Theme: Shake It Off

Hello and welcome to another instalment of The Cyclery – Opus. Today you will be learning about the riders, the coaches and all the fun that was had at Team Camp 2015.

Where: Seneca, South Carolina

When: March 2015

Who:

11053138_10152605837251829_7176228994251094378_o (1)Left to right: Annie Foreman-Mackey, me, Tara Whitten, Emily Flynn, Ariane Bonhomme, Katherine Maine and Amélie Bruneau.

I was fortunate enough to get there a few days earlier with a couple other from the team to get some rides in before everyone else arrived. I was slightly nervous about the state of my fitness given that winter has been very winter-y in New Brunswick and that some of the ladies have had time to spend in warmer climates, training.

Day 1 is always about each of us getting to know the other and also spinning our legs to get some muscle memory back. We rode around, chatted, spun the legs and then misunderstood Kris Westwood’s suggestion for an extra hour and a half ride as an extra 20km. So that was a longer day than planned, but sunny and beautiful and lovely and sunny…. I think I’ve been in winter too long!!

One of the cool aspects about this camp was that one of our coaches, Jenny Trew, was able to ride with us!    We also were joined by a few Cyclery riders and our other coach, Chris Reid!

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Day 2 was the majestic White Water Falls climb. This is where we practiced heading up the hill in a team time trial type of effort. We split into two teams. Team one heads up the climb while team two wait. Then team two kicks it into high gear and chases after team one. First word: SUFFER. Second word: challenge. Third word: FUN!

This is a long-ish climb. Up and down and up and down and then UP. For about 15k. Half the group took a shorter course and the other half (I was in that half) kept climbing up. This took us up through some really beautiful views of valleys and mountains and many twisty turny roads. On this day, the longer riding group hit up three different states – South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. I think it was my first time in Georgia too.

I’d like to say that I drink pop the most during cycling season. If you have ever ridden about 100+km on a hot day, drinking a half-Coke half-water really helps. Especially paired with Fruit2 bars. All in all, 5 hours later, we ended up back at our house and ate lots and lots of food!

Day 3 was a “skills” day. A shorter distance day, but we practiced our echelon skills and our lead out skills.

DCIM100GOPROThere was also an unexpected stop for road construction which resulted in a nice photo of us.

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This was also Tara’s last ride with us for the week as she headed down to Rio for some riding in much much warmer climates. Therefore, we hit up the local Mellow Mushroom pizza place and chowed down on four delicious pizzas!

Quatrième jour had us rolling up Caesar’s Head (twice). It’s about a 10km ascent of switchback climbing with a section or two for recovery, also known as some flats/downhills. We were challenged to climb the first time at time trial pace i.e. gun it up the hill for all you’re worth.

Upon further discussion we named the switchback that Ben face-planted last year, Ben’s Bend. Appropriate, eh?

What did we get from this day? This team is in a really great place. We all are at a higher level than last year. A great way to start, even before racing season.

Also what happens when you don’t wear sunscreen and you’ve been hibernating in 300+cm of snow on the East Coast? Sunburnt legs, that’s what. Learned my lesson and wore sunscreen after that!

4 of us rode all the way home from Caesar’s Head totalling up 140km. These long rides are really really great for a couple of reasons. The main reason is because of my Opus Vivace 4.0. This bike is light, but with a great stiffness. Responsive and very pretty too!

Hard to believe, but we were already halfway through the camp and finally got our first rainy and somewhat chilly day. Decidedly, this would be a short rest/recovery ride with a few fun skills. So we sang “If you’re happy and you know it”, pushed each other up some hills, and other little games that kept us happy and warm.

Day 6 and it was the day of Sassafras. This is the highest peak in South Carolina with such impeccably stunning views. No, it’s not Kilimanjaro, and no it’s not the Pyrenées, but its a climb and wonderful. Happily, I was able to complete it faster than last year (I guess I’m not getting slower).

IMG_0838 Emily’s favourite part is the descending and there’s lots of that after you’ve climbed up this hill. She and Vince had a nice little descending battle of who could cut corners the best. I was way too far back to know what happened, but I did hear that they enjoyed the little competition.

We then stop at a little gas station to re-fuel before heading back to the main base. It’s a long day, but compared to last year, we rocked the socks off of it. A faster ride with almost the same distance.

Annie, Emily, Stephen Keeping and I eceheloned our way back home. It was a fun sort of ecehelon because we had to cross over a rumble strip each time.

Finalement, our last day of riding. It was a repeat of day 3, but with a little higher effort. 3 hard 10 minute echelon sets with lead outs in between these. The last set was especially fast and ended in many of us just basically blowing up (not literally, just metaphorically). The day was perfect in terms of weather. Sunny, warm and little wind. A great final day on the saddle.

The season is looking to be off to a good start with a cohesive strong team. I’m excited to be riding with The Cyclery – Opus this year and to see how hard we will work together.

I’m eternally thankful for Jenny Trew and Chris Reid (and Camden) for putting so much time and effort into this team. They are the brains and the braun and the encouragement. Vince Caceres, shop owner extraordinaire, of The Cyclery has made us look so good in Biemme kits, wearing Giro shoes and gloves, Smith Optics glasses and riding the magnificent Opus Vivace!

Ladies, let’s rev our engines and prepare for a fantastic, fun and exciting season of racing our bicycles!

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In the meantime, eat, sleep and keep on pedalling!

p.s. Annie, Amélie, Ariane and I were blessed with free waffles at The Waffle House when Mama Dee (our server) told us that someone had paid for our meal. 🙂

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