By Cheyenne Spokes
CSC/Saxo Bank has, until now, been the team reputed for having the toughest training camps. But their ordeals trudging around frozen tundra or crawling in rank, sticky mud for days on end pale in comparison to the character-building plans unveiled by Rock Racing at a team press conference today.
From its inception, the American continental squad has had one big belief. "We are bigger, better and, most of all, badder than all the others," said tattooed and pierced team spokesman Mitchell Batt, pausing for effect. "Other teams are making a big deal about what they do during the off season but, frankly, they are a pack of yellow-bellied wimps.
"When we do something, we do it in style. What we are planning will blow those other teams away."
The team devised a plan for his riders to spend one whole month during its off-season in a very special location. "San Quentin," said Batt, savouring each syllable of that feared name. "And I don't mean that little town in France."
According to Batt, the team has negotiated a deal with the Californian penitentiary for each rider on his team to be incarcerated for 30 days. During that time, they will not be given any special privileges. They will be treated exactly like the other inmates, and will not be assisted or protected in any way.
"It's like Survivor, only a bit more literally," he grinned, raising his first and fourth fingers in the air and sticking out his tongue. "Sure, it's dangerous, but think of the benefits. Plenty of upper body gym work. Neat tattoos. Character-honing conditions. Oh, and a real good way to ensure the guys don't pile on the weight during the off-season."
Show me the Cash, Johnny
The Rock Racing plan is more than just an attempt to further toughen up its riders, it's a survival mechanism for the squad which faced extinction unless it could find additional sponsorship. Under the plan unveiled today, the team's progress inside the walls and bars will be secretly filmed, using hundreds of mechanically operated cameras secretly hidden around the prison. The revenue from a reality show to be shown weekly on a cable television network would fun the squad for three seasons.
"Think American Idol. Think Top Model. Think Survivor," Batt beamed, winking at one of his stunning Rock & Republic hostesses. "This will out perform all of them. We'll send the whole team in, see how they stand up to life on the inside. That's prime time TV material. That's big bucks.
"We've got 17 riders. We'll keep… ah… let's say 12 for 2010. Maybe 13. If you ain't bad ass enough, you are out. Period. If you can't survive the showers, you won't be on my team."
"Of course, I will do something really rad to mark the occasion," Batt continued, toying with an outrageously oversized pair of sunglasses. "Rock & Republic is going to design some bad ass jump suits for the guys. We are bringing style to San Quentin and, next year, bringing some extra whoop-ass to the peloton."