March 27, 2006
Day Two at Ford Cycling Team Camp
There were a number of things to accomplish at the training camp this year. Today was photos of the riders, bikes and vehicles. I got up early to get bikes polished up and get the van washed. Photos are an important part of the team's exposure and interaction with the press and public, so most of the rest of the day I was a photo assistant where I learned how to use things like a 'fill card'. This involves me holding a large reflective object to help 'fill in' light in the shadows of the shots. With our camp being so close to Hollywood/Burbank in California, it was not strange to see that just down the road from where we were shooting there was a really large photo shoot going on with mobile trailers for the models, huge wardrobe racks and lots of staff and security. Our setup was a little smaller, but just as effective.
The funniest shot of the day was the last one. We were setup on a mountain top just outside Malibu and we were waiting for the sun to set behind an adjacent mountain top to get the right lighting effect. The girls were dressed in race clothing, but the wind was really strong and it was very cold in this spot. So cold that we had to stage the shot, then have the girls stay warm in the van. When the sun hit the right spot in the sky, everyone jumped out and we got the team group shots in 30 second period. The girls quickly jumped back in the warn van and joked about how difficult the life of a model really is: long waits, hours in makeup, harsh weather conditions, extreme locations, etc.
The riding today consisted of a little pedaling around to get some action shots of the riders. Everyone was fine with that as the previous day's ride was more than enough, photo day was more like a rest day. However I think that the riders logged about seven hours of 'chamois time' to get all the photos we needed.
Tomorrow is the last day of camp, and then we head to Redlands for a three day stage race to kick off the season. Joining three of our Ford professional riders for the race will be three riders from the Women's Development Program. All three are current Collegiate National Champions and it will be a good opportunity to get these riders some exposure in NRC level racing. Composite teams can be a handful for the mechanic, as you have different bikes and equipment for each rider. To add the mix, I am going to take on some additional duties and be the team manager for the race as well. It should be fun.
Day Three at the Ford Cycling Camp
Today was a split day with the first half devoted to final photos and a short road ride, an the second half involving travel to Redlands, California for the stage race this weekend. The big chore for the day was to repack the trailer and van for travel. This is a little more complicated than the daily packup and lockup, as things need to be secured against the bumps of the highway. Also, there were a number of items that had been residing in my room for the course of the camp that needed to be carried in the trailer. As a mechanic, I always can count on my hotel room be a mini storeroom for team stuff while on the road.
Travel in the LA basin is always a challenge. There can be stop and go traffic at 10:00pm at night on some of the freeways. Lucky for us we were able to cross the great 'Inland Empire' in less than two hours on Wednesday night and get to Redlands a little after 9:00pm. For this race we have some local host housing. Great families that house the riders for the course of the race. We are lucky to have our 6 riders hosted by two separate families: the Smiths and the McGloins. The Smiths have hosted racers in their Redlands home for 10 years now; the road race course for Sunday's Sunset Loop goes down their street. The staff for this race is bedding down in the Good Nite hotel, along with Mavic neutral support, Colavita, Toyota-United, Navigators, and Lipton.
Tomorrow is registration and a preride of the TT course, Friday starts the race with the TT. For this race Ford Cycling is being represented by MTB pros Kelli Emmett, Sara Bresnick-Zocchi and Kathy Sherwin. We are also excited to add three riders from the US Women's Development Program. All three of the development riders are current collegiate national champions: Heather Holmes [STXC], Mara Abbott [D2 road] and Brooke Miller [D1 road]. I am looking forward to working with these riders again and helping them with this experience at the top level.
It will be interesting to see who is going well this weekend; we face lots women that have been in Australia and NZ for the World Cups already.
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