weekend warrior
Oliver Evans has joined the prestigious ranks of weekend warriors. His friend Nick made the shirt he’s wearing. Photo: Nick Monette

It’s time I came out and said it. I’m… I’m becoming a weekend warrior.

I know. I’m surprised too. But maybe we should have seen this coming. I mean, I do boast about my love for group rides quite regularly and might be a little too hard on myself if I don’t “win” one. It was only a matter of time after I left professional racing before I would recognize the importance of the world’s most renowned cycling circuit: the weekly group rides.

To be honest, my training partner Nick, and I, only realized our new realities a couple of weeks ago. This transition has been a natural process; we didn’t try to become weekend warriors. One could say that the warrior life chose us and that we certainly didn’t choose it. That said, I wouldn’t trade this for anything right now and am proud to wear my warrior’s armour each weekend.

My “training” regime (perhaps riding routine is a more appropriate label) is now built around my work and school schedules, instead of the latter two being designed around a training schedule. This means that a couple of times per week I’m out the door by 6 am to hammer for an hour and a half while still having some time to cram as much school work in as I can before heading to work for most of the day.

The bulk of my riding happens on Saturday and Sunday. I have to make the most of these two days, otherwise I miss my window to ride before being back at work during the week. Saturday is the Oak Bay group ride and Sunday is generally a long adventure.

Nick and I start on Friday morning with the Tripleshot group ride. After roughly 40 km spent racing along the water, we do a five-lap ‘crit’ around Beacon Hill Park in Victoria. It’s important that one of us wins. This is a good warm-up for Saturday, when we head to the 90-km group ride. Nick usually “peaks” for the Saturdays when he’s not working, and takes each Oak Bay ride by storm. I do my best to follow his wheel or do us proud on the days that he can’t show. If homework permits, we will continue after the finishing sprint and get a few more kilometres in.

On Sundays, we try our best to get a long endurance ride in. We also, usually, ride hard on the hills, not because we plan to, but because it’s the weekend and on the weekend we are warriors.

Like I said, we didn’t become weekend warriors by choice. Now that cycling isn’t my top priority, I’ve had to adjust and find ways to squeeze riding into my schedule. It’s quite incredible, I think, the effect that this has had. With so few opportunities to ride, I suddenly find myself taking whatever chance I have to get a ride in; whether it’s at 5:45 a.m., 7 p.m. (after work) or on the weekend. When training was all I had to do, I only ever wanted to do it in the midmorning. And, I often didn’t look forward to it. Now though, riding is a treat and I excitedly pounce on any opportunity I have to do it during the week.

I had anticipated having a hard time waking early to ride in order to accommodate school and work. I thought that after having trouble with riding alone, juggling three commitments would be impossible. The effect, however, has been quite the opposite. Balance has never been more evidently key to me.

For most people, the weekend is when you can spend a few extra hours in the saddle. I’m surprised at my appreciation for this sort of lifestyle. I can’t wait to get out and ride this weekend and I no longer care what the weather will be. It’s my opportunity to ride, so I will no matter what. After all, on the weekend I’m a warrior, so I can’t let the rain stop me!

Oliver Evans 20-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg who will be racing with Trek Red Truck Racing in 2019 currently living, riding, studying and working in Victoria.

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