Posts Tagged ‘bike training’

New 60-km Ride Seems Less Daunting After Longer Training Rides

Happy (almost) BC Day! If you’re like me, the arrival of August is especially exciting because it means the Tour de Victoria is finally here. August 18 is the big day.

I’ve spent the past few months getting on my bike as often as I can to help prepare for the jump from the 45-km distance I’ve completed in past years to the new 60-km ride the Tour de Victoria is launching this year. With the amazing weather we’ve enjoyed, it was easy to avoid using the car to run errands, and I managed to really rack up some miles!

The Strava app on my iPhone, which I use to keep track of all my rides, tells me I rode 154 km in May, followed by 268 km in June, and then 350 km in July. That included my so-called “training regimen” — i.e. long rides involving stops at breweries. (Rewards work well for me!) For instance, in last month’s blog I described an epic weekend trip I did out to Sooke with some buddies where we stopped at several breweries on the way there and back, totalling nearly 110 km in two days.

Strava training ride

Not all of my longer rides in July actually involved beer. Midway through the month I met up with my friend and fellow blogger Travis Paterson. We started riding the Tour de Victoria together several years ago, but he quickly moved up to longer distances. This year he is attempting the 140-km ride. I wrote “attempting” even though I know he will conquer it no problem. Check out his July blog about climbing the Observatory Hill three times in a row — something I don’t think I could even do once!

Travis Paterson training ride

On our ride, we stopped halfway for lunch at Charlotte and the Quail, the comfy restaurant at the Gardens at HCP. It was a delicious meal, and rather than weighing ourselves down with beer, we got jacked up on coffee. All in all, it was a 32-km ride, not particularly long, but Travis pushed the pace above my normal cruising speed so it was definitely a good workout for me.

Strava training ride map

Later in July, I invited my brother Ed and a couple of friends, Chris and Mark, to join me on a ride up to North Saanich to check out a new brewery, Howl Brewing, that opened recently. A round trip of more than 60 km, this would be my longest single-day ride in recent memory, and it would definitely prove that I can complete the Tour de Victoria on August 18.

Joe Wiebe and friends training ride

It was a gorgeous, hot Sunday, and we made quick time getting to our first “hydration stop,” Category 12 Brewing, conveniently located on Keating X Rd about halfway up the Saanich Peninsula. We made such good time that we were actually early and had to wait 10 minutes for the brewery to open its tasting room at noon. Although we didn’t eat, C12 does serve pizza cooked on site by Pizzeria Prima Strada so it is a great destination on any cycling trip.

Howl Brewery

From there we rode up to the airport and then followed the “Flight Path,” a 9.3-km walking/cycling trail that encircles the airport. Next to the Fickle Fig Farm Market we spotted a sign advertising Howl Brewing and happily parked our bikes outside. This was the 37-km mark of our journey — and we still had to make our way home yet.

Danny Van Netten Howl Brewery

Howl Brewing is a tiny “nanobrewery” started by Danny Van Netten, a longtime bartender at Spinnakers Gastro Brewpub. Over the past several years he has bought and stockpiled used brewing equipment in his garage until he was finally ready to open Howl.

Howl Brewery sign

The beers were tasty — my favourite was the Blueberry Hefeweizen, and he also had an ESB and an IPA on tap for samples and growler fills. Eventually, Howl hopes to get a picnic licence so that people can enjoy food from the Fickle Fig next door along with a beer from the brewery, but for now you have to stand in the small “tasting room” area just inside the front door.

Joe Wiebe

After fuelling up we climbed back on our bikes and began the long ride home. First, we crossed over the highway to Sidney so we could ride along the coast (just like the beginning of the 45-km ride from past years). At Royal Oak some of us chose to go back over the highway so we could visit Victoria Caledonian Brewery & Distillery.

By the time I got home, I’d cycled 72.7 km, a new record for me. I felt surprisingly good, and was able to get back on my bike immediately the next day without too much soreness. All in all, this bodes well for the 60-km ride facing me on August 18. Nonetheless, I still intend to ride the route once before the big day just to make sure I know what to expect. After all, I hear there are a couple of killer hills on the route…

All I know for sure is that the reward at the end of the ride will be an ice cold Tour de Victoria Kolsch from Spinnakers, which is served at the finish line to all of those (of legal age) who want one, along with a hearty meal.

Spinnakers beer

Joe Wiebe, the “Thirsty Writer,” is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, the definitive guidebook to British Columbia’s burgeoning craft beer industry, currently in its second edition. Joe has ridden in all of the Tour de Victoria rides and will be challenging himself with the Christie Phoenix 60km this August.

Training rides making TdV seem less daunting

Happy Summer! I hope you’ve been enjoying the warmer summer weather as much as I have. It certainly has inspired me to get out on my bike more often.

