By Bobby Julich
I hope that you have enjoyed your time off because it is time to get back to work! That was the mantra I used to tell myself at this part of the season and during my career it would usually coincide with a team training camp.
Each team's camp is different depending on the level of organisation and the team's aims for the upcoming season. I was at Motorola, Cofidis, Crédit Agricole and Telekom during my career and feel that they were all similar. There were meetings and nights at the bar bonding with teammates, but I never felt like I got anything spectacular out of them. I felt it was more of a chance for the directors to check up on us and make sure no one was too much out of shape or had been piling on the pounds. Oberall, I didn't look forward to them and couldn't wait to get them over with, but that all changed when I signed with Bjarne Riis at CSC.
There are no words to describe the difference between the other camps that I attended and the ones that Riis and B.S. Christiansen arranged. All I can say is that they were massive! Our exploits have been well documented over the years and journalists who attended described the camps as "boot camp" or "survival camp." This is an appropriate description because of B.S. Christiansen's military background. (Read about the 2008 camp.)
People always wonder why we wore military clothing and trounced around looking and acting like soldiers. The reason for wearing the military clothes was so that we all looked alike and dealt with the elements in the same way. It wouldn't be fair if a rider who made a big salary went out and bought the most expensive gear, when a young rider or member of the staff who makes less, was forced to make do in the same conditions with less quality equipment.
The focus of the camp was to put the riders and staff under mental and physical stress in order to see how they reacted under pressure. Cycling is full of pressure and drama. A cycling team that understands how to react and who to look to for leadership during testing times will become more successful. Opinions vary on how far this should be taken and whether jumping into freezing lakes is necessary, but in nine years of doing these exercises, there have been no serious injuries. Yet!
Read the complete feature.