TR Super Poster
Joined: 29 Jan 2004
Location: Bowen Island/Vancouver, BC
|Posted: Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:11 am Post subject: 2010 TransRockies Training Wrap Up
|In Medieval religion it was the deathbed conversion by the dying man not wanting to take a chance that there really was a God, and he’d been “backing the wrong horse”. These days it is the regret we have of the things we should have done, and the people we should have thanked. But all too often we feel that we’ve waited too long and now it is embarrassing to speak up for it has been too long. Well, I am embarrassed, but I am speaking up.
About a year ago I asked Aaron McConnell if he could connect me with a trainer and I’d write about it for the TR website. Aaron contacted Cory Fagan of TCR (http://www.tcrsportlab.com/) and Cory agreed to attempt to whip me into shape for the 2010 TransRockies.
I started my training with Cory with a healthy, or perhaps, unhealthy degree of skepticism. I’d been riding long cross country races for seven years, I’d already completed six TransRockies, and I really thought that I was on the wrong side of fifty to expect to see much improvement in my performance. In addition, I was in Vancouver and Cory was in Calgary. We’d never meet and we would not meet face-to-face before the TransRockies.
How wrong was I? Well just about 100%.
Cory provided a structured training programme that was tailored to my age, goals, and weaknesses. The biggest change was that I rode less than in previous years and injected some needed balance into my riding. I had light and heavy weeks, upper body workouts, some time trials to gauge performance improvement, and a taper towards the race.
The first evidence of improvement in a cross-country race was at the Gearjammer in July. I knocked 12 minutes off my time (The overall winner was only 2 minutes faster) and I also improved from 10th out of 13 to 11th out of 19 in my age group. Considering that this race is takes place on the trails that are fairly technical, and thus not really my strong suit, I was quite pleased.
As the TransRockies is a two-person race my speed would not be the only factor in how I finished. Jim (My TR partner since 2004) and I are reasonably well matched and after doing six TransRockies we both had a pretty good idea of how we each performed in the conditions we’d face. In the past races I tended to be faster up and Jim tended to be faster down. This was our first time in the 100+ category. I’d raced with the “old boys” a couple of times before. In 2006, my partner and I were 9th out of 13 teams and in 2007 we were 8th out of 21 teams. For this year my goal, perhaps somewhat audacious, was one day on the podium.
Of the nine teams in category we thought that there would be two or three ones that were quite competitive and Jim and I hoped to be able to pull of a good day and squeeze onto the podium once. Jim and I managed three 2nd, one 3rd, and three 4th place finishes. We were holding 2nd overall until the cold wet misery of day 6, but despite coming in 4th on the days 6 and 7 we managed to hold onto 3rd place overall.
After the TransRockies the last big cross country race of the season around Vancouver is the Cheakamus Challenge. This is a point-to-point epic from Squamish to Whistler. Lots of climbing, some technical single-track, and a few sections of pavement. This year I managed to knock 15 minutes off my time (The overall winner was 5 minutes faster.) My position in my category was not quite as good, from 5th out of 17 to 7th out of 19. But the time improvement was a very pleasant surprise.
So, what changes did I see as a result of Cory’s training programme? The upper body work really helped on the technical sections. Being able to lift the wheel at the end of a long day made riding the technical sections cleanly so much easier. (And being able to ride those sections rather than getting off and walking them is so much faster.) Having some structure and taper in my riding, especially towards the start of the TransRockies, meant that I was starting the race both fit and rested.
I would recommend Cory and his team at TCR (http://www.tcrsportlab.com/) to anyone who is contemplating a major event like the TR. As a TR3 finisher, he understands first-hand the commitment required and the obstacles that you are going to face. What more could you ask for from a coach?