First Time at Bike Camp
By: Torin Halsted
This last weekend was a weekend of firsts. Not only was this my first year going to the Anza Borrego Bike Camp, this was my first time ever camping and my first time going on long bike rides two days in a row. Luckily, I was not alone as a first timer; I was accompanied by six other freshmen as well as many other athletes for which this is their first year on the team, and I suspect that like me, they embraced this adventure and signed up for Bike Camp without knowing what to expect.
I was picked up on Friday at one o’clock by the team President (Charlie Chen) and Vice-President (Jason Pianalto), yet despite their high positions on the team they were happy to include me and fill me in on how things go down at the camp. After an easy two-hour drive, we were the first to arrive at our campsite in the desert and we had three hours to relax, study, and toss the Frisbee before heading to Los Jilbertos for Mexican food. After dinner, the team grouped around the campfire and we got to know each other as the final members of the team arrived. Finally, I went to bed under the Milky Way, watching shooting stars as I fell asleep.
Saturday morning most of the team woke up around seven o’clock and we had breakfast before rolling out of the campsite around nine o’clock for our ride. For some of my teammates, this was their first ride on new road bikes with clip-in shoes, which would prove to be an adventure. For me, this was my first time riding in a group, so I had fun learning how to do rotating draft lines and picking up on various pieces of biking etiquette necessary to keep everyone safe. As packs split off on the ride, I challenged myself to ride at a faster pace than I am comfortable. Shortly after the turn-around point at thirty miles, I hit a wall. Within a matter of minutes I was reduced to panting as I dropped off pace behind the group. Just when I thought that I was in for an excruciating ride back to camp, my teammates slowed down and to inform me that I was riding on a flat back tire. With a little help from the more experience bikers in my group, I changed the flat and we were back on the road. By the end of the ride, the body had in a state of exhaustion, yet it was a good experience because it helped me to learn the limits of how hard I can push my body.
The team spent Saturday afternoon and evening the same way as Friday: bonding, eating, and recovering from our ride to prepare our bodies for the next day. Sunday morning we packed up the campsite before leaving on our second and final ride of the weekend. Compared to the day before, the weather was much cooler, which was nice, but there was also a wind. Although I rode only forty miles Sunday compared to sixty on Saturday, the wind and the added hills made the ride seem just as difficult.
By noon the exhausted team was back from the bike ride and we hit the road, driving to Saint Ysabel where we stopped a Dudley’s for sandwiches and visited the Julian Pie Company to finish off the weekend on a sweet note. As we drove back to campus, it started to rain and I was thankful that the rain had no effect on our great weekend.