Long rides, photo shoots and Neverland
By Dede Demet Barry, T-Mobile professional cycling team
Another race season is quickly approaching and I have spent this past week preparing for it with my T-Mobile teammates in Buellton, California. It is always interesting showing up for training camp, as there are some strong indicators of who has been working hard through the winter months and who might have put back a few too many Christmas cookies.
Training camp is often the only time in a season that puts all of the team’s riders and staff in one place at one time. This gathering forced me to reflect on my first races as a member of T-Mobile and on how much the team has progressed since then. The overall strength and depth of this team has improved immensely and this was evident from the first day of camp, when we road up Figueroa Mountain together. It seems that everyone had done her homework over the winter months and the team is stronger than ever.
Unfortunately, we were missing Dotsie Cowden on our training rides, as she broke her collarbone a few weeks prior in a training accident and she could only ride the trainer each day. She was a sport and never complained, but we missed her on the rides. I am sure she will be back on the road quickly though, as she seems to be healing fast.
We hammered out some big rides in the mountains the first two days of camp, putting in ten hours on the bike. We did my two favorite rides in this region, Figueroa Mountain and Gibraltar – a mountain that shadows Santa Barbara and provides awesome views of the hills to the east and Pacific to the west. These are both very steep climbs that take around 40 minutes or so.
Strike a pose
The next few days were focused on media, photos and sponsors. We are fortunate to have a remarkable support network. Our team staff makes sure that we have everything we need for the season. Training camp often feels like Christmas, as we are showered with gifts. We are provided with everything from Blackberries to T-Mobile Hotspot access, international mobile phone coverage, Samsung picture phones, beautiful carbon composite Giants with Shimano 10-Speed, SRM power controls, enough Biemme clothing for the year, duffle bags and more.
All of the support makes it easier for us to pursue our goals around the world while staying in contact with our friends and family-one of the biggest obstacles in front of most traveling athletes. “Get more from life!”
We have recently begun working with a new PR agency, BNC. They arranged our photo shoot and we were lucky enough to have Michael Jackson’s make-up artists do our hair and make-up for the photo shoot. They had some interesting stories tell. Jackson’s Neverland Ranch was not far from our hotel. As a matter of fact, we rode by it quite a few times and witnessed the media circus surrounding his ranch and life.
I opted to stay in California a few extra days after camp ended to take advantage of the good weather and get some miles in on the bike. In a couple of weeks, I will be leaving for Australia, where we will compete in our first world cup of the season. Our initial goals this season will be the World Cup races and UCI stage races and we would like to place as many T-Mobile riders as possible on the Olympic Team. We have riders with potential on the track, road and mountain bike.