By Eben Horacek, 6/17/16
FLAGSTAFF — L’Abitibi selection camp take place on the Northern Arizona University Campus. I room with one other rider and am in the same dorm as three other riders. This is the group that I usually go to meals with, however the group of twelve is pretty close. We have all our meals in one hall where there are hundreds of freshman that are here for orientation.
Because this is a selection camp it is run as an ongoing competition with a general classification based on contests each day. The first day has three timed climbing repeats that are about two and half minute long. The day started with a 7am wake up call for breakfast and then at 8:40 all the riders go down to the bike room to weigh in, which includes their body weight with their gear and then a total system weight which includes the rider’s bike and bottles, etc… It took about fifteen minutes to ride to the hill where we did the timed repeats We had one time to pre ride the hill and after that we had our three efforts. All three efforts were hard, however the second one was probably the most difficult because my lungs and throat were still hurting after the first one, but after the second one I was fairly warmed up and more used to efforts at 7,000 feet.
After this we rode back to our dorms and went to lunch. There is a fair amount of down time in between these rides and we all laid in our beds, resting and recovering. After this we rallied to go back out for pace line drills. The drills were not timed or focused on speed, but rather technique and skill. There was a focus on being able to quickly identify when there are crosswinds and an echelon is needed, and what to do in these situations. We focused on being smooth and efficient in our pace lines and adjusting to speed changes that can happen in the peloton. We did this for about an hour, this ride was focused on skills because we had hard efforts in the morning, and the next day is a long hard TT effort. We came back and had about 30 minutes of group stretching. After this we came back and had dinner and had more down time until evening presentations. The evening presentations focused on the results from the tests in the morning as well as core exercises. This lasted for about two hours and then we went back to our dorms for lights out.
Coaches note: The race that this camp selects for is Le Tour de L’Abitibi, which is held in Quebec in July. The race is important for junior racers because it is well attended by other junior teams from around the world. For many Americans it is the first chance to race against a world-class field. USA Cycling generally fields 2-3 teams for the race based on the results of the Flagstaff camp.
I’m of course very happy for Eben to get this great result among the best US riders of his age. We have been focused on this camp for a couple of months, so to see Eben perform as planned is great. These efforts are within his strongest range of output, and being that he is very light I am not surprised by the results. Also noteworthy is how well Eben manages his efforts. His times reflect his consistency – he averaged 375-385 watts for all three efforts. At 55 kilos this works out to approximately 7 w/kg.