Senior Arkansas Team Trip

Danger High Cliff Sign - Mount Magazine, AR

Team GP VeloTek recently completed their 6th Annual Senior Team training camp. The “senior” team trip was introduced to complement the annual junior nationals trip. Instead of sitting around on trainers or riding in poor road conditions, the team heads south each winter for a weekend of riding. This year, twelve senior riders traveled to Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday night, January 14th, 2011, to begin their epic road adventure. The team’s goal is to improve everyone’s abilities, from beginner to elite racer, and to build teamwork and excellence through shared misery and fun!

Saturday the team drove 2 hours to Paris, Arkansas to begin the ascent of the north face of Magazine Mountain, the highest mountain between the Appalachians and the Colorado Rockies. The north face isn’t terribly steep, but it’s a long climb of over 40 minutes with many ups and downs. Once we crested the summit we descended the sandy and twisty south face and traversed the road to Danville, Arkansas to try the Danville climb. It is much shorter than Mount Magazine at just 3KM but is steeper and very challenging. After everyone made it back down into Danville, we  rode back to the south face of Magazine Mountain, which is a steady 7% grade for 4 miles.  The Team GP VeloTek course record stands at 32 minutes by National Champion Mark Smelser.  At the end of the day most of us had ridden for approximately 6 hours with over 8000 feet of climbing. Like always, temps were 20 degrees warmer than Kansas City and Lawrence, Kansas and the winds were much calmer. The Mount Magazine ride is designed to really test early season fitness levels while still allowing you to ride at your own pace. Usually one or two riders crack and need to be car-lifted back to Paris.

Sunday we rode the Joe Martin Stage Race road course and Hell’s Kitchen with its 18 percent grades. In my 39 x 25 gear combination and pedaling at 20 rpm I had trouble preventing my rear wheel from slipping out on the sand and gravel from a previous snow storm. The Hell’s Kitchen climb is only a mile, but it is a grind.

This fantastic training camp happens every year over Martin Luther King weekend. Team GP VeloTek heads south for a weekend of great riding and team-building. Be sure to plan for next year’s January team trip, and don’t be afraid if you have never ridden much more than a few hours, we’ll work with you. Team GP VeloTek offers a fun and challenging environment to improve your cycling and overall fitness.

 written by: Team GP VeloTek founder and coach Jim Whittaker