I have just completed my first training camp with my new team, Hitec Products. This training camp symbolised the coming together of a multi national team. Although the team is a Norwegian sponsored team and consists of majority Norwegian girls, this year Team Hitec Products consists of 13 riders from 7 different countries, and 3 continents.
As a new comer to the team, I was completely blown away by the friendliness and very warm welcome I received from the girls and staff. I have only spent one week with the team, and I already feel I have been part of the family forever. We have a great mix of girls on Hitec this year – we all have something different to bring to the team and together, I'm positive we will have a great season in 2014!
Under the direction of Marc Bracke, one of the new team directors for Hitec Products, there was a very strong theme to our camp - and that was teamwork! Cycling is of course a team sport, and the most important task of a team director is to bring the team together. Marc, together with the other staff members did a great job of this, which made our camp particularly special.
After everyone had arrived from their different destinations, the first team activity was an orientation ride along the beautiful Spainish coastline towards Calp. We were treated to fantastic, warm, sunny weather and this ride was a great opportunity for us all to get to know each other better and to feel out our new Scott Foil race bikes (which are absolutely amazing by the way!)
Outside our comfort zone
A highlight of our camp was our team photo shoot on the beach on our first rest day. This was a great icebreaker and team building experience, as some of us found ourselves somewhat outside of our comfort zones. The wind picked up and with that, our hair blew everywhere, but somehow we all managed to stay cool, calm and collected! Through sharing jokes and encouraging one another, soon we all became naturals in front of the camera and we found ourselves having an absolute blast ;)
Three days into the camp and we were thrown a slight curve ball. The weather changed and our longest ride of the camp was scheduled for the day with the strongest wind and coldest conditions.
Nonetheless, we set off on our six-hour ride regardless of the weather conditions. This was a great opportunity for the team to learn to start working together. It was just amazing to see how we all really stuck together on the day, supporting and encouraging one another.
Through perseverance and a little bit of patience, we all had a great day on the bike. And of course the beautiful scenery along the way, the great company and our warm Doltcini cycling kit made all the hard work and surviving the cold that much easier in the end.
Our camp ended off with a rather unusual test of teamwork. As a final send off, we were treated to a team dinner at an all you can eat sushi restaurant in Benidorm town. We quickly realised that all you can eat is not the best idea after a long, hard week of training!
As it turns out, our eyes were way to big for our stomachs and finishing what we ordered was a true test of teamwork (especially due to the fact that we would be fined for any food left over )
Our week in Benidorm, Spain was a great start to the year for Team Hitec Products! The beautiful, but tough cycling routes, along stunning coastline and up some great mountains provided an ideal environment for hard training and team bonding. We had a wonderful time together and many happy memories and strong bonds were formed.
Next up for the team is Qatar to kick off the 2014 race season (Ladies Tour of Qatar) and I'm on my way back to South Africa to take part in my national championships this week.
Until next time - adios amigos