by Mike Mahoney
Day 1 at Asheville Spring Training Camp 2013!
“If I Die, Make Sure To Upload My Garmin Data.”
Carol looked around the table. Tired athletes laughing, after a long pause brought about by the effects of a day of training, a very hearty meal, and a number of North Carolina micro brews.
Day one isn’t the most intense training day of triathlon camp. But it’s a good start. To start the morning, there was optional running on the trails of the Bent Creek Research and Demonstration Forest. Maddy’s Loop heads out from Trail’s End, climbs for about two kilometers of rough trail, and then descends along a Forest Service fire road back to the house. Geri’s and Maddy’s favourite moments of the day were flying down that fast descent.
A good mechanical check on one’s bicycle is a good idea before tackling a week of century-plus rides, 6000-foot climbs, and high-speed descents. Head Coach Mike Coughlin gave a talk on bicycle safety, and the athletes had a chance to make sure their bicycles were in working order. Sometime in here Carol came back from a mountain bike ride. I was busy typing away on yesterday’s report. “Mike! You have to drop what you’re doing and go for a mountain bike ride right now! It’s too much fun to miss!” I went. Carol was right.
The Arboretum Ride is a bicycle check and cycling skills ride designed to check both rider and bicycle, polish any rusty skills, and provide the opportunity to practice tight turns and fast cornering before hitting the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s good practice, as there is a good tight turn on a hilly loop, providing the opportunity for athletes to build speed before taking the turn. This was Carol’s favourite moment of the day.
Carol also had the opportunity to practice 180-degree turn-arounds, looping the median and practicing a sharp entry, clipping the apex and accelerating out of the turn, without braking too sharply on the way into the turn. Carol ripped her last turn, braking smoothly, carving smoothly in to clip the apex and pedaling as soon as the banking angle of the bike allowed pedaling. It was a beautiful thing to watch, and watching it was Mike Coughlin’s favourite moment of the day.
My favourite moment of the day was blowing the yellow on the skills ride. It’s a sneaky one, with a slightly sharper jog near the end, and after a long winter on the trainer, I clipped the apex at max speed but just edged an inch over the centre line on the exit. That’s why we do skills rides.
The Arboretum Ride is followed by a social ride to Liberty Bikes in Asheville, where athletes can pick up nutrition, fix last-minute problems, or trial a nifty Trek full-carbon bicycle. (Wicked, BTW.)
On the way back to Trail’s End, Coach Mike called for the athletes to open it up and spread out as desired, then take a few timed repeats of Arboretum Hill on the way. My max speed in kilometers on the way back? 70.3 baby!
A final run on Maddy’s loop and Wolf Loop completed the day’s training. The descent on Rice Pinnacle Road was fast and fun.
At a self-catering camp, dinner is half the fun. After a grocery shopping trip, dinner was Coach Coughlin’s chicken stir fry with pasta, tomato sauce, salad, and baguette, accompanied by discussion of tomorrow’s training, doping in cycling, the possibility of a sub-two marathon, and everyone’s favourite moment of the day. And one request to save Garmin data in case of death, of course.