Alan Milway shares a few of the ups and downs of the team’s first week out in Malaga.
Following our successful training camp in Fuertaventura during January, the team have headed to Spain to continue preparation for the 2013 season.
This camp has a different goal, and starts to increase the transfer between training and riding – and with an extra couple of riders thrown in for good measure it’s going to be a busy 3 weeks!
Having arrived on Sunday evening, Monday was a recce day. I wanted to see the roads, the gym and the general area to help my planning. The guys also wanted to get out on the downhill bikes and see the riding on offer. Obviously having Taylor in the group for the first time meant he was like a kid at Christmas and up early for breakfast, in his kit and raring to go immediately!
It is great to have the full downhill squad together, with Marc ‘Slugger’ Beaumont also here for the camp. Marc gets on very well with Gee and they push each other on and off the bike – never short of banter between those two. Marc is very methodical with bike set up and Taylor is able to take something from each of the older and more experienced riders.
They headed off to the trails, and Gee’s comments after 2 runs were along the lines of ‘Taylor is absolutely flying, and probably needs to calm down for his first day!’
I was heading out on the road bike and Slugger and Athy were keen to come along on that ride due to their slightly different focus for this week. Athy is focused on enduro this year and we are tailoring his training very differently. Slugger wanted to join the group too as his mechanic, Mark Maurissen, was going to arrive later in the week which would give him a better opportunity to focus on his downhill riding.
We linked up with Chris Ball, Ruaridh Cunningham and Mark Scott and planned a ’2.5-3hr hilly ride’. The roads were great -smooth, quiet, and in amazing scenery. However, the accuracy of the loop size (I blame Chris Ball) wasn’t perfect – the map scaling meant we were at our farthest point after 2hrs…! We were all suitably prepared though and after the steepest climb I have ever done (85 vertical metres ascended in less than half a mile) we finally wound our way back down to the valley and home…4hours 53mins riding time later…
Tuesday was time for a gym session, and was followed by an enduro mtb loop to scout those trails also. Some great riding on offer and the location is proving to be ideal for this. Athy made a big gain in the gym also, which was great to see – he seems to have broken through a barrier in his squats and his mobility, which I feel will allow further gains and improvements. The others all look to Athy as he is the most focused in the gym – he’s a great example for Taylor to be around at such an early stage in his career.
Wednesday was also split between training and riding. The morning was an interval session, which are never fun. We all headed out on a warm-up loop to a quiet stretch where I had planned a set distance to cover as fast as possible. With Slugger, Gee, Athy, Rach, Taylor and Ben Reid in the group, there was never going to be any half efforts, and it was a very hard but fruitful session. I mixed my time between monitoring recovery times/ encouraging them at the finish, and then pacing them when the fatigue was kicking in. However even pacing them over a limited distance at this level of their training takes everything I have, so I hardly got away with a ‘free session’ in terms of my own exertion!
Another hard gym session on Saturday (VERY hard!) then a good dinner followed by enforced rest on Sunday. This is something that they absolutely need to recover fully, to adapt to the gains made in these sessions and to be able to cope with the hectic schedule of training, testing and media that is almost upon us.
I am writing this as I sift through power data to analyse what we have done so far, and rest my tired legs, as the others all head out for a downhill session (and Yes Taylor is still chomping at the bit! – he is full of youthful exuberance which means he wants to be on two wheels as often as he can, and reining him back is always easier said than done – – thank goodness for Facebook and Twitter which can while away HOURS!