Culture

Old Hat? Not yet, says Ted King

Cervelo's Ted King rejoins his second family at a team training camp in Portugal.

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Not really an old hat

Actually, that photo is of an old hat. Namely, it’s a white cycling cap from the second half of the Cervelo TestTeam’s inaugural — and, I will proudly add,  quite successful — 2009 season. This team was obviously one of the exciting surprises over the past cycling year with stellar results setting the tone at the very beginning in Qatar, followed closely by wins and several podium placings throughout the grueling spring classics, many victories between the three Grand Tours, Thor (Hushovd)’s green jersey on cycling’s biggest stage at the Tour, as well as many other highlights.

As a team, we once again find ourselves back in the Algarve coast of Portugal in the first riding-intensive camp of 2010. I won’t go so far as saying that camp is yet old hat for me, since I’m now just in my sophomore season of European professional racing. However, it’s safe to say that this second time around I already embrace the familiarity, and enjoy the flow and routine of it all.

There’s something comfortably reassuring about how these two weeks tick by like clockwork. Similar to last year, the first week is a reintroduction to the entire team — both men’s and women’s — as well as the entire Cervelo TestTeam staff. All said and done, there are about 80 people in the team’s employment. By and large, it’s the same team as last year, but there are a handful of new people welcomed on board for 2010. It’s great to see everyone’s faces again, generally slightly more slender and angular than our last meeting in late November, as well as catch up on everyone’s holiday activities. Weather is a safe topic of conversation, as most of the team can empathize with cold and snowy conditions since Europe has been engulfed in a cold spell for many weeks now. The Aussies … not so much.

Dominique Rollin, left, and the author, at camp. Photo: Andrew Hood

Over this past weekend, all of the Cervelo TestTeam’s sponsors and partners were on hand to see its unveiling in the 2010 team presentation. From my perspective, everything went off without a hitch, which is encouraging to see and leaves everyone in a positive mood. Additionally, there are a handful of social events between the riders, staff, sponsors, and media including one casual ride, a pleasant coffee stop (perhaps some of you are slowly becoming aware that in my opinion coffee is cycling’s long lost twin), and subsequent cruise home.

With one week of camp in the books and just under one more to go, we’re gearing up for the long season ahead. We’re punching the work ticket anywhere from four to six hours per day, and while it’s still fair to categorize this as base training, our first races are right around the corner with Etoile Besseges, Tour of Qatar, and Tour of the Algarve due to start shortly after camp ends.

Not a team content with complacency, 2010 promises to be another exciting year. We’ll no doubt be pushing the envelope again in the weeks and months to come with some great results, as well as with the hospitality of fans and with our sponsors making lighter, faster, and simply better equipment. It’s an exceptional feeling to speak with our sponsors personally and hear that this team really is something dynamic and special.

Speaking of products, have you seen the new kits from Castelli? They look great. Definitely no old hat there.


Editor’s note:

This year Ted King is in his sophomore year with the Cervélo TestTeam. After getting a taste for the European peloton with the U.S. espoir national team in 2005, King returned to the United States for three successful years of domestic pro racing. The 27-year-old is a native of New Hampshire and despite his affinity for hearty servings of coffee, he is slowly adapting to the smaller European portions. Slowly. His diaries appear monthly on VeloNews.com; between the scanty portions we serve up, you can follow Ted at www.Cervelo.com/team and www.iamTedKing.MissingSaddle.com. Those of you content with 140 characters or less can track his activities at www.twitter.com/iamtedking.