When injury slows down your training

(Sandy) I’m going to have to leave the interesting part of this blog to Kim.  Last year I was not in top condition to ride the TDV due to a major coming together with a concrete highway barrier during a spring group ride (injury included broken ribs, orbital bone, stitches etc.) and I had to compress my training period over the summer.  So that year I emphasized hill climbing rather than distance and recovered enough conditioning for the TDV event to finish with my best time to date but didn’t have enough left in the tank for the final push along Dallas Road to break the 5 hour barrier.

Since last fall, I’ve had some knee problems – stiffness and discomfort after rides.  This has gotten much worse since our trip to England and my physiotherapist has benched me over most of the last month – so I’m short of training time again this year.  Even worse than last year.

Sandy with knee injuryI’m OK when riding but my knee swells and stiffens up after the ride – very painful until I get moving again – so I’ve clearly got some healing to do.  I’ve not ridden much over the last month but have the green light to start up again, but at a very easy pace and only for short rides.  Not conducive to training for the TDV.  Nothing like a cold therapy machine when the body is hurting!

If I can keep up some riding, 2 or 3 times a week and starting 30 to 40 kms, I am confident I can “get through” either the 100 or 140 km ride but won’t plan to set any records on the way.

Last year I did a readiness “test” ride with TaG up Mt Baker– the climb to the top makes Munn Road seem a bit pedestrian!

Mt Baker ride

But that ride and other endurance training rides of 100 kms or more won’t happen this year.  I am pretty sure I can manage my pace and fueling strategy, based on past experience (I rode with the BC Randonneurs for a few years) and as long as I get on the bike a couple times a week.  I will have to see how my knee responds over the next month, and maybe trim my TDV distance back a bit this year to make sure I finish well, or finish at all.  Won’t target breaking 5 hours though!

(Kim): No such issues for me, though.  While Sandy has been resting and rehabbing his knee, I’ve been training 3 times per week with Silver Wheels and TaG, riding between 50 and 80 kms each outing.

The TaG rides include serious hill climbing in West Vancouver – around 1000 meters vertical

Sandy on West Vancouver hill climb

ride mapas well as paceline work with TaG out to Richmond (pushing through the wind – I want to be ready because I remember the TDV a couple of years ago!)


TaG team ride

And regular rides with Silver Wheels such as the Sunshine Coast from West Vancouver to Sechelt with lunch at the pub.

Silver Strides team ride

Or a fast paced group ride to Port Moody along the Barnet Highway with the Silver Wheels.

Silver Wheels team ride

Or a quick ride around UBC and SW Marine with coffee at Jericho Beach.

Silver Wheels team ride

My weekly average has been near 200 kms and I hope to keep this up in preparation for the TDV.  With conditioning from the climbing rides led by TaG and longer rides with Silver Wheels, I should be ready for the TREK 100 km ride on my new TREK Domaine bike, including Munn Road.

We found a good home for my old bike last week.

Sandy and Kim Fleming will be blogging for the Tour de Victoria as they train for this August. Amazing advocates for the Tour de Victoria, they always bring a large group with them!

Getting ready for the 140km with Observatory Hill Climb repeats

It’s not part of the Tour de Victoria, but it’s a pretty sweet view. And it’s a great way to pack in a lot of climbing in a short time frame.

On Tuesday night I headed up to West Saanich to attack the Observatory Hill Climb on Little Saanich Mountain.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m Travis Paterson, new to long distance cycling, formerly of long days drinking in the sun, not long days on a bike. Training time is starting to run out and if I’m going to be able to finish the Harbour Air Seaplanes 140km route on Aug. 18 without suffering greatly, I need to get my legs under me. Again, 140km is 40km longer than any ride I’ve done and is twice as long as my biggest ride so far in 2018.

Hence the Observatory Hill Climb.

It’s about 2.2 kilometres up with an average of about six per cent grade (sometimes a bit steeper but not much). It’s also great as the road is often closed to drivers, including nights and weekends.

As an up-and-back, the Observatory doesn’t quite fit into the Tour de Victoria route criteria but as a training ride it falls smack in between Prospect Lake and Elk Lake which are both major parts of the TdV 90, 140 and 160 km rides.

A couple of local hotshots made the Observatory Hill Climb kinda famous in 2015 when they climbed it 68 times in one day. And while that’s just ridiculous, one of them almost finished first on the Tour de Victoria 140km Epic that year (even though it’s not a race) and I’ve been inspired ever since.

Every time I hit it the last few years to prepare for the Tour de Victoria there’s always been some other cyclists there. This time there was a few people and there was this kid in yellow.

It’s common among the more ambitious cyclists in town to do hill repeats on the Observatory. I attempted what’s known as the Observatory Hat Trick.   

The kid in yellow did five repeats while I did three, and he did six in total. Honestly, I was a bit slower than normal because I was trying to be cool and shoot video of my evening at various stages. Either way the kid in yellow was going to slay me, and he did, but he was very nice.

My climb is here on Strava for anyone to see.

I always entertain the idea that at the end of the summer, after I’ve completed the Tour de Victoria and I’m in my best cycling shape of the year, I’ll go back and attack the Observatory for a personal best.


-Travis Paterson is a community reporter for the Saanich News and local Black Press papers. At night and on the weekend, he is a spandex-loving poser on a bike.