Chris Pennifold’s Bright Boot Camp Ride Report
Hi David et al,

Well, simply put “Bright Boot Camp surpassed all expectations!” I learned a lot about myself, a lot from other riders and the support crew/teams. As you know, I did two camps back in 2009, so I had a reasonable understanding of the challenges ahead. The camp, this time, around was a key component of an early season endurance and strength building phase, and I set myself a set of objectives before the camp for each day/climb.

The Buffalo climb was going to be quite an intense session as it was the opportunity to measure current progress with fresher legs. This climb is a great introduction for both the mind and body to respond to. The next three days were always going to be a measure of base fitness provided the intensity was held at a sustainable level consistently without going too deep early in the rides.

With gearing and cadence always being discussed across the cycling and triathlon communities in the last couple of years I have always found mixed views, messaging and evidence as to what is the best. More recently and for this camp, I have gone back towards mid-compact and bigger cassette range with the view of better to have more gears available than less!. Although my TT bike has mid-compact, the road bike I had at the camp currently has a 53-39 with 11-28, and I found that I was a bit short of gears. A higher cadence in the right gear would have been better for the heart rate and also been more effective regarding control of power and speed. Every ride is a learning session and a bigger one when tackling the Alpine terrain across multiple days.

Throughout all rides/sessions, I really enjoyed the chats, advice, and encouragement from other riders and the support teams – whenever you start to feel it a simple remark or piece of advice from anywhere in the pack can lift you enough to re-focus, and that is often all it takes. Riding both with and for each other is priceless at times! The final day was the ‘icing on the cake’ as after three really solid days there was the opportunity to test and validate recovery, endurance, and mental focus. We had some solid sections which more than worked the already tired legs and that final climb led by the State of Matter guys was a challenge with a few of us giving it all we had left in the tank during that final 500m which left us all with huge smiles and congrats along with a massive Endorphin rush, “Oh bring them on!”

All the Coaching staff, support riders, support team and the State of Matter team were fantastic providing myself, and I know others with an extremely positive experience that will help with riding/racing targets later in the year and as equally important the memories of comradeship, encouragement, competitive spirits and banter, joyous exclamations when the target/summit was reached and just good fun within an exhilarating environment and surrounds – “Cycling magic!”

Many thanks and kind regards

Chris Pennifold