Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Day 5 Team Camp

Our last day at training camp was a sunshine filled beauty! You should know that we've been situated right on the beach all this time. Here's a shot of our home for the weekend, which doubled as bike build central. I think somewhere around 25 bikes were built here during camp by our uber mechanic John with some help from SRAM's Paul and Chad. Rebecca and I posed for a quick snap shot in front of one magnificent scene. there's not much beach here as the coastline is all rock but it was certainly beautiful. So after the quick photo, Micah, our team's General Manager, wisked us off to the airport....and so we were on our way home.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Day 4 Team Camp

On the four day, there was sun!!! So I don't have a lot of shots because we did quite a bit of riding super-model style....meaning we rode in 2-by-2 fashion showing off our Specialized Ruby S-Works bikes, SRAM groupos and Hincapie clothing :) Plug Plug Plug! Anyway, other than riding, we did a lot of what you see here...this became known as "study hall" as at one point there were no less than nine laptops on line, cyclist pecking way at its keys. Everything from homework to research data entry to BLOGGING got done in study hall. Erica finishes some Spanish homework, Catherine graded some homework, I blogged and emails from all the laptops flew literally all over the world from our little "study hall!"

Apparently, I had the heat turned up too high last night because Kat's hair looked like this when she work up- my hair cannot do this!

Day 3 Team Camp

Today was possibly the most important day of our team camp so far. Although we woke up to a pouring windy rainstorm, our spirits were high as we loaded into the Aaron's van for the short drive over the mountains and to Specialized World Headquarters in Morgan Hill, CA. On the agenda at Specialized was a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility, a meeting with the Brand Manager of the Designs 4 Women (by which the Aaron's Team is fully sponsored) and, the highlight of the day, the World Championship Specialized employee LUNCH RIDE!

So, we unloaded the vans and headed to the front door. in our Hincapie "Sunday Best" team attire. This is Kat Carroll- wearing HIGH (sort of) HEELS! Never seen that before!

So here are a few shots of the facility...we visited the helmet research and development lab where we saw a first hand demonstration test of the very helmet the Aaron's team will be wearing. It was quite dramatic as we witnessed a 3-G-force impact, through which our helmet would have successfully protected the rider. Impressive!

You might not know this but Specialized makes the best water bottles on the market, hands down. They basically make water bottles for everybody else! Here's part of the process, where the do the artwork, and it includes a series of UV lights to help dry the ink. Everywhere you looked in this area of the facility were boxes and boxes filled with water bottles!

We also saw some top-secret departments at Specializes where a "no-photography" rule was enforced...from shot is our fearless leader Director Sportif Carmen DeLuisio sliding down a fire pole from a secret department to the bike-build shop. Also, we met this guy hard at work asleep on a stack of wheel bags!
This is Mario Cippolini's bike post-crash from an impact with a barrier. Unbelievable King Mario walked away unscathed but some of the tubing on this bike was severely compromised and buckled from the impact of the barricade. This is clearly a monument of stature for Specicalized as it represents the purpose of their hard work. Again, this place is impressive...these are the people who make the technology of cycling happen.
Our tour ends in the Marketing Department where Catherine Powers finds herself a new set of go-go boots, which we were told, could easily equipped with cleats! Eron Chorney inspired us all with an explanation of what the Designs 4Women brand is all about. We are now the women of Specialized...we represent strong, smart and athletic women of cycling. It is our mission to continue to reach out to the next generation of cyclist, no matter what age or "stage of the game"...we'll be looking for women who love cycling just like we do and we can't wait to help them find their way to the best line of women's cycling products in the world: Specialized D4W.
Oh, and we did head out with a few brave soles on the Lunch Ride-it was possibly the worst weather I've ever witnessed from my saddle but fun nonetheless. Felicia says "we won" meaning the Aaron's women beat the Specialized employees. She says the finish line was "back there where we were in front" and hey, I'm going with that!!!!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 2 Team Camp

Today we woke up (and last night we slept through) pouring rain...the temperature was in the 40s and the wind was blowing like crazy...thank goodness we were not planning to be bike racers today! The team was scheduled for a photo shoot super-model style and so we all promptly began getting ready after a steady fill of java. It was fun, actually, and a great opportunity for us all to get to know each other. One by one, each of us were "on" and our photographers were awesome to help us put each to come out of our shells. This is Kat Carroll getting ready to strut her stuff. Catherine Powers prepped for her Superstar shot. Carmen McNellis and I bonded a bit. Carmen Deluisio, business as usual.

