by ALP Cycles Coach Patricia Schwager
Last week, the majority of the ALP Cycles racing team members spent 4 days in Grand Junction for the annual team camp. The camp was organized and coached by ALP Cycles coaches Alison and Paddy plus guest coach Brianna Walle.
The goal of the camp was to ride together, improve skills, get stronger, get to know each other better plus to learn what it really means "working together as a team" on and off the bike. Each evening we had a meeting and each rider had to look back and find 1 thing that was positive in her ride and 1 thing that needed to be improved for the following day. The individual goals were important details such as: drinking 1 bottle per hour during the ride, riding closer to the wheel in front, keeping a tight box (riding close and level to the person next to you), staying focused, paying more attention to cadence, apply the learned skills to corner better etc.
Day 1: included a ride through the Colorado National Monument. Due to road constructions at the East entrance we had to improvise the route and did an out& back ride using the West entrance only. It was a great ride with a lot of climbing and the "Rim Rock Drive" road was perfect to work on descending skills as well.
Day 2: we headed out together towards Reeder Mesa, Purdy Mesa and Kannah Creek. Once we reached the hilly area we split up into 3 groups. Each of the 3 groups had a coach and worked on skills tailored to the fitness& skills level of the group. The route also included the collegiate Nationals road race course. A very hilly route that got more challenging with added in sprints and QOM's.
Day 3: was our "flat" route. We started the ride rode together as big group. In Fruita, we split up into 3 groups again. The goal was to practice and improve rotating pacelines and single pacelines. It was impressive to see how well each of the 3 groups worked together in this ride. The coaches took videos in order to improve the small details with each group. The big bonus today was stopping at a coffee shop in Fruita on the way home :)
Day 4: last day of camp. The coaches found a great loop in a nearby neighborhood for race practice. The loop was 2,7mi long and undulating. Two short but steep climbs and a fast downhill made for a tough course. We had 4 groups with 4 to 6 riders in each group. The first race was a team time trial to pratice how to work together the best and riding the loop as fast as possible. The 2nd race was a race without teammates so each rider had to find a way on how to beat the rest of the riders in her group.
Everyone was tired after 4 solid days on the bike. The camp was a big success and every member of the ALP Cycles racing team for sure learned something new or improved fitness and skills. For us coaches, it was a pleasure to work with this motivated group.
Let the race season begin!