In the wise words of my coach, biking is hard, try harder. This pretty much sums up the last couple of months of pre-race season perpetrations.
For the past two years I have juggled training full-time and working full-time and this off-season was no different. However, over these past two years I have been able to refine my training to stay hungry and strike some sort of a work bike balance. To be honest, it is still a work in progress. Managing your professional development, training, and still carving out some kind of a life after all of that can be challenging. So what does my off-season look like? My off-season is one part gym, one part Burnaby Velodrome, two parts late night/early morning dark and raining riding and oh yeah, everyone’s favorite trainer workouts. However, with the right amount of good coffee and great training partners, the off-seasons are actually quite fun. When it comes to off-season, variety is the spice of life. My coach keeps it interesting and varied so I can have fun, build and maintain fitness and stay hungry for race season. To be 100% honest, I wouldn’t do this if is wasn’t fun. I love racing bikes and I actually love winter training – in a weird way.
What’s with the Drome?
The road is my calling and at this time in my life I have no interest in racing track at a high level. Nevertheless, the Burnaby Velodrome makes some sweet off-season training. They have a pretty aggressive structured workout and you get to go around in little tiny circles spinning like a million RPM. The “million RMP” is one reason why I am there. The velodrome is a great way to work on cadence, bike handling, and race tactics - you want to be a smart racer and the velodrome is a great place to hone your skills. A typical velodrome workout day for me is the following: once you get off work quickly change out of your office attire, jump on your winter bike, and spin from downtown Vancouver to the Burnaby Velodrome, do the work out (1.5hrs) and spin back home. The average night is leave work at 5:00pm get home around 9:30 pm.
Being Wise with Time
The typical velodrome night is a great example of how being not only efficient but effective with your time is critical. I do a lot of meal prep, usually 2-3 hours on a Saturday or Sunday night. I find that having lots of fruit, veggies all ready to go is the best way to fuel yourself with healthy food and save time during the week days. With meal prep done once prior to the week nights, evenings like the velodrome become a bit easier. When you get home you know exactly what you are eating, it is ready to go right when you get home, and your lunch is also ready to go for the next day at work.
It’s all in the Job
A little about what I do. May people ask me why not quit my job move to California and ride all the time. To be honest, sometimes I ask myself this same question. Well I am sure the time for this will come eventually, but for now I am really happy that I can balance my career, a career that I am very a passionate about, with training. I do not have enough words for how lucky I am to have an office that supports my cycling endeavors. I work for a local architectural firm, Perkins+Will. They are an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and enhance communities. There is an interesting synergy of passions here, my colleagues have an immense passion for the design and construction of buildings, a passion that I share. My colleagues also have an awesome passion for life. The senior management at the firm have time and time again committed to me that they are here to support me both professionally and on the bike. This allows me flexibility during the race season to take time some off. With this commitment from the firm, I have the freedom to grow professionally while growing as an athlete each year.
Keep it Mighty
One indispensable part of my off-season training is the Mighty Ride. For those of you who don’t know, the Mighty Ride is a structured Sunday ride that is a loop around Richmond with a couple Stanley Park laps added on. The distance is approximately 100km. This ride allows you to get in base kilometers and some pretty hard efforts at the same time. The Mighty Ride is a mix of people who are new on the bike and Cat 1-2 men and women. This ride is a great place to learn and an amazing place to start. The Mighty Ride is actually where I first got exposed to racing. I am happy that I can give back to the new riders who show up, a little encouragement goes a long way – I know it did my first year. Rain or shine the Mighty Ride goes, no exceptions. This in turn keeps you riding regardless of the weather, which in Vancouver can be challenging.
No Time for A California training camp... going to Lillooet
Another huge highlight of my off-season is the winter training camp I attend in Lillooet. Yes Lillooet. For those of you who are not familiar with the destination city of Lillooet ;), Lillooet is about three hours north of Whistler. It is cold, like really cold by Vancouver standards. The average temp is -5ish. However, what Lillooet has that Vancouver doesn’t is kilometers and kilometers of dry roads. The town itself is typical small town BC, but the roads and rides are amazingly rugged and beautiful. We usually go to Lillooet at the end of February just before local spring series racing. This trip is great - new roads, new climbs and no more raining Richmond loops.
Necessary Off-Season Equipment
One piece of off-season equipment I could not do without is a bright rechargeable light. When you are working regular office hours you have got to get in your road riding either pre- or post-work. In the Vancouver winter that means riding in the dark, and usually in the rain. So that said, a great light and some Gore-Tex outerwear is a must! Ohh yeah, and fenders fenders fenders, lots of long fenders; and coffee, lots and lots of coffee =) ! Now that the off-season struggle is coming to an end, I am excited for the coming race season. I just got my new amazing Trek Emonda race bike and boy does that bike feel good after a long, cold, and dark winter on my tank of a training bike.
A shout out and a huge thanks to all our Trek Red Truck supporters you guys keep me pumped and I cannot wait for another race season!