January 13, 2006
We are already on day seven of our training camp here on the Spanish island of Mallorca and so far everything has been so professional, well done, and pretty much kick-ass. You will hear no complaints from me. The company of T-Mobile is in such complete support of cycling, of both their men's and women's teams, that it is an honor to even be a part of this. Even our cycling jerseys, which are usually covered in sponsors, are clean and outstanding. They say only T-Mobile, Adidas, and Giant.
The riding has been very good and every day the women are getting in between 4-5 hours. We all start out together, whether with the men's team or visiting VIPs, and then are allowed to go off on our own if we need specific training or intervals. Yesterday, Kim Anderson, Magali Le Floch, Amy Moore, and I headed out towards a specific climb for some threshold training. It was a beautiful 5km climb.
Just as I got to the top completing my first interval, I turned around and saw a major portion of the men's team all racing up behind me. Talk about motivation for your intervals... when you see Jan Ullrich coming up behind you, it's pretty cool. Although I'm not kidding myself either. I'm sure had I started my interval a little later, the men would have gone flying by me as if I was standing still. I'm confident Ullrich is pushing at least 700 watts more than I am. And he probably only eats about half as much as me too.
The day before, Magali, Kim, and I were descending a different climb when I'm positive I saw Eric Zabel wave at us as he was riding up. I just about missed the next switch back and almost launched myself off the cliff when I tried turning around to look again. It must have been a double, because Zabel is currently racing on the track in Germany!
In the beginning of December, the women's team had gotten together for a weekend of meetings and fun in Munich. We did a lot of photos there for PR purposes and were promised trading cards for the 2006 season. Well, the trading cards were delivered to our rooms the other day, and now I have 800 trading cards with a picture of me that screams for Botox. Not my most flattering picture. Not sure that those cards will actually make it back to the States.
We're staying at an all-inclusive beachside resort and I think almost the entire resort has been overtaken with T-Mobile representatives. Today, the women started out riding with the T-Mobile board of directors. Saturday is the official team presentation, and we even have to practice the presentation! Hundreds of journalists arrived for the big presentation on Saturday. I know, I know... they were here for the men. In our interview training, they even prepped us for questions we will get about Jan. It's intriguing to say the least to see this guy that is larger than life (not literally) at the breakfast table next to you. At least I can say the American women are excited!
We have only a few more days of this wonderful riding before it's time to start back home. Christina leaves for the LA Track World Cup on Sunday. Lyne races the Dutch cross World Cup this Sunday. And the rest of us return home to continue preparations for our early season races in Australia, New Zealand and California.
With the support of such great sponsors behind us, and the camaraderie already on the women's team, I think it's really going to be a fun and successful season. So thanks to T-Mobile for supporting the sport of cycling for their 15th year. And for including the women.
See also: T-Mobile presentation: T-Mobile 2006 is go