By Dave Jackson
This year has been very different from others. More training and less racing, but hey that’s how it goes sometimes. When I moved to Victoria 2 years ago, I faced many challenges, mainly living on my own for the first time, learning to cook, do laundry while working and training and overcoming a sense of loneliness. Thanks to the biking community here and the opportunity to train year-round I have succeeded. That is the amazing thing about Victoria it has provided me with a once in a lifetime experience. When my anxiety gets the better of me, I know I can always get on my bike and ride, walk to the beach and listen to the calming waves, or visit the ducks in Beacon Hill Park.
This year due to the Covid19 pandemic there has been less events than usual but that has given me the opportunity to perfect skills and techniques as well as fitness and endurance. During the January and February months before it was made official, I was training hard doing the PCC camps and daily weekend rides as well as fitness training at the gym, my favorite being the Crystal Pool Fitness Center. When March came, I was looking forward to going to my first spring series race over in Langley but due to the Covid 19 health restrictions it was canceled, and soon followed most of the other events that were planned on my schedule for this year. I had to coherently change my training back to winter training for a little while more until it got nicer outside.
Focusing on more endurance and fitness as well as leg strength training, pounding it hard up Willis Point and Goldstream Heights, most training days consisted of 2 to 4hrs rides as I took the time to explore more of Vancouver Island finding new roads to train on, some of them being Salt Spring Island, Duncan, Port Renfrew and Cowichan Lake. With all the beauty Victoria and Vancouver Island has to offer it seem only fitting to challenge myself to a 271km and 181 km ride. This is something that I probably would never have done if I had remained in the Yukon. I am so lucky to have the time and opportunity to ride in this piece of Paradise. The scenes that I have seen are unforgettable with putting in over 600 km some weeks and lots of hours on the bike feeling absolutely amazing. There is nothing more relaxing than being outside in the fresh air taking on new adventures. In July I was feeling prepared for the first races of the season knowing that all my effort and hard work payed off. I am super happy with my achievements and improvements knowing I am much stronger this year than last.
Next weekend I will finally be returning home to Whitehorse Yukon after 8 months to do training in a different environment, where the winds blow strong and the roads curve and bend up and down weaving past canyons and ski hills, mountains and crystal-clear lakes. This can only add to my strength and endurance training as I reconnect with my family for the first time in months. As my coach Houshang Amiri, who’s endless knowledge and amazing training always says "There is always time for improvement". This pandemic has been challenging but the skills I have learned as a cyclist have helped me to endure, and as my favorite cyclist Peter Sagan says " I started with big dreams, big dreams that turn into challenges, challenges that shift to goals, goals become reality. Keep riding, keep challenging yourself and keep learning. Biking is the life and life is good.