Training Camps: Working Holiday
In the past, winter cycling camps were really just an excuse to cram a few days of long hard riding into the middle of a long cold winter. In the end, the attendees would go back to their frigid habitat, tired and sore without having taken much away from the experience except for a few days of fun. Now, with advanced science, a higher standard of coaching in the US and more easily portable testing facilities, these camps can become a crucial part of any cyclist’s routine.
There is a reason that almost every single UCI pro team around the world holds at least one (sometimes 2 or 3) winter camps. Not only do the camps promote camaraderie, improve team cohesion and provide a chance for sponsors to show off their goods, the serious side of the agenda is that they are crucial in laying the groundwork for the upcoming season. By combining lab and on the bike testing with careful observation and a carefully structured week of training, coaches and directors can learn a lot about their team and the direction they are headed. Analysis of strengths and weaknesses can allow the riders to go over their training programs with a fine-toothed comb to make sure that every ride and every interval has a purpose and will help them meet their ultimate goals.
Despite all the science, most of the camps which are geared towards the recreational cyclist or the amateur racer still put a lot of their emphasis on fun. For most people, these camps make for an excellent midwinter family vacation. Exotic locations such as Palm Springs, California and Tucson, Arizona provide plenty of distractions to keep the non-cycling members of the family occupied. At these camps, cyclists enjoy some rather plush accommodations along with extras such as golf, tennis, massage and delicious meals.
In the end, a good camp will leave its participants riding away a little bit tired but invigorated and excited for some nice riding weather. More important than a basket of sponsored goodies and some phone numbers for some great new friends and riding partners, the ideal camp will give the participant a good assessment of their abilities, and also a plan and the accompanying knowledge to aim towards their goals.
Three Case Studies
There are a lot of options when planning your own training camp, fortunately we had to look no further than our own PCN contributors Frank Overton, Bruce Hendler, and Josh Horowitz to find three great examples of different types of camps. In addition, Toolbox Editor Stephen Cheung is currently planning cycling training camps in both Nova Scotia and Europe for 2005. As great examples of different approaches to designing camps, we asked Frank, Bruce, and Josh to tell us about their upcoming camps. In future Toolbox articles, we will also give tips and pointers for a DIY (Do It Yourself) training camp.
Also, make sure you check out www.cyclingtrips.com, a terrific website run by PEZ reader Jim Cuene. It’s a constantly updated repository of all the cycling holidays and camps available. Write Jim and tell them PEZ sent you!
The Liquid Fitness Palm Springs Cycling Camp is modeled after the team camp that the Velo Club LaGrange Elite racers hold each January, but caters to riders of all levels, from serious racers to recreational riders. The riders will be split into 3 groups, based on experience and fitness and an experienced pro level racer/coach will be assigned to lead each group on daily rides.
Although the camp is open to riders of all levels, we have tried hard to recreate the feeling of a pro camp. With CompuTrainer testing, various sponsored goodies including food, drinks and more, and a staff of experienced active racers, with lots of great stories from the European Peloton, you will feel like you are “in the club”.
The camp was also designed with families in mind, so there will be plenty of free time to explore the pools and golf courses of the beautiful California Desert. That is if you have energy left over from the epic, unforgettable (fully supported) rides that we will be leading you on. Palm Springs has a very happening down town area with great restaurants, bars and of course the cyclist’s favorite, Cold Stone Creamery. In the evenings there will also be
seminars on a variety of topics and group dinners.
Contact Liquid Fitness at: https://www.helixprecision.com/liquidfitness/TrainingCamp.aspx
The concept of AthletiCamps began with a desire to assist all levels of cyclists to improve their cycling performance. Through many years of participation in the sport of cycling, we’ve learned that the process of improvement can be a complicated one. There are diverse skills, abilities, knowledge and techniques necessary to expand ones cycling performance; too much for most cyclists to tackle simply by reading a book and going out riding. We created AthletiCamps as a means to break this complicated process into a series of manageable steps to create significant improvements in your riding.
Testing and Endurance camps (6 days) and Performance clinics (4 days) featuring a day with Dr. Massimo Testa of the UC Davis Sports Performance Program.
Custom Clinics escort small groups, couples and individuals to different areas of Northern & Central California for some of the most spectacular training rides in the nation. Performance testing is optional.
On-the-Road Performance Clinics bring performance testing and coaching to you! This option is ideal for clubs, teams, and groups of friends who ride together and have difficulty coordinating the travel because of work or family commitments.
Special Bonus: Mention this article and get $100 off any camp or clinic in 2005.
Contact AthletiCamps at www.AthletiCamps.com
I offer small custom “coaching camps” in Boulder, CO for athletes that I work with on a long term basis. I emphasize “coaching” as opposed to “training” because a lot more goes on than just training. For those athletes I work with out of state it’s an excellent opportunity to ride together and take the coach-athlete relationship to the next level.
I typically don’t book camps for specific dates. Rather my athletes know that they have an open invitation to come to Boulder for some high altitude training at the base of the Rocky Mountains. We are fortunate in that we have flat terrain to the East and mountainous Tour de France like climbs to the West. That’s why so many professional cyclists over the years have made Boulder their home.
By coming to Boulder, my athletes are able to tap into the many excellent resources that Boulder residents too often take for granted. For example, the state of the art, world renowned Boulder Center for Sports Medicine is in town where Dr. Andy Pruitt and his professional staff of exercise physiologists, biomechanic experts, physical therapists and orthopedists see cyclists from all over the world. If you are having any type of pain while riding a bike this is the foremost center in the country for a solution. A certain unnamed CSC rider is undergoing treatment there right now…
Finally, I love these camps because it gives me a chance to work closer with the athletes I already work so closely with. We work and train hard, but overall it’s a great time. A coaching camp brings tremendous value to the coaching I am already providing them with. Getting an athlete into the lab is invaluable. I also offer camp attendees the chance to throw a power tap onto their bike for their training rides. There’s no better way to introduce training with power than to have your coach analyze your training ride data!
Contact FasCat Coaching at www.FasCatCoaching.com
Also worth a look is the Discover Adventures Training Camp with Frankie Andreu
Got any good training camp stories or experiences? What makes a good camp for you? Send them to [email protected]