Saturday, January 15, 2011

California Camp Report

California Camp from Karyn's perspective. One amazing athlete!

I have just returned from the most awesome and the hardest camp I have ever done. I have done Arizona twice and Kona twice and I can say that neither one can hold a candle to the challenges of California. Let me paint you this scenario. The Pacific coast highway and Malibu are to the west of where we are staying in Thousand Oaks. Between these two points there is a mountain range which has to be crossed twice if you are going to bike to Malibu, because you have to get home again. The first two days we did just that. There were two epic climbs each day of an hour or more each. Some parts of these climbs were reasonable grades and not unlike Mt Lemon, some parts were harder than Nelds road and without the help of Mike and Jasper giving me a hand when I needed it I'm sure I would have fallen over sideways. There is one point where I almost did just that. These roads are also extremely winding and the downhills are wild because of that. You are always banking a turn in the road. There were hardly any vehicles on the roads that we were on especially on the mountain roads. The scenery is amazing. The weather was hot and sunny the first day. The second day a fog settled in and it was cool to cold on the downhills in particular but still nicer than here at this time of year. The last two days were sunny again with a bit cooler temps.
Day 1 was a 4 hour bike with a climb of around 7000 ft, Day 2 was a 5 hour bike with the same amt of climbing but we were out from 9:00 Am to 3:30 PM. We had lunch in Malibu and then had some technical problems with a flat. Again we climbed forever... twice.
Day 3 was an hour run for me and 1:40 for the guys. It was on dirt trails that wound around hills, very nice running. We did a short bike in the afternoon just to spin out the legs. Between the two workouts we drove to Rockstore to see all the motorcycles that Mike and Jasper saw last year when they ran into Jay Leno. That was very cool although we didn't see anyone famous. I was just thrilled to be in the car on this trip. It would have been another extremely difficult climb which we were actually supposed to do on that day but I think Mike realized that I was only a mere mortal and needed a break from hills. On the drive back to Thousand Oaks it was 14 miles across the mountain range. To give you an idea of how winding the roads are, all 3 of us were feeling carsick by the time we got back.
Day 4 was an early 7:00 AM swim. We got in the car and waited for several minutes for the windows to defrost and then headed to an outdoor pool. Needless to say the hardest part of the swim was getting in or out of the pool. Once in the water it felt very warm. Then we did about a 2 hour bike which included the hardest climb of the camp. This is the most challenging thing I have ever done. I wouldn't have made it up this relentless hill except for the fact that I had Jasper on one side of me and Mike on the other both cheering me on and Mike giving me a hand. He actually got off his bike, left it on the side of the road and ran beside me to push . I still barely made it .
I know that pretty much all of you are better hill climbers than I am but this will still be a challenging camp for everyone. There are so many roads all over the mountains that you never have to go the same way twice. As I said the scenery is amazing, there is very little traffic and I'll just add a little note here to say that the shopping is great. I forgot to mention that on Day 1 the guys took me shopping in the evening. Nothing about the camp was disappointing, The accommodations were great and in a perfect location.
On a personal note it was fun being on a training camp with two pros. I got nothing but encouragement and support from both Mike and Jasper. I did all the biking they did and was only alone on one climb on day 2 while they did some tempo repeats and then met up with me again when they were done. It was a pretty awesome 4 days and I would recommend it to everyone. I have to say that if I haven't come out of this camp stronger than there is really no hope for me.
Thank you so much Mike and Jasper for giving me your undivided attention and support. It was a most excellent adventure.


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