An epic start to training camp

March 24, 2006

Day One at Ford Cycling Team Camp

Greetings everyone, I hope the weather where you are is good!

I left a snowstorm in Salt Lake City to arrive in much warmer and sunny conditions in Southern California. Ford Cycling is holding a training camp to get everything squared away for the 2006 season here near Malibu and I am excited to get things underway. Most of the riders flew in last night, so this morning started a disbursement of clothing, helmets, shoes, bikes, wheels, etc…the cycling equivalent of Christmas.

I had been able to ship the riders their road bikes about a month ago, so everyone has been able to get dialled in on the fit and handling, but today the riders saw their 'home' hardtail bikes for the first time. This year each rider gets four bikes: a 'home' hardtail, a 'race' hardtail, a 'race' dual suspension, and a road bike. Here at camp riders flew in with their road bike, as we head directly from camp to do the Redlands Stage race.

The morning saw me fit up riders on the 'home' hardtail and send them out on test rides to check fit. Bars and levers were adjusted, steerer tubes were cut and saddles were tweaked numerous times. Our newest U-23 pro rider, Melanie Myers, got the one pair of slick tires that I had mounted up on 26" disc wheels and headed out for a test spin as I worked with other riders on fit. About a half an hour later, someone from the hotel office came out to the parking lot to say that there was a call in the office for the Ford Team.

It turns out that Mel had flatted out on the road with no spare. We had to send out a recon mission to retrieve her. Everything else went pretty smoothly with the bike fitting. I am happy to say that the bikes for 2006 have been a real pleasure to work on. We are on Scott carbon fibre hardtail frames, the Scale Limited model. These are super light and look killer in the clear carbon finish. With the DT Swiss wheelsets and the Rock Shox SID forks, they are about 20lbs complete. We are running the Reba World Cup fork on the 'home' bikes and the girls have been really positive about the stiffness of the 32mm legs.

After lunch we were to head out on a photo opportunity and 'easy ride' with Adrian Montgomery from our sponsor Scott bicycles and a couple a representatives from the print media. The ride was pegged at about two hours. More than four hours later we called the team director to bring the van to the park where we started the ride, as the adventuring had turned into a really epic ride, with lots of really scenic climbs in the Santa Monica Mountains. The weather rolled in late in the ride and added a little rain for the last half hour. All food and beverage had been consumed by the two hour mark in the ride, so there were lots of tired bodies. Epic day.

The most unique event during the ride was the sound of DJ-style music as we neared to the top of a steep crest. We were in the middle of what seemed like nowhere in the mountains and the music kept getting louder as we neared the top. Sure enough as we hit the top a small band of partyers was celebrating the spring solstice by having a rave on the top of the mountain. Killer part was that they brought a gas powered generator and a huge DJ system. Here we were, somewhat lost, out of food and drink, deep in the extend ride in a national forest and were emerge at a rave...never seen that one before!

Bikes need a wash, so do the vehicles, but the steady rain tonight puts that early on the schedule tomorrow. Plenty of laundry to do tonight to keep us busy. Group road ride scheduled tomorrow, when the weather permits. Sushi on the menu tonight, then a Starbucks before bed. Day one has been good - no real crashes, bikes worked out of the box and riders were happy, short of the extra long ride.

I am going to set to alarm for 6:00am: rain and I sleep in, clear and I start washing bikes as the sun rises.

More tomorrow,
Chris Davidson

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