Many of the NorCal elite and pro teams are just finishing up their training camps. Unlike the Bjarne-Riis-Navy-Seal-Coldwater-Sky-Diving-Hang-Out-In-Caymans-Meet-Lances-Movie-Star-Friends-Ski-Trip training camps these teams keep things simple with a lot of riding and some race and sponsor education. We took a look at a few of the camps the last few weeks to see how they get it done.
I gave Lisa Hunt a call on her way to Merco the other day expecting her to put the team through a bunch of touchy feely circle trust exercises. Hunt is too old school for that and when I asked all i could hear was Megan Gaurnier in the back ground trying to make a point… “We had to ride a lot more than i thought!” Lisa focuses her riders on getting in some miles so they can understand each other’s riding styles, and then puts them through drills each day to to work on race simulations, time trials, and simple paceline practice. The team clocked over 20 hours riding together at a house a sponsor provides in Santa Barbara.
After their rides the team was split into groups of four, in true Betty Ford Retreat fashion, to make meals, clean, and get to know each other in an environment outside of cycling. NorCal hardwoman Megan Guarnier took a shortcut, as all sprinters should, and pre-made a lasagna for her meal wlehi Meredith Miller (she’s got the stripes yo!) was the star cook of the event making a fancy pesto dish before heading back to Colorado. Something must have clicked because the TIBCO women dominated the first two NorCal SPRING CLASSIC’s at Snelling and Merced, winning one and sweeping the podium in the other. TIBCO Photos Courtesy of TIBCO and Larry Rossa Photography
While the pro team may have folded this year Webcor has kept the fire going with an eye on developing local talent. Webcor met at Sportvelo’s Menlo Park HQ and combined a weekend of meetings, a few dinners, and rides up into the Santa Cruz mountains. The meetings were no frill affairs focusing on race schedules and tactics. The riders were led by former Webcor Director Karen Brems and world Class riders Katheryn Curri Mattis, and Christine Thorburn. Getting these young riders exposure to World Champions, World Cup winners, and Olympians was a key benefit that team Manager Andi Smith saw in holding an early season camp despite the rainy cold weather. Webcor/Sportvelo keeps it’s eyes on giving their riders as much experience as possible and stays true to the lean and mean work ethic that propelled them to victories on the world stage.
Vanderkitten also stayed local but camped out of Bell-Giro HQ in Scott’s Valley. With a strong group of sponsors and a former pro team employee behind them the Vanderkitten group gave their riders a real pro level experience. Training riders to handle the media and sponsorship demands is a lesson that is rarely imparted on young riders. A program like Vanderkitten can fill the other half of the development process that riders need if they want to go down the Euro-pro road. The kittens met with sponsors, got some practice with the media, and got a feel for their new gear. The teams new DS Jono Coulter comes to VK fresh from the Fly V aussie program that exploded late last year so he has some interest in creating a program in his own vision, done in a way that won’t implode. Jono packed a pro experience into a few days for the girls, and kept things lively with some Aussie imports and a good sense of humor to get the girls pumped for the upcoming SPRING CLASSICS.
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