Over my previous two blogs, I outlined how I was looking ahead to the Tour de Victoria with an eye to training for the new 60-km ride this year. I mentioned that I was a little nervous about it because I haven’t completed a ride of that length before — at least not since my early 20s, and that doesn’t count since that was a long time ago now…

As the weather warmed up in June, I was on my bike nearly every day, often just to run errands or attend a business meeting. Any excuse was good enough for me to jump on my bike. I did squeeze in some training rides in the 20-km range, and then on Father’s Day weekend I asked my family if I could take half of Saturday to myself for a longer ride.

training - strava route map

That ride turned out to be a 55-km trip up to Island View Beach along the Lochside Trail. I didn’t plan on going that far, but the day was so beautiful I just kept riding, and when I found myself at Michell’s Farm Market I realized how close the beach was and thought that would be a nice place to stop for a rest before heading home. Well, one thing I didn’t really consider was the steep hill between the farm and the beach. It was fairly tough to complete heading towards the beach, and then as I coasted down the slope on the other side I realized it goes down a lot further towards the beach, which would mean a pretty nasty climb on my way back out.

Island View Beach

After relaxing at the beach and munching an energy bar, I scouted around a bit to see if there was another way back to the Lochside Trail that avoided that big hill. No luck. Oh well, hill climbing is an important part of cycle training, right? (My buddy Travis Paterson certainly thinks so.) I’ll admit right here and now that I walked up most of that hill. It was just too steep and long, especially after riding about 30km already that day. But I enjoyed the glide down the other side and then rode hard all the way home, proud of breaking my previous record distance of 50 km.

A few days later, I got an email inviting me to join some friends on a weekend ride out to Sooke. The plan was to stop at breweries along the way, stay overnight, and then return home the next day. Pretty much my perfect weekend! Although I was intimidated by the prospect of riding about 100 km in two days, I felt like my experience riding to Island View Beach had proven I could handle it.

Training - Strava 60km

The weekend weather turned out to be perfect for the ride — sunny but not blazing hot, just warm enough that I didn’t need a jacket. I met 5 friends at Spinnakers on Saturday morning. Following brunch and a beer, we rode along the E&N Rail Trail to Lighthouse Brewing, where we checked out the new tasting room under construction there. From there we continued on the E&N Rail Trail out to where it joins the Galloping Goose in Colwood.

We ventured off the Galloping Goose to get to the Axe & Barrel Brewhouse, which is located on the north side of the highway in Langford. We relaxed on the patio at the brewery, enjoying flights of beers and some snacks from the pub’s kitchen.

training group ride

Then we were back on our bikes for the next leg out to Sooke. This part of the trail is quiet and secluded, travelling through some beautiful forests and along gorgeous coastlines — first Matheson Lake and then the Sooke Basin itself. Once in Sooke, we celebrated our ride at the Sooke Oceanside Brewery, conveniently located next to the Shell Station on the highway just outside of the town centre.

Training ride - Sooke

After a while we continued on to Sooke Brewing, a custom-built facility right in the heart of Sooke’s central “downtown.” A highlight there was a charcuterie tray we ordered from Black Market Meats, which is right next to the brewery. They even delivered the tray right to our patio table! We stayed in an AirBNB rental near Sooke Harbour House. Total riding on Day 1 was 58.5km. And don’t worry — we weren’t riding inebriated. We only had sample flights or a glass of beer at each “hydration stop” and we also drank plenty of water.

Training ride Strava

After dinner and some board games we all crashed. In the morning we fuelled up with coffee and breakfast scones before getting back on our bikes for the ride home. I was surprised at how good I felt following such a long ride the day before, and once we got going I felt like I could ride all day. We stopped for brunch about an hour later at the beautiful Glenrosa Farm restaurant, and then continued our ride from there to the Four Mile Brewpub in Colwood where we enjoyed one final beer before heading for home. Total riding on Day 2 was 51.4 km, making for an overall weekend total of nearly 110km.

Following those long rides I certainly feel less daunted by the prospect of completing the 60km ride at the Tour de Victoria in August. That said, I still haven’t gone 60km in one day, let along in one ride without breaks. But I recently heard about a new brewery called Howl Brewing that has opened up by the airport, which is apparently 33km from my house. Riding there and back seems like the perfect way to break the 60km barrier! Wish me luck…


Joe WiebeJoe Wiebe, the “Thirsty Writer,” is the author of Craft Beer Revolution: The Insider’s Guide to B.C. Breweries, the definitive guidebook to British Columbia’s burgeoning craft beer industry, currently in its second edition. Joe has ridden in all of the Tour de Victoria rides and will be challenging himself with the Christie Phoenix 60km this August.