registration last month for the 2015 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx
Okanagan (PGAMO), the response has been tremendous. And we’d like to
thank new and returning riders for their ongoing support as we head
into our 5th year.
We’re also thrilled that Westjet now flies direct from Calgary to
Penticton, making it much easier for participants in Alberta and
further East to join us in July. Major stakeholders in the City of
Penticton worked very hard to secure this service, so we are very
grateful. As well, we are extremely excited to welcome back some of our
amazing sponsors, such as Manning Elliott and Ramada Penticton.
those of you already registered for the 2015 PGAMO, your
commemorative 5th anniversary arm warmers will be shipped to you very
shortly. For everyone else, sign-up now as we still have some Limited
Edition arm warmers remaining (as reminder, the first 500 to register
receive a pair of black PGAMO arm warmers made by Italian performance
apparel maker, Alé).
Want more reason to sign up early? Right now the Super Early Bird
prices are in effect until January 5th, 2015 (2 p.m. PST) – these are
the lowest prices of the year! As well, soon we’ll announce details of
our next Trek Bike Giveaway, so you won’t want to miss it!
has now been about four months since the 2014 PGAMO and, yes, we are
already busy making sure our 5th edition next July is even better.
Summer was very busy for myself, and the Bissell Development Team. My
riders challenged some pretty scary races under some pretty crazy
weather conditions this year. From the toughness of the Tour of Utah,
through the frightening rain-drenched dirt descent of the U.S. Pro
Challenge in Colorado, I’m proud to say we posted some great results.
The Tour of Alberta in September was also an absolute high. Ruben
Zepunkte won the opening stage and finished third overall, despite some
epic Alberta weather. Zepunkte will be riding for Team Garmin-Sharp
next season, joining a long line of development team alums who have
graduated to the Pro Tour ranks. His and the team’s success will help
us as we continue our hard work to persuade sponsors to keep believing
in this program.
Our Axel Merckx Youth Cycling Series weekends in Victoria in July and
Kelowna in September were also great successes. No less than 65
participants between the ages of 10 and 18 took part in our camps,
which included some pretty amazing coaches. It’s exciting to see so
many kids take an interest in cycling in a country that is starting to
show its real talent in the sport. Now we all know about Steve Bauer,
Svein Tuft, Catharine Pendrel, Clara Hughes and Christian Meier, but
thanks to a great cooperation with Cycling BC, and particularly its
executive director, Richard Wooles, we are seeing some fresh, young
talent coming through. Our objective is to foster youth cycling in
British Columbia for now, and hope that with the help of Cycling Canada
and provincial cycling associations we can build up cycling across the
The Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation has also started a local
youth club in Kelowna that will be called, “The Red Devils.” Many local
cyclists have shown an interest in helping us set up this club, and we
are looking forward to our first training rides on the Kelowna roads in
April. A lot of interest has already come our way and we are making
sure that this will be a fun, safe and enriching experience for our
Once again, my cycling friends, none of this would have been possible
without the support of some great sponsors and everyone who
participates in the Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan.
I wish you all a safe ride over the next few weeks and more than
ever…Ride Hard. Smile Often!
Sponsor Spotlight: Tree
is back for a fifth year and we
couldn’t be happier. Ever
since our inaugural year, PGAMO finishers have enjoyed a complimentary,
ice-cold Tree Brewing craft beer at the finish line. Let’s just say
this is one well-received tradition.
As well as crafting some delicious beer, Tree is also an amazing
supporter of the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation.
These are exciting times for Tree Brewing. Earlier this year, Tree
opened their acclaimed Beer Institute in Kelowna, B.C. – a
state-of-the-art facility complete with a beer shop, a tasting room
with unfiltered “tank to tap” beer, and a classroom used to educate
craft beer newbies and established connoisseurs on the entire
“It’s all about the beer. We want to educate people about beer, not
just Tree Brewing beer, but craft in general,” says Tod Melnyk, Tree’s
president and owner.
those who sign-up for the 2015 PGAMO, stop by the new Tree Brewing
Beer Institute (1346 Water St., Kelowna), show them proof of your 2015
PGAMO registration (a confirmation e-mail on your smart phone works!),
and Tree will buy you a flight of craft beer.
With the fall upon us, check out the following Tree Brewing seasonal
and limited releases:
Training Article: Periodization
for Granfondo Riders
- Knox Mountain
Brown Ale Special Edition released in the 650ml bottle November 2014.
