to keep a good, steady heart rate up both sides and I can say that I enjoyed the challenge and views!

Day 3: Robertson Pass
It was Yolande’s birthday, to celebrate we rode up and over Robertson Pass on the road, we had breakfast at the bottom and back again. The weather was great, with the pass was covered in mist which made for a pleasant ride. The tough part came in the last 20km where we did a 20 km individual time trial. Most of the TT was downhill, so it was fast. I enjoyed the speed and getting my heart rate up and I felt strong! This was one of my favourite days but I was tired and looking forward to the rest day. The afternoon was spent legs up, napping  and chilling. I skipped the trail jam that afternoon as I am suffering an Achilles tendon injury and didn’t want to put more strain on it. That evening was spent at a restaurant called Pal Jas where we ate Ostrich and drank red wine, chatting and laughing and reflecting on the past few days and the days to come.

Day 4: Rest day (New Year’s eve)
A well-deserved rest day for us all entailed 0 riding, just rest and recovery. It was New Year’s eve and Marcel was sick, Edwil had left and the others opted to sleep, which was definitely the wise decision! Arno and I hit the town, which was rather disappointing as there were only a hand full of people in each of the places we went to, dodgy characters at that! Never the less, we had fun but with only an hour sleep, 5 hours of riding the next day would be interesting.

Day 5: Base ride (New Year’s day)
Unlike the previous days which were spent in sweltering heat, today was cool and drizzly which was a relief. The terrain was undulating I enjoyed the ride. I spent the rest of the day catching up the lost sleep from the previous evening. When I woke up it was trail jam time! This time I felt more comfortable on the bike, I came off once pretty hard but otherwise it was great fun!

Day 6: Swartburg suffer fest (Paul’s birthday)
Today was by far the hardest day of the training camp for me, and one of the toughest days on the bike I have had! Paul’s birthday present to himself and us was a ride up Swartburg Pass, down the other side, then up for half an hour, down, and up again. My body was fatigued and Achilles tendon aching. I was far off the pace and my heart rate was 10% - 15% lower than it was the first time we did the pass. I pushed through, but man was I glad when it was done and I was in the pool! The rest of the day was spent in a state of near comatose. I felt better after resting and we celebrated Paul’s birthday in a more conventional manner at a great restaurant in town. The pain was forgotten as another awesome evening with excellent company was had.

Day 7: Steady State intervals and pace line.
The pain was remembered. Four 5 minute intervals on an uphill and a pace line back to the farm. We could all feel the past few days in our legs. The intervals were hard but good and I was surprised to see I was getting stronger with each interval! The pace line was a different story, I had never done one before, and clearly have a lot to learn.
Thanks to Cycleops, we were able to record each day of riding and analyse our data accurately every day. Paul and Yolande for organising the camp. Matt De Jongh from Cotic for giving me the Cyclocross and Rocket to ride. Matthys Beukes and family for accommodation and trail jam sessions. Paul, Yolande, Neville, Patsey, Arno, Marcel and Edwil for great company, awesome rides and fun times!
I am really happy with the last training block that Paul has put us through; it is exciting to start the 2013 season strong with a solid base! I am looking forward to riding with PYcycling for team a[s]g  Pinarello. I think the team is strong and plenty of successful races and mountain biking adventures are to be had!

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