It took hours, though, to get all the shots but I think in the long run it will all be worth it. Although not as tough as bike racing, super modeling was exhausting so as soon as we were done, everyone retreated to the garage and hopped on to trainers for a workout. Here's Kat preparing for an upcoming race in Australia...she was set up across from me on the trainer.

Day 1 Aaron's Corporate Furnishings Women's Cycling Team Training Camp

Upon arrival to camp in Santa Cruz, California I was promptly greeted by my NEW RIDE!!! This is my 2008 Specialized S-Works Ruby training bike. It's outfitted with a SRAM Force groupo with the exception of the brand spanking new Red shifters. Its lighter than my 2007 Ruby AND this is only my training bike- the race bike will be full SRAM Red, the lightest component group on the market. Bottom line, I should be able to FLY up mountains!!!
I did have a few minutes to take the Ruby for a quick spin around Santa Cruz and get to know my teammates...and then off to our first official team dinner at a local Italian Restaurant!
So my day started at 430am Eastern Standard Time and ended at 900pm Pacific...long day to say the least so after dinner, I was fast asleep!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Last night we went out to dinner for Tina's birthday. Here she is blowing out the candles on the coolest dessert...it was all different little mini shot glass size creations...everything from German Chocolate Cake to Almond Parfait to Key Lime Pie and more. No two were the same and we shared and sampled most of them! Of course, Todd had the fresh fruit!!! And it was definitely guilt free as no one hesitate about having dessert since we rode 100 miles earlier that morning and planned to do the same again the next day. A group of twelve of us met at a local restaurant and we had a great time...thanks to Kenny for planning a fun evening and thanks to Tina for having her birthday!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Posse

To know me is to know the posse....Pam, Shelley, me in the middle, Tawni and Tina....aka The Angels a la Charlie's Angels.  These are my girls!!!  We're at a fabulous Christmas Party hosted by Tina's boyfriend Ken.  I sort of talked Ken into having the party and it really was a great night. Almost everyone that came is a cyclist or supporter of a cyclist so the atmosphere was casual, although the dress was anything but!

Thanks to my personal shopping assistants, my Mom and Dad, I wore a fabulous LBD (little black dress) with a satin tie at the shoulder.  My parents were so patient as I drug them all over the mall (one of my favorite off-season destinations) insistent on trying every possible party dress...only to buy the first one we saw!  Typical of me, Mom and Dad didn't even blink at that.  I wore pink and black jewelry and pink shoes; my husband Todd, being the great sport he is, agreed to wear a pink striped shirt to match me.  Hey, what do you expect, this is my Oscar night and I went all out!!!  Getting ready for the party was as much fun as the party itself! 

The most popular topic of conversation was definately the legendary Sunday Group Ride, better know as the Jupiter World Championships.   It was nice to see everyone dressed up and without helmets even though we talked mostly about riding our bikes!   Pam, Shelley, Tina and I do our best to give the guys a run for their money on Sundays and, in the meantime, I get in some great training.  Beating the boys is HUGE motivation and we thoroughly enjoy, especially Tina, doing our share of trash-talking.  These Sunday World Championships are a big deviation from the seriousness of my usual life as a professional cyclist but they've become my social life and so, as silly as it may seem, I love going on Sunday.  Soon I start traveling with Aaron's Corporate Furnishings Professional Cycling Team and I won't see The Girls much so, along with the Christmas Party, Sunday rides are my time in the off season to bond with the best friends a girl could have!!!