2012 SDBC Development Team Winter Training Camp
by Derek Ostertag
The annual sand, sweat, asphalt, and well, more sand, SDBC DEV Team Training Camp took place this past January 13-15 in Borrego Springs. To add a bit of class this year, the entire women’s 3/4 development team joined 23 men from the category 3/4/5 teams for this year’s camp. Once again, Wells Wang and Doug Krutil put on an amazing camp filled with long climbs, simulated races, skill drills, race planning, and ride analysis. This was also an important time for the new racers to get to know their teammates as almost half of the men’s team that attended were new to the team.
Improving on previous training camps, this year added an extra day of riding starting on Friday. The 14 or so riders that were lucky enough to get the day off were treated to a relaxing 50 mile tempo ride towards the Salton Sea. By tempo of course that meant riding in at least zone 5a the entire way. The ride was relatively cool and had the type of gusty headwind that made one feel like they were pedaling through molasses at times. The ride was also a good lesson as to what happens to a road when the sun beats down on asphalt over many years. Those riding 25mm tires were in much better shape than those with skinnier tires and many on that ride will be looking to ride 2500mm tires next year should they ever be invented. After the rough ride and a quick lunch, everyone checked into their rooms and met up again with the latecomers for dinner that included introductions and time to socialize.
After an early breakfast and group pictures Saturday morning, the camp set off for a long day of training. First up was a wonderful eleven mile climb along the category 1 Montezuma Grade. Here, the Cat 3s showed what a lot of hard work and training will get you as they flew up the road and provided a lot of inspiration to the newer teammates. Four riders made it to the top in under 60 minutes with Mike Killoran arriving first by setting a blistering pace from the start of the climb. The reward for reaching the top quickly was of course to wait in the wind and cold for everyone else to catch up. Fortunately, the next part of the training ride consisted of a simulated race through rolling hills that got everyone warmed up again. The camp split up into three groups based on desired speed and effort. Each group then took off to challenge themselves and race each other after a long climb. There was nothing slow about the post-Montezuma pace in any of the groups and reaching the next meet up point did not take long. After refueling again from the stocked SAG vehicle the riders broke up into three race groups with the Cat 3/4 men heading off first, then the Cat 5s, and then the women’s team. This was a great section to get to know where your teammates fitness was as well a time to try out different tactics and head games. Slow was not a word to describe any part of the day’s ride even as the camp regrouped again and rode the last ten miles back to the resort.
That evening consisted of a tasty Italian dinner and a review of last year’s race results and successful tactics. The Cat 3 and 4 racers provided a lot of insight and recalled valuable lessons learned for the Cat 5s to hear and use in this upcoming race season.
Even after two intense days of riding, Sunday morning did not lack energy or motivation to ride hard. The group rode out for cornering exercises led by Peter Beck and then off to use these skills in a mock circuit race. The Cat 3/4s once again split off from the 5s and both groups further split into two teams each for the simulated races. This was a good time to practice breakaway tactics, team strategy and lead outs that will be critical for a successful race season. Once the fun fast circuit race was finished the group headed out to the only grassy area in all of Borrego Springs that wasn’t a golf course. After getting yelled at by the local grumpy old man to get off his lawn, the team started their bumping and wheel rubbing drills on the grassy cushion. The end of these drills marked the end of the training camp and a final ride back to the resort.
Wells and Doug once again organized a phenomenal and successful training camp that was aided tremendously by the motivated and focused riders that attended. There is a lot of talent in all of the category teams and with the dedication and drive demonstrated at camp the expectations for the 2012 race season are high. Expect to see many riders upgrade this year as well as earn a lot of podiums and SoCal points.