Tom Bracegirdle reports on the 1st of Biketreks Racing Team Bootcamps:
While OPQS were doing obstacle courses and RSNT were off reading maps we too were holding our first boot camp in preparation for the 2013 season. It’s fair to say there were a few mishaps… blocked drains, very dodgy looking risotto and one unfortunate pheasant but all in all it was a fantastic weekend. It was the first time all the staff, junior squad and U23 squad have all got together, this gave us a great chance to get to know one and other better. In all honesty it felt like we’d know each other for years, everyone had a great laugh, often at the expense of Jake and his advent calendar.
I rocked up at just before 8:00am, a good hour before the scheduled meeting time, keen as ever. Sandy arrived shortly after, we decide to partake in a bit of ice skating, although we had neither an ice rink or ice skates, just a lethal road and some matching converse. The rest of the team soon arrived and we all unpacked and sat down in the lounge area which was to be our main meeting point for the weekend. Nic (team owner/principal) and Simon (team manager) kicked things off by welcoming us all and giving a presentation on the overview for the weekend and a brief introduction to all the different staff members. This was shortly followed by a presentation from Phil Leigh, Phil has had over 40 years experience in cycling from running teams, setting them up and racing himself, he’ll be the director sportif for the team and also coach for a number of the riders. We had planned to do a ride at 9:00am before the first presentations but due to the treacherous road conditions we re-jigged the schedule and ended up having to drive to a nearby main road cafe at mid-day and ride from there. We loaded the cars and set off, I drove accompanied by Sandy and James. Along the way a pheasant decide it would try and take off travelling against the flow of traffic on a busy road, it failed miserably, at the expense of my wing-mirror. Eventually we arrived at the cafe and set off, the ride can be found here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/249309563 It was apparent upon arrival that we weren’t going to get much riding done this weekend due to the weather but the emphasis for the first bootcamp was more on getting to know each other as opposed to getting massive base miles in. We got back, had lunch and then had a chat from Graham Theobald, our clinicist and physio. He specialises in sports injuries and bike positioning and gave an in-depth presentation into both of these areas. Soon after I got to have a 1-1 chat with my coach for next season; Jon Taylor. Jon is a commissaire for British Cycling and also a very experienced cycling coach, we chatted about good and bad points from 2012 and also objectives for 2013. During this time the rest of the riders were making dinner, well when I say making I mean putting all the available ingredients in to one big pot, from wine to egg and butter nut squash to some questionable looking meat (note from editor: chicken). As predicted it tasted horrific, however nobody died so to that degree it was a success. We then had a bit more of a chat with Graham, reviewed the day with Nic and Simon and then went to bed. Due to lack of riding we weren’t very tired so continued to do impersonations of Jonny’s manx/scouse accent, who knows what happened in the juniors room, apparently they didn’t get to sleep till 3 because Matt was busy texting his girlfriend… standard.
The next day (Sunday) we were up at 7:00am for breakfast and the weather had worsened from yesterday so the staff decide it wasn’t worth risking any injuries at the start of December for the sake of a steady ride. Milan Sihelsky who is team mechanic and also road captain gave us a bike maintenance presentation, Milan is from Slovakia and an extremely accomplished rider having ridden the worlds and been national champion. We then embarked on some group turbo sessions run by Simon while watching a Sufferfest video which were a little bit painful. I always say it’s good to put things in perspective and this weekend was a perfect opportunity to do so. I was lucky enough to go to Limburg for the worlds courtesy of some fantastic friends in Holland, it was the best weekend of my life but those guys (elite men) are just on another planet. I think sometimes its great to draw off inspiration that’s a bit closer to home. I did my turbo session alongside Matt Flynn, one of the best juniors in the country, and a 1st cat and elite RR winner, made me realise what a brilliant position I’m in for next season and what a fantastic opportunity I’ve been given. We then grabbed some pasta prepared by Nic, fair to say it was a lot nicer than our sorry excuse for cooking. During this time riders were getting massages and some were trying out some kinesio taping (Jonny on his calf, jack on his wrist, a few lads on their backs). I also got a massage and identified with my coach that flexibility was a key area to work on considering I’m about as flexible as a wooden plank.
The weekend also gave us a chance to get a closer look at some more of our sponsor’s products. On arrival we were all given some tubs of Udderly Smooth chamois cream, we trained on the turbos using The Sufferfest’s videos and sampled the kinesio taping courtesy of Jon at Bike and Body. Milan also brought along some of his wheels from Remerx for us to look at and some catalogues with all the other wheels they produce. Having spoken with all the other riders we can’t stress enough how appreciative we all are of all the help from our sponsors, this sport depends on support from sponsors much like ours and without them investing in grassroots development cycling team like the Biketreks Racing Team the world of cycling would be much poorer in the long term.
Soon after the massages we all got packed and had a debrief of the weekend where we listed good points (lots of them), bad points (few and far between) and changes for next time. I believe the next boot camp is 19th-20th Jan which is right after our training camp in Spain 5th-12th Jan, can’t wait for both!