Richard Cook’s: Masters Training Camp

BY IN Exercise Institute News On October 12, 2014


HCT Training Camp- Day One

Balancing the needs of family, work and cycling is part of the course for any middle age professional with ambitions to ride at a competitive level. And so it was that I had to resist Brad’s recommendation to arrive in Yallingup on Thursday night, instead opting to have a night out with my kids taking in dinner and a book shop whilst my wife (who’s incredibility supportive of my cycling) had a well earned night out with two girlfriends. I prepared everything the night before including filling my biddons with a new caffeinated electrolyte drink. I set the alarm for 4am on the Friday and after a quick breakfast and a double espresso was on the road down south at 4:30am.


I made good time and had enough to spare to pull into Yallingup Coffee Roasting Company and knock back a couple of espressos. I estimated that with four espressos coursing through me I would be ready to power on the bike as soon as I arrived. What I didn’t count on was the boys lack of urgency to get going and when Marty suggested we go next door for a coffee I was secretly a little nervous. Five coffees before 9:00am would do that to most people. When I say next door for a coffee take it literally. Brad had booked a house in Yallingup that was perfect for our needs. Clean, modern, uninterrupted views of the coast and a good cafe four doors down- Nice going BH.


I was shaking by the time Brad sets the scene for today’s session and was wondering what effect my caffeine laced biddons were going to have on me. Whilst I was trying to recall If I knew of anyone that had overdosed on caffeine Brad talked us through the interval set which included a roll through down to Canal Rocks for five 1.5km climbing efforts, a pace line up through Wildwood to Commanage, followed by two repeats climbing Biddle Rd doing 10 seconds on and 20 off coming back down and climbing Commange SE.


I felt really good after the first interval at Canal Rocks. Sadly, the feeling went away pretty quickly and by the fifth I was wondering if a solar eclipse was occurring because everything started to go very dark. I didn’t help my cause by thinking I could keep pace with Bard and Paul Prottey who like nothing more than tarmac with an elevation. After coming to terms with the fact that I had just blown myself up before we had even completed half the days training we rolled out towards Commanage via Wildwood Road.


The pace line was moving with a full head of steam and being driven relentlessly by Paul, Marty and Brad. At one stage (when I was about to crack) I did the right thing and went back to get Reg Edwards on my wheel. Reg had smashed himself all morning and urged me to forget about him and get back on with the others. I resisted Reg’s protestations and said that I was there to help him recover. Thinking I was safe ,I looked up ahead to see Paul had dropped back to both of us and told us to get on his wheel. Christ! what did I have to do to stop this merciless assault? Spurred on by the fact that Brad had given up his time (and that this was costing me dollars) I dug deep and got back in the line.


We reached the top and enjoyed a fast decent down to Biddle Road. What transpired over the next twenty minutes can’t be repeated here where children might read. Needless to say it wasn’t pretty. I was so happy when I got to the top of Commanage for the last time as Brad said that the day was over and we were rolling into Dunsborough for coffee. The “roll in” turned into another 10 minutes of flat out, hard as you can riding, once again being driven by BH. After a stop for food and drink we proceeded once again to take it up a notch on the ride back to Yallingup. I was having seriously negative thoughts about Brad and Paul who were the main culprits, however, with my caffeine levels decreasing to above average I felt strong enough to pull a few turns and made it safely back to the house.


Day Two

I was feeling good. No doubt because I had had only two coffees before we rolled out. The boys were in good spirits and looking forward to finishing todays efforts to get back into Dunsborough and the delicious food that’s on offer from Tas’s Bakery. Today’s ride took us for a warm up through Sheoak Drive before we opened the jets on the rolling hills of Yungarra Drive into Dunsborough.


Conscious of the fact that I went too hard too early yesterday I was determined that today I’d be consistent from start to finish (like that happened!) We made a decent pace climbing up Cape Natuaraliste Road and I was trying to recall if the morning briefing that Brad had provided included a memo about being put in the box before the “real” work commenced.


