Geared up for the ride: Tour de Rock riders endure a strenuous training regimen

Riders discuss biking up Mount Washington and the hill to the Observatory, as part of their training rides

Tour de Rock 2011 rider and Saanich police officer Scott Green fixes a flat before heading out on a training run from behind Saanich municipal hall on Sept. 1.



They’ve biked 140 kilometres, up to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and through Jordan River. But that’s nothing compared to cycling the monstrous Mount Washington – at least for Mary Brigham.

“Mount Washington was the hardest,” said Brigham, a corporal with CFB Esquimalt’s Military Police Unit. “That was pretty intense. It’s straight uphill, absolutely. It took us under two hours to do it, so we did really well as a team.”

Twenty-one riders – 18 officers and three media members – have altered their lifestyle as they train for what could be the toughest ride of their lives – 1,000 kilometres of Island hills and valleys from Port Alice to Victoria.

The riders come into the training with varying levels of fitness, said head trainer Rob McDonald, a Saanich police officer.

“Some people have never been on a bike before, some people have quite a history of biking,” he said. “Because it’s so gradual, everybody does really well. The training program is not a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants thing. It’s taken a long time to develop and we tweak it as we go.”

The ride’s team of trainers take care of the fitness aspect, but nutritionists, physiotherapists, plus stretching and bike maintenance experts are also in constant contact with the riders, keeping them and their bikes in top form.

The riders are grouped into two sections – North and Central Island, and South Island. The dividing line is at Duncan. McDonald leads training rides for the South Island pack, and while riders north of Duncan follow the same training schedule and style, they report their progress to McDonald.

Since starting training in March, the South Island riders have tackled the sharp incline to the observatory. They’ve pedalled Munns Road in the Highlands, cycled to Hartland landfill and powered through distances of 120 and 140 kilometres at a time.

“When you get up to those higher kilometres, it’s about riding as a team … All along the way you’ve got your support crew with you,” said Saanich police Const. Matt Cawsey, who rode with the Tour in 2009. “That’s a huge motivation as your legs spin, spin, spin over those kilometres.”

Added fellow Saanich Const. Aaron Murray: “It’s not only physical, but emotional as well. But that’s why we have great trainers and why we’ve been doing this since March. Would I have been ready to do this in March? Absolutely not.”

Cawsey said the final ride, which starts Sept. 24, is “nothing to sneeze at. It’s a lot of riding to be doing … and you’re up all day long, almost from 6 a.m. all the way to midnight. The training is designed to help us do that.”

McDonald said this year’s team has excelled in training, meaning the three-rides-a-week schedule doesn’t have to push them as hard as the departure date nears.

“This year’s team has been really fit, so it’s been really easy to push them a little more. And we’re ahead of where we should be, so it’s a little easier to back off a little bit, whereas in years before, it’s been a real push to the end to get them to where they need to be.”

ecardone@vicnews.com

 

Training for the Tour

• Tuesdays: Hill work

• Thursdays: Speed training on flatter roads

•Sundays: Long rides

 

ENTER TO WIN!

You could win one of two high-end Trek bicycles! To enter, visit the Black Press office at 818 Broughton St. to fill out a form, or enter online here. Winners will be drawn Oct. 7 and notified by email.

 

Black Press is proud to be an official sponsor for the 2011 Canadian Cancer Society Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock, with staff photographer Chris Bush on the 21-member tour team as a media rider. To follow Chris Bush’s Twitter updates from the final weeks of training and throughout the ride, follow @chrisbushtdr.

ON TOUR: This year’s Tour de Rock begins in Port Alice on Saturday, Sept. 24 and ends Friday, Oct. 7 in Victoria. Tour de Rock raises funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research and programs.

HELP OUT: Donations can be made at www.copsforcancer.ca

FIND OUT: To catch up on all the Tour de Rock news, view photos and watch videos, please go online to:

www.bclocalnews.com/tour-de-rock

Just Posted

Canada Women’s Rugby 7s Team land at home after series triumph

Next stop at Langford offers Olympic qualification

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Two-sailing waits continue Victoria to Tsawwassen

Backlog continues despite extra sailings over Easter

Saanich soccer player survives bout with flesh eating disease

Harinder Sandhu picked up the disease after soccer game

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

Homeless activists outside Notre Dame demand ‘a roof too’

Wealthy people have donated millions to effort to rebuild cathedral after devastating fire

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Sri Lanka invokes war-time military powers after nearly 300 killed in Easter bombings

Sri Lanka’s minister of tourism says 39 foreign tourists were killed in the Easter Sunday attacks

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Most Read