This is a project I've been wanting to execute for a while now, and finding the time to do it has been one those things I count as a Corona-times silver lining!
The goals of WBC Camps are:
To give athletes a strong external goal in the absence of quality mass-start racing events
To offer a multi-day event that challenges riders to redefine their limits without the inhibitions that races can place on riders in the form of conservative tactics
To offer an environment for riders to learn and grow, both on and off the bike, from the camp and each other, and become better athletes
The 1st edition WBCC will have:
5 days, 24+hrs training, covering 700+km horizontal, ~6000m vertical, ~1100TSS of load
3 race simulation days with a hill-top finish, a time trial, and a one-day classic
Bike-fitting and unlocking other bio-mechanical efficiencies
Power profiling and one-to-one coaching consultations
Core and body maintenance sessions
Knowledge sharing sessions
Day 1 - Power Testing
The first day of riding at camp was a day marked by travel legs and winds-a-galing. We headed out a little later than planned -- at 9am -- to let the Pune contingent bank a little extra sleep from their non-stop 12hr+ drive which brought them into Bangalore at 9pm the previous night. The ride started in typical Bangalore pre-winter weather -- sunny, no chance of rain, a pleasant 20C, with some strong south-westerlies howling all day. We started the days efforts with a 5' MAP (Maximal Aerobic Power) effort, and then followed it up with a full Nandi climb from which we estimated each riders FTP (approximate power for 1 hour). Everyone had the same sentiment at the end of the testing -- marked by cries of closed legs and thoughts of climbing off the bike, mid-effort. At the end of the day, no one did, and that's the beauty of a training camp environment -- there's less of a carte blanche to pull the plug when the going gets tough and that mental push to follow through.
Everyone was a good 5-10% shy of their PB efforts for CP5 and CP20, but that's okay -- the gains to be had are more than just numbers, and the best is to be had after the massive work yet to come, and post-camp supercompensation. On the way back, the boys from Pune -- Chinmay and Mak -- rode the travel legs out of themselves by rolling some solid turns into the cross-headwinds. After some power naps, we wrapped up the day with a brown rice and rice-cooker chicken curry dinner and cycling banter. Tomorrow is a 120km with a 70km "race simulation" of the BBCh's classic hill-top finish RR -- The "Nandi Epic".
Day 2 - The "Nandi Epic"
An marginally earlier start today at 830am. We had a late rider addition to camp -- with Mahesh Iyer, also from the Pune Wolfpack -- who flew in to Bangalore to join us for the best, and toughest sessions yet, with some back-to-back race simulation days on tap.
We started things off with the "Nandi Epic" today -- or just the last 70km to be precise. The outbound leg consisted of smooth tailwind-assisted turns on the highway, keeping the power and speed in check, with group safety, paramount. We notched-up a no-sweat 37-38kph at 220NP, just warming up the legs. Taking the U-turn, we said hello to some cross-headwinds, that had died down a bit as the sun did it's thing. Gagan did the lion's share of the work with some solid 30" ~300-330W turns to take our effort level up a gear, for a 38-39kph avg. at about 240NP. Then, we took the turn-off for Nandi and rode to the base safe and steady. Mak and I lit it up a bit on the lead in, to make it interesting for Gagan and Chinmay, who were the big improvers on the day. Both of them kept each other motivated up the climb to better their times from the Nandi power test the day before. Making it to the top at 4W/kg after a hard day yesterday, and about 1000kJ pre-climb, Chinmay went ~30" faster today, and Gagan dropped a massive Wattbomb to go ~1:21' faster today -- both setting their Nandi PRs. Birthday boy, Harry, and travel-legged, Mahesh, both toughed it out to finish the climb and the day, strong.
The big lesson for the day was: negative splitting or up-shifting your effort, the deeper a ride gets, can often be more challenging, and more of a quality training stimulus than just constantly staying at a lower/flatter avg. effort-level. Next up is a quality rest day with a little coach-rider interactions and bike fits. Then, off to the BBCh OMR ITT on Sunday, where we'll be doing the TT, the hardman way -- Eddy Merckxing it! Gels will be destroyed; fun will be had.