A couple of weeks ago, Austin Cycle Camp announced free training sessions each Saturday in November. I had participated in their Bike To the Bash ride back in September, which was a lot of fun. One of my ride buddies had done one of their group camps and spoke highly of them, so I signed myself up for their session starting at Bicycle Sportshop’s Parmer location. It’s only 5 miles from my house so I decided to ride there. There was quite a turnout, which was great to see.
Today’s plan included crit circuits and cornering. Trey started out our group on the crit circuit, which was about a 1.5 mile loop that included a fairly fast down wind leg as well as a slight incline on the back side that finished into the wind with an incline right as we were turning into the wind. Trey wanted us to increase our speed for each of the 4 laps. I felt that I was doing ok for the first 3 laps. I had to summon my inner Jens to push through that last lap at an even higher speed. I was really surprised how my legs burned along that slight incline and really had to dig deep on the home stretch to the finish. I was sure my last lap was slower than the 3rd lap, but checking my lap averages when I got home on my computer, I managed to eek out a .2 Mph average improvement in that last lap. I didn’t quite make the 22 Mph target, but got pretty darn close.
Next up, Dave had us working on cornering. He carefully explained what he wanted us to focus on and how to attack the corners in a way that would allow us to really use the momentum of the bike to shoot out of a turn at speed. We started with a smaller circuit gradually increasing our speed. I noticed I was still a bit spooked by my crash back at the end of August, which caused me to be really tense and wobbly into the turns. After some additional coaching tips from Dave, he had us go again, working on technique and allowing the bike to take us through each turn. We finished up with a 3 lap sprint where we could only pass riders along the straight aways. I ended up in the lead group, so I felt pretty good about my effort and turns. This will really help my confidence in turns at speed, which is something I’ve shied away from ever since my crash.
We had a pretty fast ride back to the bike shop where we started. I pushed hard to further extend my workout. I felt exhilarated when we arrived back at the shop. It’s been a frustrating summer for me trying to recover from hernia surgery in July and my crash at the end of August. Somehow I still managed to get in over 3000 miles since April so I’m ahead of where I was last year at this time. Training sessions like these will only make me better. I chatted briefly with Trey, Dave and Lucy after the ride. I’d been thinking about racing next year in the Driveway Series so we talked about that for a bit. They suggested participating in some of the beginner clinics offered on Wednesday evenings, so I’m going to check them out. As we get closer to the 2011 Driveway Series, I’ll probably sign myself up for some coaching from Austin Cycle Camp. In the mean time, I have some things to work on.
There’s still two free training sessions left this month, the next one starting at the Veloway and the last one back up north. Dave told me they would be working on hill climbing, which is an area I’ve been trying to improve upon this year. While I’ve improved my conditioning quite a bit, I’m really looking forward to these next two sessions. If you’re looking for more training, they’ve got a great deal going right now: $149 for unlimited group sessions over 4 weeks right before Christmas (you’ll need to sign up here before November 20, 2010). I’d also check out their destination rides. The next one is going to Gruene on November 19th. Trey, Dave and Lucy are lots of fun and they will be riding right there with you so it’s like having a personal trainer with you on your bike.