As a new member of the Metromint team, I had no idea what to expect from my first men's training camp. I knew it was in some cabins out in the woods, but would it be a bunch of guys just sitting around drinking beers, talking about who makes the lightest handlebars.......or would it be ten-hour rides in the rain with somebody in a team car screaming at me in french to "Attack!"?
Well, it was neither. Our cabins were nestled in the woods somewhere outside Paso Robles. They were small but plush, with warm heat, dvd, and even a dishwasher. After my winning coin toss, I nestled in to my top bunk, and awoke the next morning to see my car covered in ice. It warmed up quickly, and after a quick group photo, off we rode. My legs started out feeling sore and thick from the San Bruno Hill climb two days earlier, but quickly warmed up and cleared out.
Menso had planned out an amazing ride for us. I don't really know what roads we were on, but at some point we arrived at a tank and a guard station, and had to show our identification as we entered Fort Hunter Liggett, the US Army Combat Support Training Center. At first I got a little nervous, waiting for somebody to start screaming at me to run the rope course and calling me "turkey". But we just rode past the burned out cars, target figures, and tanks, surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside in California. A lush climb led to a stunning view of the ocean, where we descended down to Highway 1. After a quick snack, we climbed back over the mountains from the coast and wound through the foothills and Fort Liggett again to arrive at our cabins 100 miles done, hungry and exhausted. It was cool to share a cabin with some category 1/ 2 riders. Connor and I picked their brains on many things from race strategy to nutrition, and I'm looking forward to any other tips and advice I can get from my more experienced teamates. After some spaghetti and race planning, we hit the hay.
The next day we rode another 60 miles through even more beautiful countryside, this time with less climbing, and a tighter pack. There was a little wind and it was great to practice different pacelines with more experienced riders again giving tips. Tony was the town line sprint master all weekend. It felt euro-pro to drop back to Kalani in the team follow car to grab snacks or hand off a jacket. After a big mexican lunch, we headed back to the city.
Overall, I left feeling blown-away by how well organized this team is, and how friendly and helpful my new teamates are. This year is going to be awesome, and I can't wait for the All Team Camp the weekend after next.