I just completed a rather stimulating 2 weeks of team bonding/training camp in the Canary Islands with my new Saxo-Tinkoff Cycling team. We stayed at the beautiful ANFI Resort up the hill from the coast.
We got right into action on the very first day, dividing up into teams and getting into multiple activities on the beach and in the water accumulating points the whole way.
Probably the most difficult thing we did was a mass start swim race as part of a relay. I dont think I have ever swam full gas for any distance before, let alone the several hundred meters we covered. I was totally smashed. I got a new level of respect for Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin for sure!
Scuba diving was rather tame, but I was definitely into the jet skiing at full speed around a course of buoys.
The next day we got into the bus first thing in the morning not knowing where we were going or what we’d be doing. an hour later we arrived at the sailing club harbor. It looked like we were going sailing. I hate sailing. I dont like wind, I dont like being wet, I dont like the deep ocean. I can certainly handle it but its not first on my list.
Luckily for me, we had crazy winds of about 3 mph, which made for some interesting slow motion sailing.
We broke up into teams of 6 and boarded some very nice, expensive sailboats. We happened to have an Olympic gold medalist as our skipper so that was pretty cool
After learning the basics of sailing we lined up for a bunch of races out in the open water.
Again, because of the lack of wind, not the most thrilling but I did learn something and I didnt get wet or cold or eaten by a shark.
Another day, we woke up to a fleet of convertibles in the parking garage of the hotel.
We got into teams and had to navigate 2 hours of driving through the mountains with a less than reliable map to get to the above pictured undisclosed location in the middle of nowhere. It really hit home how varied and international Team Sax0-Tinkoff is when my team for today consisted of an American, a Pole, a Swiss, and a Spaniard, and we were all conversing in Italian!
The days course included various forms of rock climbing and rappelling, navigating, guns and archery, and crawling through a kilometer long dark and wet mining tunnel all over hiking about 6 miles. Good times.
The highlight of the various activities for the week was certainly the bungee jumping and the go-karts. It was interesting to see my various teammates and how they were mentally able to overcome any fears, or not, of the bungee jump from a crane 200 feet up in the air. I personally loved it. What a rush!
Bungee Jump-Click here to see some big air.
The go-Karts were pretty rad as well…our competitive spirit definitely came out and as you could imagine, a dozen bike racers going at it on a go kart track was rather aggressive. I was involved in an unfortunate incident involving ramming a stopped kart at full speed entering a turn and careening off the track into the grass. A week later and I can still barely move my arm. Comes with the territory. But man that was cool, I want to seek out more go-kart tracks during my travels. Contador does, apparently, and as one of the more experienced Go-Karters he promptly schooled us all.
All the crazy and different activities really bonded the team together and in just a couple weeks all the new guys are totally integrated into the family. I am really excited to be a part of Saxo-Tinkoff in 2013 and I know its going to be very successful for all of us.
We were at Gran Canaria for two weeks, however, whcih left ample time for getting more traditional stuff done, like bike fits, sponsor meetings, medical assessments, and above all, RIDING BIKES! We got in quite a bit of riding actually, around 3 hours a day on some incredible terrain that Gran Canaria has to offer. I will definitely be back to Anfi Resort on Gran Canaria in the future…its pretty much my ideal training ground. Perfect weather at 72 degrees every day for two weeks, incredible riding and roads, minimal traffic, big climbs…its got it all. And if you wanna bungee jump in the afternoons you can fit that in as well…
After a couple weeks at camp Im back home in Colorado super motivated to get back into serious training in preparation for my first race of the year at the Tour Down Under in Australia, only 7 short weeks away!!!