About Sara

Sara Byers is a Elite Canadian Provincial and National Champion in road and track cycling. Based in Niagara and racing with
Kallisto-FCV p/b Toyo Tires (Forest City Velodrome) and Canada's National Sprint Team, upcoming goals include
2015 Pan Am Championships, Track World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympics.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

National Track Camp Continued

..continuing from last post. The rest of the LA trip is best told with a photo collage ;) Thank you family and friends once again for your support in helping to make this happen!

Ontario High Performance Camp-ees.
Arrived after 8 hours of delays -
Staff thought 'Extended Stay America
 was really funny on my customs ticket.

Going back a bit.. after flight cancellations and delays I landed with fellow Ontarians at LAX well after scheduled track time on first day. Everyone arrived at different times We were split up on various flights and I lucked out with the only direct flight. Jeff ran a tight ship on the LA end of things with his taxi/grocery service. Last few hours of the day held a trip to the hotel, groceries, dinner, team meeting and building road & track bikes in prep for morning ride. We woke early and rode a few minutes down the road to the Home Depot Velo Sports Center. This Youtube video shows how it looks to go for a few laps.

Infield included basketball courts, weights areas.
White line start/finish, entrance is also there.
The set up/rest area was infield on far right.

The first couple of days of building and changing gears and bars to ride was rough. I felt like a big spaz, my bike and I were smudged all over with grease and blood. By pack up time at the end of the week I was much quicker, more confident and actually enjoyed the process of taking bikes apart and packing things in order.

I have to admit that bike mechanics have not been a strong suit of mine. Rushing to excel in the sport, the majority of my attention was devoted to gaining strength and tactical understanding for competition. I am now an advocate for complete self sufficiency in all aspects of the sport. The act of tearing down and building up my ride has been a freeing experience, akin to first learning how to fix a flat and the realization that I was then able to go on epic solo rides!

I apologize for the absence of pictures from this trip. It is a sure sign of hard work and fun times. Generally the daily routine ran from 7am-10pm. The regular schedule included: Coffee - breakfast - 3hrs of track riding - lunch - coffee - 2hrs of road riding - dinner - coffee - team meeting - sleep (insert snacks and additional coffee as needed).

Favourite pic: Blue sky & plam trees at the front door of the hotel. Ride meeting place.
I talked a bit about how we trained in the last post. We had some time for fun too. Coach Jeff scored box tickets to an LA Galaxy game & Coach Rob contributed hot chocolate and snacks when the weather turned nasty and we retreated to the shelter of the box. I can't say we really had much of a clue about what was going on, but we had fun times trying to figure it out and watching spectator mayhem. We all had a great time! Regrettably, we didn't make it to go-karts during the week but we did finish it off with coffee and dinner by the ocean. I tried fish tacos because they seemed odd and local :) Good stuff.

Sombreros, Chihuahua flags, nachos and
fragrance of cheesy/spicy/wrapped things.
LA Camp Team before the deluge of rain hit.

The end of the camp came way too fast and our last day was an early one. We pursuited and sprinted our legs off, dismantled and packed bikes and cleaned up before the long trip ahead. The camp experience was remarkable in the professionalism and caring attitude of everyone involved. It is fantastic that a group assembled from across Canada can immediately make that connection and support each other in the awesome achievements that we saw in those short few days. Team pursuit at speed takes a lot of trust and we nailed it!

The floor quickly filled with bikes & bags and bags of bikes.
LA track is a second home for Canada's team. We have our own trailer for gear, on the left.

We hurried to squeeze in one last LA thing, Chipotle's, then checked in at the airport with good time only to find a delay (again) of (drumroll please) another 8hrs! Thankfully, the FCV gang was together again for the wait and we entertained ourselves by talking about the coming race season and debating whether our togetherness was the reason for our cursed flight delays.

My theory of staying awake until 'normal' sleeping time on the plane to arrive home un-lagged completely backfired. I stared at sparkly city lights out the window and compared the flight map to tour the expanse of the country in my head. Flight is such a novelty. I am completely taken with it. The feeling at take off and landing is the same rush I get sprinting to a win. I am as amazed as an awestruck astronaut at the sights of city patterns, snow covered mountains and hanging with the sun and clouds.

For whatever reason, we flew a loop over the ocean before heading home.
How did they know that was on my wishlist? Bye, until next time LA!

In the last hour, I watched the sun rise, and the snow creep in the closer we came to Toronto. Since coming home I've been resting up, and catching up. Dave and I are getting ready now for a week's trip to North Carolina and so excited for bluegrass, warmer climate and tearing each others legs off through the mountains. Countdown to the first Ontario race begins!