As most people know, this year I will be riding for Fusion Velo Performance. We have some fantastic sponsors this year, one of whom is Velo Performance, ran by head coach Iuri. We are lucky enough to have Iuri as our DS as well this year, and a major perk of being sponsored by a coaching company is of course the team training camp.
It’s been a pretty incredible week, with a pretty incredible bunch of girls (both on and off the bike)! Iuri has drilled the sprint lead-out train to perfection and there is no lack of climbing talent on the team.
For most people the week was a chance to get to know the team and gain a bit of fitness on the bike. For one teammate however, it soon became apparent they had a much more pressing challenge. Step forward Molly Patch, who soon noticed there was another member struggling somewhat with some of the style concepts required to compete in a coherent team.
That person was of course me (cos lets face it there’s only one person here with a green helmet)
Lesson 1 – Wear Matching Kit
I have green helmet. Don’t ask me how it happened. I have never ridden for a green team.
Maybe I was still concussed after a crash. Maybe it was Josh Aiken’s smooth sales technique (I think it involved the statement ‘are you sure you don’t want to wait for us to get a red one in’).
Anyway, regardless of cause, the purchase happened and I have clashed with all things bike related ever since. First, I wore it with blue. This was what would be described as a sub-optimal situation. Next, I introduced it to the orange and blue of my local bike shop Elmy’s cycles. They didn’t deserve this. The situation was now in what I would describe as the ‘critical zone’. Finally, I introduced my helmet to the red tones of the new velotec kit I will be donning with pride next season. The situation had finally reached a head. Red and green is not acceptable.
Step forward Molly Patch, take 1. The abuse had started. One Instagram story was all it took and the support flooded in. Coach Tipper has been on my case for months (sorry coach!) so was straight in. Next up was Ross, with a degree of exasperation. Then came Sherwood (not one to miss out). Etc. Etc. Etc.
Fortunately there is actually a solution to this problem. Not one that requires rocket science either. Step in Fiona with the spare team helmet.
Lesson 2 – Respect the Bike
There are a few unwritten rules to photographing ones bike. I say unwritten. My coach had to write them down for me. But I guess that’s jut me.
- No saddle bag. In dire situations it is possible to get away with having a discrete saddle bag. In no situation where Molly is behind you with a camera is it possible to get away with a suitcase.
- Big Chainring and in the 11. Basic.
- Clean bike.
- Find a nice view. Actually had already nailed this one.
Lesson 3 – Lose that 4th cat (Molly has corrected this to 5th cat) tat!
The dreaded 4th cat tat is something every cyclist strives to avoid. Some are very adept at this. Some are less so.
Winter is normally the ‘safe time’. The time where legs are covered in leg warmers so no-one is any the wiser.
In the Algarve Winter is less of a thing. This means leg warmers are also less of a thing. This posed a big problem. A problem that was soon on instagram.
Fortunately Tipper takes these things seriously and was on hand to offer some sound advice. Coaching me is about more than just numbers you see.
There you go coach.
Lesson 4 – Strike a matching pose
There are times on a team camp where you will be required to strike a pose. Typically this will start with announcement from a team member that a photo is required. This is followed by specifics on the content of the photo. For example ‘lets just take a nice one’ or ‘guys lets do Charlie’s angels’.
On day 1 we had been fortunate enough to get some pretty mint new kit from team sponsor velotec. That coupled with the fact that we had not seen sunshine in a while and it being the obligatory leg opener cafe ride meant photo requests were flooding in.
The first few went well. Nice simple straight lines. Smile. Then people wanted more. Popular culture referenced started coming in. And I’m not that familiar with popular culture.
Take Charlie’s angels as an example:
There is a way round this. As with everything in this blog post all that’s needed is a little direction. Copy the most confident looking person and all that.
Lesson 5 – don’t forget to just enjoy riding your bike 😉
The final day of our camp happened to be the first day of the Volta Algarve. With the promise of some big names we went for some shameless ‘pro spotting’.
After we had had our fill of pro spotting there was still an afternoon of ‘free riding’ to be had. I was pretty keen to go find some climbs to do some more training. Efforts are good ya?
Meakin had other ideas and dropped the bombshell ‘I’d quite like to just ride my bike’. This was at first a confusing idea. ‘So we won’t be doing any efforts?’ Mind blowing. Still with the promise of a hill rep or 2 if I wanted we went off to ‘just ride’.
3 cafes. Plenty of sunshine. Lots of leg spinning. A few sprints. One hill rep. Mostly just good chat.
Yup. ‘Just riding your bike’ is pretty damn good!
A few thank you’s:
This last week has been pretty incredible, so a few thank you’s are in order.
None of this would be possible without team manager Terry. He has somehow found a group of girls who gel as well off the bike as on the bike (and trust me that’s not easy).
Iuri, head coach at veloperformance, and our DS this year gets a massive thank you for putting on such a fun and stress free week. Everything was arranged right down to the airport transfers meaning we could just focus on riding our bikes and having fun. He’s used his expertise to get the team working really well together. Our sprint leadout train is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Velotec have kitted us out with some really great kit so we can look on point in the peleton.
Finaly, the backing of brother cycling has given Terry the scope to really take the team forward this year.