The backbone of every bike riders “best-season” can nearly always be traced to their off-season preparation.
For cyclists looking to develop their fitness, the off-season will undoubtedly include a healthy dose of “base-miles”, i.e. sub-threshold riding at a steady-pace and even power output.
Because of this there are plenty of off-season training camps, in which road cyclists can feed their need for sub-threshold work, while avoiding the inevitable boredom and burnout that comes with endless solo-miles.
One ‘camp’ that has developed a reputation for combining solid training with great community is the annual 4-Days To Fitness in Santa Clarita, CA.
Having attended every edition of this training camp, we thought it best to chronicle what makes it a ‘must do’ for so many SoCal bike riders in this edition of the BWC Event Profile. Enjoy!
The peloton of riders was massive for each day of this years' 4-Days To Fitness. Photo Credit: Austin Cooper
When: Annually, The Event Coincides With The New Years Holiday
Where: Santa Clarita, CA.
The Riding: Four consecutive days of endurance/tempo-paced rides, with various re-grouping points and long/short route options, plus a few hard-efforts sprinkled along the route to keep things interesting.
For More Information: https://www.facebook.com/events/120514458643111/
Now that you know the essentials of the event, let's answer three questions commonly asked about 4-Days To Fitness:
4-Days To Fitness is a series of 'unsupported' rides, but there always seems to generous volunteers that make the time to look after this weary bunch of bike riders! Photo Credit: Austin Cooper
#1- What Makes 4-Days To Fitness Special?
Admittedly we are biased, but the growing number of participants, each year, shows that we are not the only ones that think 4-Days To Fitness is a great event.
The first and most important thing that makes a training camp good is the ride routes, and 4-Days To Fitness does not disappoint!
With a great blend of open-roads, steady climbs, and even some mixed-terrain, there is plenty of variety to help keep the miles ticking-by for even the most seasoned-rider.
But a second and almost equally important component of a good training camp is the people you will train with. At 4-Days To Fitness, there is a wide variety of abilities, but the common thread is a love for cycling and an excitement for what the New Year will bring!
This combination of great training and passionate cyclists makes for a unique event that sees riders of all levels returning year after year to enjoy 4-Days To Fitness.
There is no shortage of quiet roads with beautiful views in the mountains around Santa Clarita. Riders at 4-Days To Fitness are treated to plenty of both. Photo Credit: Austin Cooper
4-Days In A Row Sounds Rough, Why So Much Volume?
Going back to our opening statement, cycling is a sport that rewards Athletes that “put in the time”. That is to say that, generally speaking, more miles means more fitness.
As Coaches, we know there is a limit and there should be an asterisk to that adage notating quality versus quantity, but everyone can agree, that a 4-day training block, when recovered from, will offer a significant boost in fitness.
What’s more, learning to dose efforts wisely, developing an ability to push beyond fatigue, and honing day-to-day recovery, as well as understanding the hydration and nutrition requirements that come along with training 4-days consecutively is knowledge that every cyclist can benefit from.
Although the majority of the rides feature a steady-pace, there are a few 'throw-down' portions where riders can go hard and test their fitness. The healthy competition always brings out the best in the group! Photo Credit: Byron Davis
Which Day Is, ‘The Best’?
We are partial to each day, for different reasons, so we can’t choose a favorite, but we will say this:
The first day is nearly always the biggest, rolling-out of the start with 150-riders in tow makes for a sight to behold!
The routes on days 2 & 3 are pretty awesome, with day-3 having a whole lot of sustained climbing to maximize the training benefit.
With that said, day-4 is something altogether special as weary riders, having completed each of the previous days, head-out on what is essentially a reverse route of day-1, with some extra-credit.
That is generally when riders in the peloton begin to realize that they have developed a special bond and familiarity with those around them. It's a unique camaraderie that only 4-days of tough bike riding can forge!
So maybe that makes day-4 our favorite…
Riding multiple hours in close-proximity makes it easy to build a special bond wit the rider next to you. This notion ensures the peloton of 4-Days To Fitness will keep growing! Photo Credit: Austin Cooper
We hope you have enjoyed reading about the annual 4-Days To Fitness training camp and that it has sparked your interest to possibly attend next year!
For those newsletter readers in SoCal, we highly recommend attending at least one-day, but hopefully the entire camp!
With each ride being free, as in zero cost, plus the benefit of riding with a peloton full of cycling friends, these rides are sure to be some of the best you do all year.
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, And Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching