As you may or may not know since retirement I have taken up the role as mentor for the Experza team. With such a young team it feels like it is the perfect opportunity to help them not to make the same mistakes I did and guide them in the right direction with everything on and off the bike. While at times I’m sure I will annoy them in the long run they’ll appreciate the help.
Part of my mentoring role has including training camps in my France house right down in the south close to the Spanish border. The first of these training camps the team had back in April and it was a blast. Not only did the cross riders come down to stay but so did the road girls and our sports nutritionist, who even rode with us for a couple of days. I’m sure he thoroughly enjoyed the experience even on the efforts day.
Nutrition is something that I feel very strongly about and as it has so many
aspects I felt it was important for the riders to meet Andrew in person and
discuss with him anything they wanted in one on one sessions during the camp. He had provided us with a menu planner for the entire 2 week camp which was something none of the girls had done before. The surprising thing is not really how much you get to eat during the camp but that usual portion sizes are spread into snacks and meals every 2-3hrs during the day. Something that I’ve been aware of having worked with Andrew for a few years now, but for the girls it was quite hard for them to compute at first. By the end of the first week however they were all excited about afternoon snack and butternut squash breakfast pancakes.
There are many aspects to nutrition that are even more important for women than men such as iron intake and nutritional deficiencies that people don’t really talk about until it is too late. So the camp provide plenty of opportunities for all the girls to talk together and individually with an expert in their field.
The second team training camp of the year brought us to Belgium and wasandwiched neatly between two weekends of racing. This camp had a bigger emphasis on the cross riders and provided the perfect opportunity to show the riders exactly what to do on certain training sessions they would be encountering during the year and a chance for us all to have some fun off road. Some people call it training, but to us it was basically playing and challenging each other to do more.
“Challenging each other to do more” is what I feel is the best thing about having such a young team all pretty much together in the same boat. They encourage each other through friendly rivalries alongside a healthy dab of competition. When one can do something the other can’t its brilliant to see how they adapt and watch to see what they can learn.
With 2 training camps under their belts already the riders are off racing for now but will all regroup for another camp in France in July. As this is a time where the training really ramps up I’m excited to see how they are going. Having said that I am most definitely not excited about getting dropped. I’ll leave you now as I have quite a lot of training to cram in before July.