KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES PRO CYCLING TEAM 2009Just back from our first team camp of 2009. I flew out to Winter Park Colorado, where our team Director Jonas Carney lives, on Wednesday the 21st of Jan. My flight went smoothly and showed up on time. It was strange flying to a team camp with not one piece of cycling apparel, just ski gear and warm clothes. I immediately met up with the infamous El Gato(Jonny Sundt). We sat down for a cup of coffee at an airport cafe as there was some time to kill before the others arrived. We met up with Cando, and Erker, and finally Scott Zwizanski came through for us with the rental car and picked us up right in front of the terminal, what service!! The drive out to winter park was long but scenic and by the time we got there we were starved. The other half of the crew was to come in later so we went out to eat with Jonas before meeting up with the other guys at the house. We hit the sack wondering exactly what kind of "team building" activities Jonas had in store for us over the next few days.
We woke up relatively early and were told that we were going to go conquer a Mountain on snows shoes. Being from wintry New England I had a distinct advantage over guys like Neil Shirley form San Diego who hasn't played in the snow for years! We got going straight away and hike for about an hour and a half to reach the summit. We worked as a team breaking new trail but as in any competitive group of guys we soon began a race. A few of the guys, Erk, Neil, Ryan Anderson, and Deja Vu, decided it would be best to climb straight to the top. The rest of us, myself Zach Bell, Gato, Jonas, Cando, Ried, Zwizza, and Bowman, all decided to tack back and forth across the face in order to move faster and use less energy. We made the first peak at about the same time but because our method put us further across we were actually a few minutes ahead. There was no rest and we continued at this juncture Dave and Randy bridged up to Zach Reid and Myself to make up the front group. We pushed ahead until Deja made a clutch decision to remove his snow shies on a particularly rock section. He pulled ahead of me and the gap was just too big to bring back by the summit. Dave summited about a minute ahead of me with Reid close behind. At the top we found a huge cornice and jumped off it into some waist deep powder. The trip down was not so much fun as going down in the deep snow with snowshoes just wasn't productive. Every step you took you had to take an extra 20 seconds to get you feet out of the snow. We made it down fine however and waited in the base lodge for Charles who had apparently made it most of the way up, a good distance behind us, and now for we new was lost on the mountain! He impressively made it down not far behind everyone and we headed back to the house to get warm.
Later in the day Dan Bowman and I decided to start the weekend long project of making the Death Sled jump in the back yard. We made the run in and first hit but the snow was too light to effectively work with so we decided to leave the rest for the next day, but not before Dan hucked off it and landed on a pretty huge stump!! We went out for Pizza with the whole team after Casey Gibson did some head shots for the Team Website.
Friday half of us went Classic Nordic skiing and the other half went snow boarding with Jonas. It was snowing pretty hard all day but the skiing was still good. I have been skiing a lot back home so this was really just a normal day of training. After we got back to the house and had some lunch Zach and I went out to work on the Death Sled Jump. The snow was perfect for building and before long we had the run in dialed with two pretty good sized doubles and a berm at the end. We rode it for a few hours with no serious injuries and plenty of close calls! All in a days work!
Saturday we split up again this time between skate skiing and snowboarding. I have only skate skied on my classic back country skis at home so this was a new experience. I picked it up relatively quick and got in a good hard work out. By the time we were headed back it was white out conditions and it took us a few attempts just to get out of the park! We got back and just chilled out as everyone was pretty tired. We had a team meeting and then went out to dinner together at a seafood restaurant. As an aside I have a general rule that I have developed after living 21 years on coastal Cape Cod- If you can't see the ocean, don't buy the fish!. Obviously at 9500ft there was no ocean within a couple hundred miles. After some debate with the waitress about the "fresh catch of the day" (I mean seriously, how fresh could it be!) I ordered the Ahi Tuna, it was decent although not Cape quality, we left with a full team snowball fight in the parking lot and headed home.
Sunday morning we had some team photos to do as well as some more death sledding. We got some pictures before flying out and headed over Bertha pass to the airport. There was some concern because the pass was closed earlier for Avalanche blasting. It was fine however and we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. We hung out at the airport ant all boarded our flights on time. I had a bit of flight trouble, par for the course, the flight attendant broke one of the over head bins so a mechanic had to come on board, that put us out of the deicing line which in turn put us 2 hours behind. I arrived in Boston at 2 in the morning and Mom and Dad were there waiting! THANKS! Well that's it for this trip, tune in to here about our real Training Camp in a few weeks. I am heading down to Texas a week early to train at Ken Mills house. Should be fun, actually riding with all the guys but be assured there will be plenty of off the bike antics! PEACE OUT!