Life On Two Wheels

Along the river and toward the mountains a morning shadow shimmers across the road. The rays of the first light jet through the trees and across a figure gliding upon the road. His breath trails in short spurts, petrified as it hits the icy air. All is quiet except the slight sound of the athlete as he summons himself for yet another days work. Soon the rest of the world will bustle with life as well and the brief simplicity of cyclist and nature will disappear into the everyday struggle of life in full motion; the errands and intervals, the appointments and intersections, and the deadlines and finish lines OutPaceTheRace

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Olympic Training Center

Olympic Training Center
Chula Vista, CA
Dec 8th – 18th

The Olympic Training Center (OTC) is set in the desert mountains of Chula Vista, CA. The desert is cold at night and warm in the day after the rising sun burns off the morning fog. The roads are good, the hills are long and the drivers are psychotic.
I went to the OTC with the USA national cycling team, a group of “emerging” cyclists who are believed to be the next generation of elite cyclists- most of them are hype, but there were several who do have potential. The chief reason for the training camp was to get to know the rest of the guys and get in some good base training (many easy hours on the bike everyday). Chula Vista is a particularly good locale for this do to its mild climate and mountainous terrain. Rarely am I able to do the same kind of riding in Washington while maintaining a “cool head-” after five days of four hours in sub 40 degree downpours you (or at least I) begin to lackluster for continued training… but that’s just me.
Despite the great training and excellent food, the OTC is set in the middle of nowhere. You wake up, eat, ride, go online, watch TV, read and go to bed… repeat. I did that for ten days, leaving once to ride with a group of guys into Chula Vista ten miles away to watch a movie on the “big screen.” Was it worth it? I don’t know, but it helped to break the monotony of another week of the same.
An additional point of interest is that Mexico is about twenty miles south of the OTC. So during one of my many rides I took my passport and headed South on highway nine. The people got shorter and the roads got rougher simultaneously as I entered the land of cheap labor. The houses turned to barns, the roads to lanes, and the traffic to trucks too large for the roads. The town knew not of proper excavation and built on the side of hills, each shack was ready to tumble with even the slightest vibration (including the bark of a healthy dog, but fortunately there were no healthy dogs). I rode well into Mexico via Mexico’s version of highway nine. The roads, as in the towns, were built up hills too steep for the trucks. Subsequently, as I rode up the hills I could here a truck rumbling up the hill behind me. As it passed I would jump on its tail and ride in its slipstream. This made for great intensity and gave me a little much-needed protection from some of the drivers due to the fact that the shoulder is non-existent down south.
With the training here and the additional camps set for the future I am confident that I will be more prepared this year for the coming season than I have ever been before. Each season I seem to become faster and faster, so this year… the possibilities are unlimited!