In recent weeks most of Team Sixcycle headed west to LA and its surrounds to put in long mileage days outside the chilly confines of New York City. Photos and the training camp report follow.
California Training Camp Ride Report from Team Sixcycle’s Corey Morenz
I roll out of bed and head downstairs. Most of my friends in NYC would already have been at work for at least an hour. Breakfast is oatmeal, fruit and locally roasted coffee, plus whatever I eat off of the other riders’ plates that somehow don’t seem to have as big an appetite as I do. After liberal application of sunscreen and chamois cream I roll my bike outside and chill in the shade of a palm tree until everyone is gathered and ready to go. The first ten miles are dead flat, with the Pacific Ocean on our left shoulder. One right turn and suddenly we are climbing, winding our way up a canyon as the Pacific disappears and reappears. I subconsciously go to unzip my winter jacket… except I’m not wearing one. In fact I’ve already gone through two bottles in the first hour as the mercury tops 80 degrees. The rest of the riders hammer ahead of me as I try to remain within my tempo power band. I ride alone for a while, content to listen to the rhythm of my breathing and the panoramic vistas. Inevitably I start picking off other riders in the group who have blown up from their anaerobic efforts. 35 minutes later I reach the top, nearly 2,000 ft above sea level, where we regroup to talk the talk: who is riding well that day, what the grades are like, who is sick of what Clif bar flavor and how bad the weather must be back home in NYC.
Welcome to California training camp.
After a rolling stretching along Mulholland Highway where I take the opportunity to inflict some pain on the riders who’d rather crush it up the hill and coast on the flats, we hit another climb before a white knuckle descent back to the coast. After a recovery snack of fish tacos in Malibu, its time to soft pedal back home along PCH and Santa Monica Boulevard.
Our home base for the trip has been Venice, CA – probably known more for the circus like atmosphere of the boardwalk and bodybuilding than its cycling. Rog, Matt and I are unsatisfied with our protein intake so we spin our bikes to the local In-N-Out Burger to get our animal style on. Some riders opt to put their legs up or nap, but the abundant sunshine has me energized so I opt to soak in the local scene on Abbot Kinney with an exquisite pour over brew from Intelligentsia before grabbing dinner (Yes, it’s only been 2 hours since my last meal – don’t judge me). Then it is time to unwind at the hotel’s rooftop bar and get ready to do it all again.
The week proceeds apace. The variety of climbs is mind blowing – I’m riding a steady 45 minute tempo effort at a consistent grade on Yerba Buena one day and cranking a new CP10 and getting my photo taken on Rock Store the next. The hairpin descents let Rog test his cornering skills against the Porsches and Ducatis that share the road with us. In between there are miles and miles pedaling along palm tree lined boulevards and beaches.
Hard to believe we are doing this in Los Angeles. Before I first came out here to ride a couple years ago, I had most New Yorkers view of LA: a city with nice weather but endless gridlock, not exactly an ideal place to ride. My first ride out here blew my mind and I’ve kept coming back every February since. I decide to finish up my week in true Venice fashion – a spin up Mandeville Canyon (a popular weekday loop for riders out here) followed by a trip to the Gold’s Gym and a massive platter of sushi. Unfortunately no Arnold Schwarzenegger sightings this year (he pedaled his beach cruiser by us last trip out). Far too soon its time to board my redeye back to New York where our pilot informs us the forecast is in the “low 26’s. There’s no place like home…
Between the food, the weather, the people and the riding it really isn’t fair to call this a training camp. It’d be a full blown vacation except for the fact that my fiancée wasn’t invited. I hope she doesn’t read this, because otherwise my N limit of bikes is sure to decrease by one.