This medium-bodied brown ale has pronounced toast and roasted malt
aromas leading to a nutty caramel flavour.
- Vertical Winter
Ale is now available in 6-pack cans. This winter seasonal is medium
bodied with nut and caramel flavours. The beer finishes smooth with a
subtle hint of vanilla.
training article comes courtesy of Jay Shapka, owner of
Vancouver’s Cyklus Indoor Cycling Studio.
You’re likely familiar with the infamous training techniques used by
Eastern Bloc athletes to achieve superior performance in endurance
sports during the cold war. Allusions to special drugs and performance
enhancing magic that came out of some secret state run lab in East
Germany. The truth is a little bit more positive. Yes, there certainly
were drugs, but there was also a new method of training, and
interestingly, its roots came from Austrian-Canadian scientist Hans
Selye’s work at McGill University in Canada.
Selye’s research on adaptive stress response indirectly led to the work
of Romanian (now Canadian) Tudor Bompa, who coached athletes to
groundbreaking performances in the early sixties. While in Romania,
Bompa trained atheletes who won eleven Olympic medals and two world
championships. The innovation these men discovered was a training
discipline called periodization.
The idea behind periodization is simple: the theory of adaptive stress
response holds that peak intensity is an unsustainable state and must
be balanced by periods of lowered stress or adjusted focus. Ignore this
important concept and risk maladaptive psychobiological responses to
your training loads. Simply put, if you do not give your body time to
heal and strengthen, your performance will plateau, or worse,
Or look at it from another way – periodization allows you the time to
create a training road map where strengths are built up individually
over time with training that is focused on single and specific
performance attributes. It allows you to temporarily ignore some
aspects of training and focus on others with the confidence that the
end result will be greater and more durable athletic performance. But
here lies the biggest challenge of periodized training: Discipline. In
the early stages of a periodization program, you must have the
discipline to go slow… in order to go fast later.
the three stages
Selye's Generalized Adaptation Syndrome model from the 1930s
comprises of three stages, and remains relevant today. The
stage, according to Selye, is the alarm state. This state is triggered
by the intense use of a muscle that is unsustainable. In fact, the
alarm state is characterized by a reduction in the capacity or
performance of the physiological system in use. Your body recognizes
this and reroutes resources to repair and renew tired and damaged
tissues. The second stage is adaptation – this is the body's response
to repair the damage and renew the functional capacity. The reason
training works is because the body ‘supercompensates’. When asked to do
a difficult amount of work, the body rises to the occasion, marshals
its energy, and afterward intelligently plans ahead for the next
difficult event by attempting to build extra capacity.
It is the supercompensating response that clarifies the reason
periodization is such a successful training strategy. If you think
about it, you will quickly realize that a constant state of
supercompensation is not sustainable in the long term. We all know of
someone who has over-trained. Clearly that does not work. Athletes that
train smarter extract the maximum amount of adaptation (and
supercompensation) from the body before driving the body to Selye's
third state – exhaustion.
Exhaustion is just what it sounds like. The body's supercompensation
response is sidelined for an extended breather. While sidelined, the
body does not recover, and athletic performance decreases. This is also
known as over-training. An extended recovery period is required
to escape this exhaustion phase, and during that long period the body
can lose the acquired gains. Training too hard for too long is thus a
counterproductive strategy that will lead to sickness and chronic
injury due to the body’s exhausted state.
So you can see the primary goal of periodization is to focus training
on one physiological system or function at a time, to train it to
extract the maximum amount of supercompensation response prior to
exhaustion, and to then move to another specific physiological
aptitude, and begin again. This way we use the body’s recovery function
to its maximum capacity.
So how does one approach the seemingly onerous task of planning your
workouts for the next 8 months? To start, there are two important
features to keep in mind: First, for most people the body is close to
exhausting its supercompensation capacity after four to six weeks of
moderate to high intensity training. Second, the higher the training
the more quickly the supercompensation response is exhausted. These
facts lead to two natural conclusions: lower intensity training phases
should have higher volume and longer overall duration, and higher
intensity phases should have the inverse – fewer hours of training per
week, and shorter periods of training before maximum adaptation is
Once we have decided to build up our bodies
with a specific target in mind we can easily break down the block of
time available to us into segments. The next step is to use those
segments to effectively target specific physiological functions.
