Training Camp


I’m sure you’ve all heard about the pro teams holding training camps in the pre-season or riders using early season stage races to “ride themselves into shape”. In some ways, it seems counterintuitive that you can improve when riding so hard day after day. Don’t you just get dead tired? Although Jeff and I go to Santa Barbara most winters to ride and call it our “training camp”, this is the first year I really appreciated the concept.

On the first day, we did our typical warmup ride, which involves riding around an extremely hilly neighborhood of mansions overlooking the ocean. Two things became evident on that ride. #1 I’d overdressed and #2 I was out of shape. (I think working so hard due to #2 only served to exacerbate #1)

On day two, we jumped right into the dreaded “ridge ride”. From Roger’s new condo, you immediately climb through town to get to the base of the actual climb up Gibraltar. That means (for me) climbing for one and a half hours straight. Although sunny, it was extremely windy that day and got pretty cold as we went higher. Although you can’t tell in the photo, I was pretty delirious from cold and fatigue going across the top of the ridge and couldn’t even figure out how to get my sleeves zipped back onto my vest before the descent. (Thanks to Jeff for rescuing me!)

The good news is that by my fifth day of riding things had improved. We did a ride that starts with more flat than most routes around the area that then takes you out to some nice climbs. I felt the best on those climbs than I probably ever have. My technique has improved with more out of the saddle time and Roger and Jeff didn’t have to wait too long for me. This is when I realized that training camp had worked! (To celebrate we decided to torture ourselves by doing the Ridge Ride a second time the following day.)

Over the 8 days, Jeff rode just shy of 300 miles and I rode over 200 (over 6 days because I am sane and took 2 days off). Those totals are pretty impressive considering the terrain around there. As usual, our trip also included lots of good food and nice walks in the sun. This time we even got to check out the local racing scene. We saw the end of the women’s race and all of the men’s Pro-1-2 at the Mothballs Criterium. It’s a flat but, on that day, very windy course in an office park. It wouldn’t suit either of us, but was fun to watch. And of course being reunited with my SL4 was exciting. Hopefully it will make its way out here soon!

Danger in paradise
Delirious on the Ridge
Criterium Race
My Best Day
Ridge Ride take 2 with Jeff’s brother Roger

Type of Bike: 
Road Bike
Type of Cycling: 
Vacation or Tourism route
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