By Dede Demet Barry, T-Mobile professional cycling team
We had our first T-Mobile gathering for the 2004 season at the OlympicTraining Center in Colorado Springs last week. We met for four days, theobjectives were to spend time dialing in our positions on our new bikes,meet with the physiologists and nutritionists who are part of our PerformanceEnhancement Team, undergo some testing, outline our team goals, get toknow one another a little better and have a little fun partaking in some”team bonding” exercises.
Actually, I came to camp thinking that Starbucks was a new sponsor of the team, as I had recently received a box of coffee, a coffee card and a T-Mobile HOTSPOT account. I asked about it in our sponsorship meeting and quickly learned that the coffee I was drinking the past month belonged to Kim Anderson, who had won the HOTSPOT competition at the T-Mobile International in San Francisco. I think I owe someone a few pounds of coffee…. Fortunately, the whole team was provided HOTSPOT accounts at camp which we can use for high-speed internet access in airports and Starbucks locations around theworld.
The new bikes look great. They are black carbon fiber frames with slopingtop tubes and beautiful magenta flames. It took some effort to get ourpositions nailed, as there are big differences in the angles and geometrycompared to our last bikes, but by the end of the weekend, with the helpof our mechanics, our biomechanists and the crew from the manufacturer,most of us were feeling comfortable. I am quite impressed with how lightand good looking these new machines are.
The group of physiologists working with our team will be working with us more closely next season in analyzing our SRM power files from races and training, so you will see most of the team racing on the SRMs all year.
This is valuable data that will be especially useful to the development riders on our team, as it will help them to learn more about their capabilitiesand what it takes to win on the international level.
Many of the riders of the team had their diets analyzed by Monique Ryan,a nutritionist who has been around cycling for years. Of course, most ofyou already know her from her columns here and in VeloNews magazine.She spoke with each of us about how we can improve our diets and enhanceour energy levels while training and racing through proper carbohydrateingestion.
The core of our T-Mobile team is the same as last year. Our teamis complete with ten riders. Unfortunately, we lost a few girls from the’03 team, but we have added one as well.
Lynn Gaggioli is our newest member. I really enjoyed getting to knowher this past weekend. She will be an asset to the team, as I believe shehas the capability of becoming one of the best road sprinters in the world.Unfortunately, the track riders, Tanya Lindenmuth and Chris Witty wereunable to join us. Chris is busy cleaning up on the Speed-skating WorldCup circuit at the moment.
The highlight of the weekend came on Saturday, when we had a mid-daysurprise excursion to Splat Masters, the local paintball war grounds. Ihave to say, I was a little worried when we got there and even more concernedwhen I felt how hard unexploded paint bullets were when they hit me. Despiteof my fears, I took to the field. I felt like a fish out of water the firstfew rounds and got shot to hell immediately in the first two games.
I was feeling some serious pain, as each pelt burned, but then figuredout the tactics – where to hide behind the bunkers, how to move on thefield and how attack my opponents. It was super fun and interesting tolearn a little more about my teammates and how they acted in this typeof environment. We had only one major casualty, our mechanic Kenny Whelpdalesprained his ankle badly and ended up in the hospital getting x-rays inthe evening. And, the rest of us now have plenty of bruises to show off.I don’t think I would have fared to well in actual combat as my hair andclothes were all splattered in red paint. I guess, my inner warrior isdeep deep inside me.
We had a post-war celebration at a local pub, where we numbed our painwith some drinks and relaxed in the evening.
I felt a bit embarrassed upon returning to Boulder the following day.I went to the gym and worked out in shorts and a t-shirt, covered withbruises. I think I looked like an abuse victim.
Once the bruisees clear up, we can all look forward to next season.Our team is fortunate to have some of the best support available in cycling.We have a clear vision of what our goals are and are feeling motivatedto work hard this winter in preparation for the races.
Our next training camp will be in January. Stay tuned.