One minute sprint efforts are a cyclists worst nightmare. We did six from the intersection of Eagle Bay Meelup Road and Eagle Bay Road. They hurt…a lot! With no time to rest Brad took off towards the final set of the day. After a few minutes of recovery riding and realising my body wasn’t recovering I called out to stop for a team photograph. Secretly I know everyone except BH was happy for this few minutes of respite. Brad took the opportunity to offer some incredibly insightful information about the bodies adaptation to the different intervals, however in my state of shock I didn’t register much as I was focusing on working out how I was going to be able to climb out of Meelup not once but four times. At that stage Meelup Beach Road was my Everest and I was wondering if Trek do a triple ring.


The ride out of Meelup was sensational and we rolled down into town for well earned refreshment. Riding back to Yallingup straight into a raging headwind meant everyone was content to keep a steady pace on the Caves Road climb. With our data uploaded and everyone showered and clean we drove back into town for lunch. Over lunch Brad suggested we visit a massage therapy centre across the road (you know one of those pop up style shops appearing in shopping centres across Perth) I recounted to the lads my one and only experience at the hands of an 80 year old lady of Chinese origin at one such premises who had no qualms about stripping me naked and… Well I’ll stop there. As you can imagine I was horrified. The disturbing thing for me on this occasion wasn’t my story but Marty’s keenness to know which shopping centre the shop was in. As Paul and Marty went off to explore Dunsborough Brad and I went in and survived a decent 30minute massage. I’ll end day two by saying that I’m nervous about day three. Nervous because as Reg said his goodbyes and retuned to Perth for work Paul commented that It was now going to be even harder tomorrow. He’ll really be pouring it on.


Day Three

We had a great diner last night at Caves House. It took my mind of the fact that Reg had gone home. I woke up this morning knowing that I was in for a world of pain. After a morning of procrastination Marty decided to get things moving as he had to finish this camp and meet his family in Busselton. Personally I think he was itching to get back to Perth and find the shop from my massage story the day before.


Being typical spring weather it was hard to work out what to wear with it being sunny one minute and overcast and cold the next. We rolled out the same way as yesterday and as soon as we hit Marrinup the pace went on. You know you’ve given it your all when as you try to speak the only sound that escapes is a muted muffle through your nose. By the time we reached the end of Sheoak I was seeing stars, however, I had hung on until the end so even though I was feeling Ill I was happy.


Today’s interval set consisted of six climbing repeats alternating between Drummond Glenn and Western Cape Drive. I hit the first one as hard as I could and was out of the saddle maintaining a good tempo. Finishing close to Brad, Marty and Paul we rolled back down and started the climb up Western Cape Drive. Again I was feeling good and finished the climb which averages 6% over 1.4km in under 5 minutes. Only four more to go. To give you an idea of how hard it got, Marty, who I hadn’t seen out of the saddle all camp was out and bobbing around like Tomas Voeckler on the third. By the fourth climb and even though my heart rate wasn’t overly high I felt as If someone had pulled the plug out of the bath and my power was being sucked down the drain. By the sixth I had started to cramp in the hammie which only added to my misery. This was compounded by the fact as the others were descending after completing there set they all shouted at me to find something extra. Where they thought I was going to get this from was anyones guess. After a quick regroup we went back to Yallingup the way we came performing a series of 12 second sprints. For anyone who has done one of Brad’s camps the feeling you get when you descend into Yallingup is pretty special and never gets old.


It’s on a camp like this that you realise how much respect you have for your fellow riders. Each of them put in a massive effort and are class acts. Brad, as is the norm, made every minute quality time. His attention to detail, care and feedback is exceptional. If you have the opportunity to attend one of his camps in the future I highly recommend it. My Trek Madone was perfect for the camp. It is such a well balanced bike that makes climbing and defending a joy. Would I do it again? Absolutely!


6 years ago / 1 Comment






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1 Comment

  • Reg Edwards


    Great write up Richard, laughing thinking about the pain now Im home safe

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