U.S. Paracycling National Team CampOwen Daniels
It’s a new year which means a new racing season is upon us. It seems like at the start of every season brings new hopes and goals. Every year I want to learn more, train more, race more, and grow more as an athlete. This year is no different for me. Now that I’ve quit working part time and will be focusing more on training, I am hoping this extra time will take my fitness to all new heights. I’m also thrilled to announce that I will be representing Team PossAbilities again this year and for the second year in a row I’ve been selected to the U.S. Paracycling National Team. 2023 is really off to an amazing start.
Another year on the national team brings another year of training camps. A few times a year all the members of the national team get together at a predetermined location and train together in hopes of building team moral as well as bringing the team closer together. For the second year in a row the national team camp was held in Solvang California. Solvang is a small town located near Santa Barbara that is know for its wineries and its Danish architecture that stretches through the whole town. Solvang is a great spot to get away for the weekend but more importantly it is known for being a great place to ride your bike. It’s known among the cycling community for its wide open roads with little to no traffic and great sceneries. Being from the Inland Empire I welcome the idea of no traffic, smog, or the occasional honking from drivers wanting to just get to their next destination a few seconds faster.
Camp would be held from January 22-27 and it was a mandatory camp so all team members would be there. Weather in California leading up to this camp had been terrible with nothing but rain the whole week prior. Luckily for us the weather took a turn for the better and it was clear skies the day I arrived. The first day of camp was a Sunday and this day was set aside for building bikes and getting equipment ready for the week. I was very excited to get this week started because while at training camps there is one goal…. and that is to get in as much riding as we can. That’s exactly what I did. Monday started off with a 3 hour ride on an out and back route. There were so many wineries to see all I could think of was how great this place would be to bring my wife on a mini vacation. Tuesday’s ride turned out to be shorter because I got detached from the group and went the wrong way on the route. For some reason my cycling computer had lost signal and it lead me on the wrong path. No worries though I enjoyed the ride by myself that day and road back the way I came so finding the hotel was no big deal. Wednesday proved to be the day that I felt the most fatigue. After already riding almost 6 hours total from the 2 days before I couldn’t help but notice the fatigue I felt. However, riding with the national team will make one forget all about being tired and will actually make you push yourself to a new level. So that’s what I did. By the end of Wednesday I was averaging about three and a half hours on the bike a day and more training stress than I’ve had in a long while. Thursday was going to be our last day riding and I wanted it to be the longest day of them all. 60 miles and almost 3000 feet of elevation gain was on the menu for the 4th and final day of training. Surprisingly I felt the strongest on this day which was a good sign for the adaption my body was making to all this extra training. Almost 4 hours later the last ride of the week is done and it’s almost the end of camp. Total ride time for the camp was about 14 hours if riding in 4 days. Not too bad for the first camp of the year.
After getting back to the hotel I ate my final lunch and chatted with a few team mates figuring out when will be the next time we meet. It’s always bitter sweet to have to leave these camps after getting to just ride and hang with friends for a whole week. I always look forward to these experiences and can’t wait for the next one. For now it was time to pack my things and load them up in the truck for an early departure. Most athletes were leaving Friday bit since I didn’t live too far from Solvang I chose to leave and get back to my family. Traveling, training and racing are great but being home with family after being gone for a week feels even better.