Sunday, May 22, 2011


I attended Jack and Ashley's Vernon Bike Camp this year. It was outstanding, with a complete bike focus this year compared to last year's camp that had tri stuff thrown in too. I really enjoyed it and learnt some great new bike handling skills - important stuff, like how to use your brakes and possibly save your own life! I'm not sure why, but I was always under the impression to avoid using your front brake to avoid an endo over your handlebars. So my love of all out downhill was quickly tempered the first day, as Vernon is not only hilly, but has some great cornering opportunities as well. Then I deduced the fact that Calgary has great rolling hills.... on straight roads that are perpendicular to each other.

Our rides were great - through scenic back roads of Vernon, some of them familiar from last year. Ashley spent a lot of time with me, mostly getting me to draft off him, b/c I was always lagging behind the group. He taught me some really fun stuff - I call it being in a "sling shot" off the back down a hill, but I don't know the proper term for it, or if there is one....
Anyway, as we're coming off a flat and into a downhill, I'm drafting off Ash and we're increasing the speed, then once we start the downhill I ride for all I'm worth and sling shot forward of Ash off the draft and out to the front, then theoretically, I allow the rest of the pace line to draft me and it's a team effort (which makes me feels good as I'm always in the draft to keep up). My Argon rocks in allowing me an aerodynamic position to fly as it's so small and close to the ground - like me (well maybe not the small part ;p).

This was working great until I was heading down a hill with Ash and encountered a sharp corner at the bottom, hence braking in order to survive (quite literally). I know the concept of high into a corner, lean into it, and out low to avoid centripetal force throwing you off the road. So my first mistake was coming in too fast and too low, then trying to slow down and stay on the road in the corner. Another mistake - trying to brake while in the corner - I started to skid (OMG I'm going to die today), let off brakes, pick up speed, brake, skid; whew I made it through. I also got a healthy scare; I'm pretty sure Ash heard my inappropriate braking (back brakes squealing). He did do a review with the group later in the ride. I would've asked anyway b/c I knew I didn't play that well.
So.... using front brakes to supplement the 30% braking force of back brakes, prior to entering a corner, is a good thing! I'm pretty sure that info will stick in my mind FOREVER.

Next day we had a recovery ride and a late pub lunch. Jack, Ash, and Alan plowed up to Predator Ridge in the late afternoon. There were no other takers, but we enjoyed a relaxing evening with a massage, swim, & hot tub.

The other fantastic addition to the bike camp this year was a massage therapist who also drove our support vehicle - Kelly Michael Schwab, RMT. He was outstanding and everyone made time for him at the end of the day to provide some much needed relief after a hard day's ride. I'm sure the feedback that Jack and Ashley got will make massage an inclusion in all future camps! Thanks Kelly.

Sat was our last big ride in Penticton. The group consensus was to take a new route rather than complete the entire Ironman Canada route. We started with an uphill climb and came around to Twin Lakes, then completed the Ironman course in reverse from their. Ash was again stuck with me, but I appreciated the company, as everyone else went UP ahead. I complete climbs, and don't freak out about them,-> spin your cadence, just not with the same power as the guys. Some day.... I was pushing my E3/4 watts the majority of the climb as Ash had his power meter and we weigh about the same. Then, what goes up, must come down!! YIPPEE!! (in a controlled way). Leanne Manlove also joined us again this year for our Sat ride. She used to be a Talisman coach with ETS and she coached me for my 1st Olympic distance tri. She now lives and coaches in Kelowna at Pinnacle Ahhh, what a great way to spend a week.

My conclusion at the end of camp - quit my job and ride my bike. Hmmm, what about the mortgage? I'll figure something out - next big event is that I want to ride my bike the length of India with Tour d'Afrique 2013. I figure I can wrangle this amount of time off compared to the 4 months to ride the length of Africa. But I'm going to do that someday too.

Now back to reality. That little break was just what I needed as I returned to work feeling much calmer. We've had a major change in how we deliver our services, which may look good on paper, but no matter how many changes you make, if you don't have enough bodies to do the work, nothing really changes.

On a nostalgic note, I sold my little yellow cannondale yesterday. It was bittersweet, as it was my first road bike and I rode it faithfully for 7 years. I think it's gone to a good home, one of the triclub members bought it for his daughter. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did.

'til next time - ciao, Cindy

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