A Little Over a Week In The Life Of Mel

One of the most common questions I get is “what do you do for training?” My answer is always “depends”.  Training is dependent on my recovery, do I need to do more, do I need to do less and can I fit more into my schedule or not?  Sometimes my schedule ends up not being perfect for training but close enough to get the work done.  This was the case over the last 12 days.  I had some sponsor commitments to attend to but I was also in Southern California with an opportunity to train with some exceptionally strong riders so it was an opportunity not to be missed.  So I thought I would record in point form the itinerary from the past few days along with some photos on what some of the commitments of a pro athlete look like…. so here goes the RECAP….


Dean, Mel, Mary, Becky, Taylor, Craig, Ricky and Dennis and their Gold Dudes

Wednesday:  Easy 90 minute ride before flying to Salt Lake City.  Still recovering from the flu and feeling horrible.

Thursday:  Wake up in Salt Lake City.  Easy run on the treadmill for 45 minutes.  Struggling to run 8 miles per hour.  Quit early.  At the trade show with Avia and out to dinner that evening.

Friday:  Early morning run on the treadmill.  Ran 70 minutes with 45 minutes base at 8.5 mi/h and 1%.  Not a hard day but could feel a bit of the altitude… still feeling much better.  Swam 4 km at the Steiner Pool.  Swim was awful as I was out of the water for 6 days being sick.  Back to the trade show for awhile then off to the airport to catch a flight to Los Angeles.  Delayed 5 hours.  Got to destination Temecula at 3 am.  Yuck.

Hilly and beautiful Temecula countryside

Saturday:  Easy morning getting together with Kim and Brent, my homestay for about 5 days, gathering some snacks, building my bike, sleeping in and wasting time.  Rode 2 hours easy.  Discovered Temecula pool is closed.  Started investigation into where I am going to swim.  Team Ouch (men’s road cycling team) presentation that evening. I am staying with the team sponsor so I attended.  Nice to see two Canadians on the squad – go Cam and Pinner!

Sunday:  Ouch sponsor ride which started way to slow then got very hard near the end.  Made the selection to the front group with the team although it nearly killed me. Having the flu has sapped all of my power and it is slow to come back even though I feel much better.  Added on the De Luz “Floyd’s Hour of Power” loop.  We went and rode all 20-30% climbs which reduced me to a zig zag by the end.  Those are the hardest roads I have ever been on in my life.  Floyd didn’t have to zig zag but everyone else in the group did.  Tom Ritchey was on the ride.  He is a legend.  Seated zig zag on a bike circa 1990.  Good riders were reduced to pushing their bikes.  I made it but barely.

Riding the big hills with Brent and Neil.  Photo courtesy of Chris from Zoot who was also enjoying the punishment.

Monday:  Went to LA Fitness to swim in the am.  Got 1000 yards in before being kicked out by aqua aerobics.  Frustrated!  Went riding for 4:15 alone adding some climbs here and there but riding mostly easy.  Went back to the pool in the pm and got another 2700 in before being kicked out AGAIN by aqua aerobics.  Okay, now I know the gym schedule.

Tuesday:  5 hours with the Ouch team from Temecula to Oceanside and back.  The team was working on “speed”.  I was riding intermittent 150% efforts with short periods of just sort of hard.  Held the car for a bunch of climbs which was disappointing but hey…. One of those guys won the Tour de France!  It was hard…. I did the last hour alone because I was not going to be able to make it over De Luz with the boys.  I made potato and kale salad then went to the pool for 3500m of swimming.  Dinner and bed.

50km/h into a headwind on the bike path.  Good training for Mel!

Wednesday:  Climbing Palomar.  Started with the Ouch Team at the hotel.  Rode at a less brisk pace than Tuesday but when we came to an ugly steep climb for about 3km I cracked and held the car.  VERY tired from Tuesday.  The team did an extra loop so Brent, Roger, Chris and I went straight at Palomar alone.  I was blown.  Couldn’t go hard at all and could not stand up.  Rode seated and steady and went a 1:17 from the store.  Funny but this time was faster than the time I raced Robbie Ventura and I felt terrible… I think I am definitely ahead of that season.  Went to the pool in the evening and swam 4km.  Made pizza for dinner with spinach, feta and fresh tomato.  One glass of wine and I think I was super drunk.  Bed.

Thursday:  Rode the Couser Canyon loop and added the Rainbow Heights climb.  Felt pretty good!  Super windy day so I felt like I was riding in place in a couple of spots.  Did a bunch of side streets to make the ride 3h45.  Packed up and said goodbye to Kim, Brent, Billy, Michael and Justin… off to Hollywood to visit with Day’s brother and Day.  Macrobiotic food for dinner.  Finished my meal and was starving.  I think that is good for me once in a while.

Friday:  Ran in a park somewhere… all uphill running and it was a bunch of zig zags to make it an hour.  Awesome views at the top.  Did yoga in the park after.  Very L.A.  Went for a swim at the Hollywood Pool and felt awful.  Swimming 2:35s for 200 yards.  Yikes!  Went for more macrobiotic food and ate a bunch of kale.  Kale is to me what spinach was to Popeye.  Shopped on Melrose and in the Grove but bought pretty much nothing… some spf face cream is it.  Spent too much time in the mall so instead of a proper dinner we ate Whole Foods.  It was awesome though.  Drove to San Diego.