When I think of cycling, I think of three key aptitudes: a) sustainable
long endurance; b) threshold power on the edge of what can be
maintained over distance; and, c) unsustainable short efforts of
maximum power. Your long endurance faculty is obviously required in
order for you to maintain a steady pace for the majority of the long
ride. Hill climbing is the most common use of your threshold power –
you will likely wind up riding in a pack, and you will want to be able
to climb with the group lest you be dropped. Last, your maximum power
what is going to get you back on a group when you briefly fall behind,
up a short steep hill with an aggressive pack, or sprinting past your
buddies at the very end of the ride for bragging rights next
The above aptitudes are listed in order of intensity, from lowest to
highest. We should start then with the lowest intensity, as it will
take the longest to train to the limit of supercompensation. Thus, in
your eight-month block, your first months are spent building a strong
endurance base where long, low intensity rides are the majority of your
workload, and high intensity work is infrequent. This is also the time
to train technique. Make sure you lock in proper bike form as early as
you can on the bike, as practice makes permanent. Fortunately, low
intensity longer rides are exactly the right time to learn to settle
those hips and calm that upper body to maximize an efficient pedaling
In block two, the focus changes to riding for increasing durations at
or near your functional threshold power. This is go time – fast riding,
hill repeats, and hard intervals. Your workouts will trend toward
shorter, faster, more intense rides, and the long slow recovery ride
will be relegated to as little as once per week. Incrementally increase
the duration and intensity of your threshold intervals each week, while
also increasing your recovery time slightly on the same schedule. Now
is also the time to introduce long recovery rides at low intensities to
maintain the base of endurance you built earlier.
Remember to always watch for signs of injury and excessive exhaustion.
It’s not productive to slavishly adhere to a training regimen that is
ramping up at a pace your body cannot sustain. If suspect your body is
slipping into the exhaustion phase, it likely is. Certainly more
attention to your sleep, diet, and training volume/intensity would be
warranted. If you are not feeling good about your training, spend the
time to find out why exactly. Don't be afraid to slow or pause your
weekly intensity increase.
About five or six weeks out from your Granfondo you will begin to focus
your training on short anerobic intervals that are very intense. This
is the time to go hard, to do sprints up a short hill, to blast along
in a 30-second sprint, or to crush it in that early morning spin class.
If you have properly prepared your body by building a solid base in the
early months of your training, you likely will now feel more
comfortable on the bike, riding with better technique, and have more
confidence than ever before. You will know you are both psychologically
and physiologically prepared to ride your best Granfondo. At this
point, your training volume and intensity will both be almost at their
preparations before the big ride
The last week before the big ride is very unique to the individual. If
this is your first Granfondo, you will have a lot of planning to do
(How much water? How much food? How hard to go out of the gate? How
deep to go up those hills?). Some will keep training right up to the
day, Some will reduce intensity and some will reduce volume. There is
no single right answer, but after months of careful work, you will be
much better equipped to make your decision than you were before you
paid so much attention to a training road map.
Once your cycling season winds down, take that well-earned rest, let
any minor injuries heal, and recharge your psychological state. Come
early winter, begin to plan, choose your goal, and target it with the
knowledge you learned over the previous year. You are now well schooled
in the gold standard of training used by professional endurance
athletes all over the world. You have a toolbox filled with knowledge
and organized by a method that will allow you, should you choose, to
reset your athletic goals quite a bit higher than before. You are no
longer winging it – you now have a plan, and a likely a very good idea
of what you can achieve.
has applied periodized
training in the disciplines of rock climbing, criterium and fondo
riding, and motorcycle roadracing. He is the owner of Cyklus
Indoor Cycling Studio in Vancouver, B.C. Visit them in Vancouver (889
Expo Blvd.) or check them out online at: http://cyklusvancouver.com.
Devils Youth Cycling Team
Coming up in 2015, the Axel Merckx Youth Development Foundation
will launch Red Devils Youth Cycling, a team for young cyclists 11 to
18 years of age and based in the Okanagan. The program will feature
high-level coaching and offer young riders a chance to learn and race.
Proceeds from each 2015 PGAMO registration help support the Axel Merckx
Youth Development Foundation.
The 2015 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan is proud to partner
with some of the best companies, organizations and local governments in
in Sponsoring the 2015 Prospera Granfondo Axel Merckx Okanagan?
sponsor today. The benefits that come from your association
with one of the premiere athletic and cultural events of the summer are
obvious. Strong brand. Well organized. Great cause. With as many
as 3,000 cyclists and countless friends and family members taking part,
your name and brand will be front-and-centre throughout the weekend.
For information on sponsorship opportunities, e-mail: email@example.com