The crisp, thin air of Colorado has been replaced with thick, warm, moist ocean breezes. The snow-covered fields, barren, brown hills, and icy mountain roads are a thing of distant memory for me as we ride past palm tree-lined beaches and up steep winding roads melting with black tar. Nestled in the coastal mountains between Malibu and Agoura Hills, our team camp has been filled with days of relentless sunshine and tear-inducing laughs, reacquainting ourselves with one another by riding bikes and making inside jokes that no one else will ever find funny but will set the tone for the rest of the year. There’s no better way to start out the season.
Our team camp, situated the week before Sand Dimes, the first USA crit series race in Tucson, and Redlands is half training camp and half get to know each other camp. We’re staying at a Salvation Army summer camp– like the place kids would go for summer camp–not the place where they force laborers to produce mass amounts of pocket knives. Out in the woods, deep set between steep, boulder-strewn cliffs, it’s sort of dissapointing to be here only for bike training purposes, considering there’s 100 miles of hiking trails right outside our door, the ocean is about five miles away with crystal blue water, good waves, and sunny beaches, and there’s a basketball court, ping pong table, AND a cappuccino machine within walking distance right outside!
Unlike a true training camp where the point is to tear one’s legs to pieces during a ten day suffer fest, we’re all slightly tentative to really dig deep this week, considering the important races coming up in the next two weeks. Damn races always interfering with training! But this hasn’t stopped us from going a few rounds in the ring and sorting out who’s top dog. Everyone’s a winner on our team so there’s a contest and a blue ribbon for each participant:
The two KOMs have been won by none other than Jesse and Ian. Jesse is like 190 kg and Ian’s calves are both pregnant with triplets, so to see them climbing so well is scary for what awaits their competition during flatter races where big power is key.
The crashing award goes to me. I tasted pavement approximately 21 seconds on our second ride of the week in the parking lot and broke my bike over a particularly cruel speed bump. I’m not complaining too much, since I ended up getting a brand new bike. It’s bitter sweet since I’d spent a solid four hours cleaning and fixing the old one up two nights before. *Edited* My old bike ended up not being that broken so I had to give the new one back :-(
The food consumption award goes to Wingfield. Normally I would have won this category, but for some reason Winger has been packing his cheeks full like a squirrel readying for the winter. He’s been eating like a starving child eats in their dreams. He’s eating so much that his teeth have become visibly worn down in the last two days. In fact I’d go so far to say that he’s eating like a caged, starved Spencer who’s just escaped his cage and has broken into a Carl’s Junior. Winger, it DOES show. Just kidding. No but seriously, it really does show. No but seriously, I actually won the eating category.
The pro award goes to Jon. I mean the bro award.
Vein award: Danny. If Danny’s veins were in the same room as Lang’s, they’d likely get in a fist fight, have a truce, not talk to each other for a week, get in another fight, come to another truce, then make vein babies once their rage was recognized as passion.
Rooming with Winger award: Gabe
Most sunscreen used award/not enough sunscreen used award: Marcel
Best youtube throwback quote award: Colin. “I fuckin shower in that shit”.
Dan and David don’t get awards.
There are many walk in fridges and freezers to raid here.
Just act natural guys.
Okay that’s better Colin.
Ian’s always happy to go for a ride.
Jesse in a pair of podium legs. He spent about 3 hours in them.