by Chris Reid
The team recently spent a week in South Carolina racking up some early season miles and intensity. For the second year in a row the team rented a gorgeous house on Keowee Lake and used the time to hone fitness and team build. With everyone present it was a great chance for the team to work on skills and learn more about their teammates.
The camp was blessed with great weather, with the only cold rainy day being a two-hour recovery ride and the rest of the time spent in plus twenty degree weather. While Tara Whitten had to leave a few days early to reconnoiter the Rio Olympics road and time trial courses, the core of the team used the good weather to pile up a big 25-hour week with three rides over 140km and two days of intensive echelon and sprint work. The 165km final day took riders over the steep Sassafras climb and was Junior National Criterium Champion Katherine Maine’s lifetime longest ride “by a bunch.” New sponsors Fruit2 and Scratch Lab helped ensure that the camp was bonk free (with the exception of this DS on day two- but that’s my own fault)
It’s always neat to see the level of the team rise year after year, and this year was no exception. While the fastest Cyclery-Opus rider up the Caesar’s Head climb was again New Brunswick rider Ellen Watters who shaved a few minutes off of last years’ time, what was more impressive was how the bulk of the team was hot on her heals. Without doubt this roster has the highest median average of any team we’ve ever fielded.
One of the great joys of team camp is the bonanza of new equipment that comes with it. Team riders spent the week dialing in their new Opus Vivace bikes and initial impressions were good with team riders commenting on how balanced the bikes felt and how comfortable they were right away on fast twisting descents.
Giro is again providing Atmos helmets to protect the team’s noggins and this year comes on board as the official shoe sponsor. Smith returns with some fantastic matching pink frames to make sure the girls are suitably color coordinated. The Biemme rain capes got a workout during the monsoon weather on the rest day and team riders were shocked to find their base layers were dry after two hours in torrential downpour.