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One Last Trip to the Panhandle
9th Feb 2017Posted in: Blog, Featured Posts 0
One Last Trip to the Panhandle

After my fourth and final Winter Break training trip with Beta Cycling, I fall back on a quip we may all be familiar with: “that was the most fun I never want to have again.” It was a week of exhausting, but rewarding training; Brotherhood and team-building; eating, and more eating; and, Super Smash Brothers.

Per tradition, we drove through the night January 1 to give us six days of training, before taking off the night of January 7.

The team logged 450 miles this year – nearly 100 more than last year. It’s hard to say what caused the increase in productivity, but there may be something to say about our rental lacking WiFi.

Those training included veterans John Hyndman (senior), Jack McNamara (junior), and me, and we enjoyed bringing Colten Renier (sophomore), JJ Jaggard (sophomore), and Sam Hagedorn (freshman). Alumni Kyle Knight (’16) and AJ Sood (’16) joined to help plan training, cook meals, and run errands; and, we were happy to have them join us on a few rides. We owe them an enormous thanks for sacrificing their breaks to help our team. The commitment to and love for the Beta Cycling program was acutely felt by them joining us.

Our schedule and commentary surrounding workouts appears below:

Monday

Workout: 2 hours; 35 miles; shake-out

We arrived at our Airbnb in the early morning, but we wouldn’t have access to it for a few hours. After changing into kits in the car, we hopped on the bikes to spin for a light 2 hours, while AJ and Kyle took Cooper for a walk. Our goal was to open our legs, and we succeeded.

All smiles after the first ride

Because we missed McDonald’s breakfast on the drive-in, we devoured food upon our return home. The rest of the day was spent settling into the place, making plans for the week, and figuring out which used video game store in PCB would sell AV chords for a Nintendo 64 (which we forgot at home).

Tuesday

Workout: 4.5 hours; 80 miles; mostly Z2, small efforts in Z3

Tuesday’s workout was a light, steady aerobic workout intended to get us focused on training for the week. John and I worked to help the newer riders understand their bodies, in terms of interpreting their heart rates and making sense of power output without a power meter. We stuck to most of the roads with which we were familiar: grey or dark-red pavement, hordes of tall trees separated by spans of arid landscape, road shoulders favored over bike lines, and few, if any, cars or pedestrians.

Upon returning home, we invested time into stretching, rolling our legs out, and hitting the ice baths if necessary. It was the right way to set the tone for the weekend.

Wednesday

Workout: 5.5 hours; 102 miles; mostly Z2, 10 sign sprints mixed-in

We wanted to test our legs (and break the boredom of the long ride) by running a few sign sprints during the workout Wednesday. We started quite aggressively, though, calling three of the springs within a 10-minute span; after easing up on the frequency, we were able to get the desire to puke out of our throats and continue on with our ride. We felt satisfyingly exhausted by the end of the ride, and we inhaled all remaining snacks before taking heavy naps.

Riding past sunset

Thursday

Workout: 4.25 hours; 78 miles; mostly Z2 w/ hour in Z3

John made sure to remind me this day I turned home early (fighting off perpetual knee pain resulting from a life-long soccer career). The other boys took the opportunity to enjoy the sun and explore new roads ahead of the forthcoming rain. The most glaring signs of fatigue appeared today, too, as the first hour progressed with nearly complete silence among the team. Fortunately, they found a way to finish the ride with energy and pride. That night, we took our one opportunity to have some fun, and we accidentally found ourselves at the peak of PCB nightlife: the bowling alley. A quick competition emerged between the old and young boys in two different lanes, and an honorable wager made on the second game forced the young boys into jumping into our freezing pool upon returning home.

Friday

Workout: 2 hours; 30 miles; rest day

I cannot describe how happily we welcomed a rest day in this short paragraph. It played its role in easing some of the heaviness of our legs, opening them up to allow for a constructive stretch and rolling session. We visited the beach to watch the sunset with our dog, but otherwise, we stayed off our legs for the most of the day.

Saturday

Workout: 6 hours; 100 miles; mostly Z2, 2 x 30 minute TP efforts (all-out)

I can confidently say Saturday’s workout was the most difficult ride I can remember in my entire career. The first 2 hours involved a relentless assault by a 20-25 mph headwind in exposed, flat roads. The temperature also plummeted below freezing overnight, so this cold, completed by the wind, left us demoralized by our first stop at a gas station. When we took off again, heading back toward home, our excitement at the tailwind led us to an immature punch that pushed our legs and lungs too hard for the time. After about 50 miles, we began our infamous Team Pursuit workout simulation: 2 x 30 minutes at our highest-possible cadence, pushing ourselves as hard as we could. After finishing the workout, we had to tag on an additional 25 miles to hit our goal of a century. By the time we finished, the sun was going down, we’d run out of food, the wind was in our faces again, and I wanted to bury my bike at the bottom of the ocean.

But, it was worth it. It concluded one hell of a week for the team.

Reflecting back on the week, I’m thinking a few things: first, seeing Kyle and AJ give back selflessly as alumni, after training with them for three years, made me think a lot about the role I’ll play when I graduate; second, our younger guys are much stronger, and much more resilient that we had previously given them credit for; and third, our team came closer together and found a balance of training in a way that improved everyone together.

We hope you received our postcard from PCB celebrating the New Year. Please email me at joe.laughlin1@gmail.com if you’d like to hear any more from the team, have questions, or what to keep us in the loop about something. We hope to hear from you.

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