You may or may not know that Team Type 1 is in Italy for it's second training camp in preparation of the 2012 season. Three weeks ago, the team parted ways in Tucson, AZ from its introductory camp that lasted 1.5 weeks (above photo showing team on one of it's first rides together. The sore thumb? Remy Cusin, one of two former Cofidis riders new to the team). Here in Italy, the focus is less on media and acquaintances and more on the riders' business. We're here to put in miles and get used to the different riding styles we each bring to the common ground of TT1, tweak our positions on new bikes, get some speed training in before the first race of the season (Tour of Wellington, where 6 riders will go a couple of days before camp ends), and perfect team efforts like lead-outs and talk race strategies. This is the type of camp the riders didn't get last year with eachother. It's a response from the directorship to the veterans' call for an imperative development camp so that when we get to a race, riders will know how to communicate effectively and achieve victory by strength of camaraderie.
I haven't touched my ride since the last camp and am refreshed, motivated and ready to put my body through the ringer for the third season with TT1 this 2012, a season that I hope will get me a UCI victory and a step closer to a Grand Tour.
Terracina, Italy is known for it's Mazzarella di Buffala, admittedly delicious. The first day of riding ended after 140km. It was a "vision quest" for me. I was completely blown -just one day on the bike and I was in the hole! But, that was nothing, because yesterday, the second day on the bike for me, the team was to ride for ~6 hrs total and race on open roads for the last hour! Well, that was all a possibility (however small) until I started to crack 3 hrs into the ride. I didn't race, but I did bonk harder than I've ever hit the wall at about 150km and ended by myself, bringing up the rear for 176km, the last 30km solo. It was a rude awakening about how much fitness can be lost when you take 3 weeks off the bike, but these guys are ramping up their training now, whereas I'm just beginning. Races like Marseille in France, Tour of Wellington, Tour de Mediterranean, etc are all coming quickly and if we want a shot at racing a Grand Tour this year, we've got to start winning races early to prove ourselves worthy of wildcard invitations to those races. So, in two days, I've ridden for about 10.5hrs and done 315km.
Today's schedule? 2-3hrs AM and sprint workouts this afternoon on a marked circuit. The team has been split into two groups, each with 3 designated sprinters. I think we're supposed to race eachother. Frederik Moncoussin, our French director gave a presentation last night and named the teams, nominating each rider to a position in the group's lead-out, saying in less than perfect english and one of those thick french accents, "I'm almost sure I know the strengths of each rider after the past two days of riding, but if we need to make changes, we can." In a moment of shock at the expectations of me on my own Day 3 of Training and an attempt at some comic relief, I prompted "And just about what am I good for?"
It turns out nothing can break the cold intensity of Europeans so next time I'll try to say it in Italian...
When I can, I'll post phographs and even rider bios to bring you closer to the team and not just the rider you may already know as Will Dugan. Thanks for all your support and interest. Happy New Year.