Saturday:  Did the Swamis group ride.  Was totally FUBARed at the beginning of the ride.  Dropped when it got super hard before the church.  Wanted to cry.  After the church I chose the long loop despite everyone’s warning about the long climb.  The long climb was much better, stayed in there.  I guess I just needed the other riders to get closer to how tired I was.  Fun ride.  A few famous people on the ride including Chris Horner (nicest guy in the world), Phil Zajicek and Katya Meyers.  Phil used to date a Canadian girl I know and I know some of the road folks from back in my mountain biking days when I did road races for training.  Hung out with Katya Meyers who is riding great.  That is what the only two girls on the ride do.  Back after 4h30 to the hotel, Day and I went for a delicious lunch at Zinc then cruised Cedros area of Solana Beach.   That night was the Endurance Sport Awards.  Day and I both won a cookie monster in the carnival, had a yummy dinner and I accepted the award for the GU Offroad Triathlete of the Year.  It was a fun evening with the AVIA people.  The whole crew is young, funny and energetic.  I am so lucky to be part of that team.

Julie, Day, Mel, Ed, Ike and Edna… the Avia crew at the ESA Awards

Sunday:  LATE night at the awards.  Wanted to do a trail race but couldn’t get up.  Ran in the lagoon near Solana Beach over to Rancho Santa Fe.  1h40 run then a quick swim of about 4km where I was swimming a little better… holding 1:12 for 100 yards which isn’t awesome but it is better.  Training done.  We made our way up the 101 towards LA and back to Beverly Hills.  Dinner with Day’s brother and friend at a tapas bar on Beverly Boulevard.  Fun and delicious!  The highlight was some yam fries.. can you believe that?  They were seriously incredible fries with a crazy spicy sauce.  Then I drove BACK down to Aliso Viejo to my hotel.  Monday to Sunday this week broke down to 29 hours not including core work.  Mostly cycling with 21 h on the bike, 5.5 hours of swimming and 2.5 hours of running.  Not bad given the travel and commitments.  Was suffering a bit near the end.

Home in Aliso Viejo.  This is an unusually kickass hotel.  Best ever!  Complete with some new cool clothes from Avia!!

Monday:  EARLY call to a photoshoot.  Up at 5:45am to be at El Moro Canyon for an AVIA photoshoot.  Because there is none of the new season’s clothing yet we are working with leftovers from last season…. so unfortunately, none of the clothing fits – it is either too big or too small.  I feel like an elephant in it.  There is seriously nothing worse than tri shorts that are too small that make your legs look like sausage links.  I decided to wear the too big outfit so when I ran it was riding up on my shoulders so it looks like my shoulders start at my ears.  Haha!  Luckily the photographer “BOB” (not his real name) is a wizard and they got the shots.  Done by 9am.  Wow!  Back to the hotel for a 5km swim in the beautiful salt water pool.    Not sure of times because the clock keeps getting stuck.  I am pretty sure I could swim 25 second 50s in that pool according to that clock.  Later in the day did a Pilates mat class and did some stretching.  Went to dinner with Ed, Julie and Patrick from Laguna Cyclery.  Yummy restaurant.  I have been eating pretty much vegetarian for the last 10 days so I ordered a steak.  It was incredible.


 Mel and Patrick at Laguna Cyclery in front of Ed’s AVIA Survival Van

Tuesday:  Run on the treadmill.  Might as well finish this training block off right – so I did steady tempo intervals just to get my legs turning over.  4x5mins at 10mph and 1% grade.  Felt a little harder than it should have so Monday was obviously not enough rest.  Did a cool class at the gym where we used tennis balls for myofascial release.  Fantastic!  Then I did another 4500m swim with a bunch of band pull and paddles.  Spent the rest of the day in Laguna cruising around.  Another Pilates class that evening.  Bed pretty early.

Swwwweeet pool at the Marriot Renaissance Hotel.  That entire building behind it is a gym.  Incredible!

Wednesday:  Up at 6am.  Packed the bike into the car and drove to Solana Beach.  Rode up to Carlsbad to do the Wednesday ride.  There must be 100 people that do this ride.  Starts cruisy to the army base then it winds up to like 50km/h towards Los Angeles.  Felt okay with the speed but at the last break in a fence where the group stretches to allow one rider at a time to go through (and you have to slow to a stop beforehand) I couldn’t accelerate fast enough to get back in the group.  Dropped.  Kind of glad actually, haha!  Rode with Katya until the group turned around and we got back in to ride back to San Diego.  My bike was skipping around pretty bad so I probably need to get it tuned up.  Very hard when you can’t get the gear you need when you are going 90-100%.  Enjoyed an easy cruise down the PCH to Solana Beach.  It is spectacular in San Diego in January.  I would LOVE to live there this time of year.  Back to the hotel, packed up all of my bikes (my new Specialized bikes arrived!), went for a swim then drove to the airport.  Technically missed my flight to Vancouver but a very nice Air Canada agent took pity on me and let me through.  I would have been stuck in Los Angeles overnight!  Melanie and about 800 lbs of luggage were transported back to Victoria safe and sound.  Thank you thank you Air Canada kicks ass!

Thursday:  Time for a rest and time to catch up.  So here we are!  Working on coaching, writing, and season prep.  It is a busy and interesting life! 

We are just about to invite applications to MelRad Racing.  As a Racergirl Viewer, contact us through the website if you are interested in being considered for the team.  Please keep in mind we have only 20 spots.  If you are not interested or don’t need a new Specialized bike and very, very low grassroots pricing, please do not apply.  The entire team package will go to those who want and need new bikes.  Cheers!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *