I posted a bunch of pictures from the first rest day on our team training camp last week, so I’ll kick things off by talking about what I got up to in Lanzarote with Rapha Condor Sharp.
There were a decent number of us involved the camp with 8 riders, John, Ken- one of our teams coaches, Andy- our soigneur, Pete- our mechanic and Camille- our team photographer from SHARP. Straight from the off everyone got on really well and conversation flowed easily from when we got up in the morning to when went to sleep at night. I think this transferred directly into how we rode as a team, even from our first ride together. It was made clear by John from the very start of the week that this camp was to be used to practice and hone our skills riding together properly as a team. There was no intent from anyone to try and prove themselves physically stronger or fitter than anyone else on the rides. If one of us was having a bad day, then the group would alter its pace to ensure that everyone was looked after. This mutual respect made performing and perfecting the technical aspect of our riding a lot easier. We did a series of sub-maximal efforts throughout the week including some through and off blocks and a few lead out sprints. Pretty much everything went to plan, which was surprising seeing as some of the things we were doing can be quite tricky whilst riding in the very strong winds Lanzarote is famous for. Saying that, I let the team down on one of the days… whilst sat on the back of the group I got blown off the road and then couldn’t hop back up again! Whilst it was happening I thought that it was crazy winds and I had a picture in my head of me leaning at 45 degrees, heroically managing to avoid crashing. However, to my disappointment Camille had everything on video. So after being shown it I was disappointed to see nothing crazy happens, it’s just clear that I’m just not very good at riding a bike. We had one other unfortunate moment at the beginning of the camp where Deano’s tyre blew out and sent him flying off the back of his bike! It was a fast stretch of road where we were riding at 50km/h but I think the unlucky Deano got off quite lucky in the circumstances, after only just recovering from an operation on his collar bone and somehow managing to avoid falling on his side and without landing in the endless amount of volcanic rock by the roadside- that stuff is lethal looking! Andy did a great job patching him up each day, but it still looked so painful. Climbing onto his bike each day with wounds the sides of dinner plates on both sides of his ass, made you think twice about complaining how your legs were a little bit tired!
Overall, it was a great camp. Had a good laugh with everyone, felt good on the bike, enjoyed the sun and clocked up some good km’s in the process. I’ve been home now for 5 days and haven’t really been up too much. Took a few days off the bike and then started riding again a couple of days ago.
As well as riding together well, we also looked the part (never sacrifice style for speed was mentioned a few times). We all had our matching custom Condor Leggero road bikes, our Rapha team kit and our brand new Giro gear- Aeon helmets and Prolight SLX road shoes – which are particularly nice, with Easton EC90 carbon soles and 3 Velcro straps, as I was really not a fan of the ratchets that continuously broke on the shoes I had last season!
I’m at home now for a couple of weeks before heading off to Benidorm for our second training camp in early February. I am expecting this camp to be entirely different to the one he had in Lanzarote. Although I’m sure we’ll still be working on the technical stuff, the main objective of the camp is get physically ready for the racing season, which starts a few days after arriving back. I think this one is going to be a bit of a shock to the system and I reckon us younger guys will be doing a bit/a lot of suffering! Looking forward to it though.
My racing programme kicks off with a TT and some road racing up in Manchester. I’m staying up with one of my team mates for the week, so it will us the opportunity to race together as a team for the first time. I then jet off to the Tour of Taiwan in mid-March. The race has upgraded to a UCI 2.1 – which is the highest category race I’ll have ever ridden. The race website mentions teams such as SaxoBank and Europcar could be riding.
I’ll stop myself from rattling on now. Going to go indulge and have a Yakult.
Thanks for reading,