Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fenner's World Solo Champs Training Camp

This week saw me down in the picturesque Kangaroo Valley for the FTP WSC Training Camp - with a week of big rides, an awesome bunch of guys and more fart jokes then I could ever have hoped for.

Over the six (6) days we cycled (road & xc) over 500km, ascended 7000 vert metres - and for those with power stats in mind - scored 1530 TSS in rides.  

The venue for this week was at the Twin Falls Bush Cottages, at Fitzroy Falls. Perched up against the bush land, it not just bordered on water falls and national park - but also 5km of xc single track - which will be used in an upcoming state XC round!

Not surprisingly, this place is owned by a cycling family - as in the well known former pro cyclist Brad McGee.

The week began with about 15 guys all pinging to finish their volume blocks off before entering the last three (3) weeks of taper before the Worlds. Although, not everyone there was prepping for the Worlds - including young Ben Henderson who was just warming up his legs for the start of his XC (World Cup) training season, and Scotty who was just looking to break a few of us on the roads.

Fenner has been talking up all the rides over the past few months, and everyone was prepared for a solid workout.

Day 1 was talked of as a quick drop into the Valley, out to Ettrema dam and back up Barrengarry Mtn for a 20 min FTP session. 80km and 1500 vert metres was a pretty good kick in the pants for a warm up ride.  Barrendarry goes from 66m to 630m in just 7km.  The group quickly spread out on this ascent - with Scotty and Hendo smashing it out in front. Young Taylor put on a good show to get in a 25 min climb, but I don’t think he was really thinking about the rest of the week to come - the pain on his face the following days said it all.  

As for me, I came up in 26 mins, putting out a norm power of 335 watts. I felt this was a little low - but I guess not too bad after 70km of rding.

Kudos to Richard for riding back from Ettrema with his foot and pedal taped to the crank! He’d busted a pedal on the way down and the trusty gaff tape was what got him back.

Day 2 was the highly talked about “Epic XC” ride. None of us slept too well the night before, and with an 8am chilly start it was going to be a tough day. The day started with a wicked descent (Cannonball) into the Valley - big steep switch backs down the mountain side - of which you really would not want to over shoot.

The ride then took us out again through the Ettrema area, and looped back for some amazing Barengarry single track. The rock work was incredible - and the single track was literally on a cliffs edge!

This ride had a few nice long climbs in it, but the final climb was the good one - Meryla Pass. 500 vert metres in 10km of fireroad. I made sure I took in a guarana filled Torq Gel at the bottom, and it definitely got me going. Hendo and Fenner took off like scalded cats, and I did not see them until the top. Blankenstein also took off with his pants on fire, but was looking pretty stuffed when I passed him about half way up. Scotty was the only other one in front, and after I reached him we just chatted for the remainder of the climb.

The prize of the day had to go to Blankenstein - who took out one (1) Torq bar and (1) Torq gel for the day - a 6 hr elapsed time, 96k m, 2000 vert meter xc ride! “Fenz, can I borrow one of your gels ... I’ll give it back later”!  If this boy eats right it will be unstoppable!

Day 3 was a wet recovery ride - not much to say except wet and McAvoy and I just went off the front to get home and dry as quick as possible.

Day 4 was called the “Tour of the Highlands”. Not as much vertical today (1840m), but a nice long (140km) road ride out to Mittagong and Bowral. Fenz had to bail shortly into the ride with a head cold, so the two groups were joined which made for some chaos.

Much fun was had with Scotty, McAvoy, Blankenstein and Mike up the front - enjoying some good attacks on both the flats and up the hills - and missing pretty much every turn. McAvoy, Blankenstein, Mike and I opted to take the long route back to get in a few more kms - which just turned into a smash-vest. One (1) minute peaks over 500 watts attacks came aplenty. Every time someone went for a bottle or pulled off the front the hammer would go down.  Any thought of a rotating pace line was smashed with Blankenstein rotating up at 600 watts!

Day 5 was back on the road bike for a “Tour of the Mountains” - four (4) x 20-30 min climbs. 2500 vertical metres in 104km. McAvoy and I headed out early and put the hammer down early. Pulling 500 watts out of the gate. We figured we would be seen as the rabbits and wanted to get a good buffer from the rest. Turns out we did one of the loops in the wrong direction, so we never did get caught.

The first two (2) climbs were not so bad, but the Cambewarra climb was never ending and steep. McAvoy has his pain face on and my legs were feeling pretty spent by the top.  Riding back towards Barrengarry pushing 300+ watts into a huge head wind was really pushing the legs. It was sure good to get to the top of Barrengarry and get the legs into the pool.

Day 6 was just a leisurely xc ride in Meryla Forest - the legs were definitely tired and grateful for a lower tempo and limited climbing.

Aside from the riding, the camp was an opportunity for Fenner (and others) to impart their knowledge about prep, nutrition, training and how to race the Worlds. Way too much to write down here ...

All up, a really good week on the bike - and lots of new friends found.

A big thanks to Mark and Sally Fenner for looking after us, and Dean from Torq for supplying us with his excellent Torq nutrition products.

Thanks to Jason, Kevin, Arran and Mike for being good room mates and sharing a very overloaded bathroom!

Thanks to Bike Superstore for getting the Epic and Tarmac in shape for the week ... and my fingers, toes, legs, arms and eyes are all crossed hoping my new Scott Sparc RC arrives in time.

Just three (3) weeks now until the World Solo Champs ... time for an afternoon nap!