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McGuire/Langdale Cycling Team Training Camp, March 16, 2005
McGuire/Langdale steps up to the mark
Winning friends and races...
Swinging into their second year as a pro team, San Francisco's McGuire/Langdale Cycling Team enjoys a week on the Point Reyes peninsula. Ella Lawrence joins the team at their training camp in Olema, CA to find out what's in store for 2005.
I can't think of a better place for a week-long training camp. McGuire/Langdale team racers and manager Terrence Curley thought so too, which is why they lined up a bed and breakfast for a week's worth of riding in the rain. The team took over the Bear Valley Inn, filling it with ten men's worth of soggy spandex and PowerBars - but owners Ken and Amanda Eichstaedt didn't mind...they're about as bike-friendly as it gets. Ken, a legend in his own time, has completed the world's oldest bike race, Paris-Brest-Paris, twice, on his fixed-gear; Amanda is the Western United States representative for the United States Bicycle Coalition.
Although McGuire/Langdale is a fledgling team, it certainly has the motivation and the talent to succeed in 2005. With a combination of friendly, down-to-earth racers and management, this is a team that is making friends in the peloton and outside it.
The Managers' goals
Team manager Terrence Curley is excited about McGuire/Langdale's second season as an official pro team. "We're a small team but we're also mostly a Bay Area squad," he says. "I think this really builds the team aspect of things. Like the training camp, [living in the same area and riding together] really gels the guys together. They get to know each other's style; they can tell by the way they're riding if they're going good or not. They get to know each other's movement without saying anything - they don't necessarily have to talk in a race because they already know what their style is and what the next move is." Curley says this year presents itself as different from last year for the team, both with the roster - a balanced roundup of stage racers, sprinters, and climbers - and with the sponsors. "Last year we had more of a criterium and sprint team," he adds. "Now we really feel like we could do well in the big races."
The Racers' goals
Team captain Erik Saunders says he's regained his motivation for road racing through being on a new team. "When you're in the same team for three years (Saunders raced for Ofoto in 2002, 2003, and 2004), you don't really have to DO anything to justify your existence," he says. "But now, it's a group of guys on a team that's not as well-known or well-respected and so you really feel like the onus is on you to give that same amount of respect to the team and back to yourself."
Matt Dubberly, who raced for Sierra Nevada from its inception as a pro team until this year, says, "This gives me the opportunity to race with new people, to go out and win a race on my own. I'm looking forward to riding well and kicking butt, making a name for myself and the team." Dubberly also told me his personal goals are winning the Tour de France, the Giro, and the Vuelta. He also says that he coaches all of the other racers on the team, but doesn't follow his own advice; he designs big research telescopes out of his home in Santa Cruz, and until recently he was a member of a renegade Boy Scout troop that shunned birdhouse-making in favour of white-water rafting. What are we going to do with this guy?
First-year pro Jeff Rappoport added more seriously; "I'm looking forward to getting to do some of the big races you can't do as an amateur. I'd like to present the image that I'm really going to race well but, honestly, I'm just pretty excited to be able to take the start line at Philly and San Francisco! They're huge races and it will be exciting to be there."
Saunders begins to goof around with a Bergamo cycling cap, but says of his training program this year - "I coach myself. I'm training more than I've ever trained. The past three years being with the team I was with, you get real comfortable with things. I tend to get really excited about certain races, and that's like three races out of the year. It doesn't make a whole tonne of sense to train all this much for doing three races - your performance in every other race suffers. This year, for the first time in a long time I've really got a lot of motivation to go and tear it up in every single race."
The Camp itself
In addition to making reporters laugh, the McGuire/Langdale team spent their time at training camp getting to know each other even better and getting some serious training done. Roman Killan, second-year pro, gave the low-down on the team's programme for the week. "Sunday was pretty easy. We did a steady, medium ride for about three and a half hours. We cut it short because it was raining pretty hard. Monday we rode for five hours, through some rolling hills and did some light tempo. Until Wednesday we're going to do rides with plenty of miles and some decent intensity - then Thursday and Friday we're going to break it down, before we race this weekend."
This year, McGuire/Langdale is riding full-carbon Jamis frames. Saunders sums up the new gear, saying, "You've got a good bike that's not gonna break and good equipment - the rest is up to us." Team manager Terry Curley adds, "We really have sponsors that have stepped up this year. Mavic has really taken care of us, as have Easton, Jamis, Truvativ and Hutchinson tires. With first-year teams, it's really hard to get all of that stuff. But now it feels like the real deal. We've got everything we need to race bikes." Curley adds - "The clothes this year (Bergamo) are really good. They've done the polo shirts and the track suits and everything so we've gone from 'almost looking like a pro team' to 'really being a pro team' in a year. It really helps with the mental aspect. A positive mental attitude and how you feel can have so much to do with how you look; what you're wearing, what you're riding. This all definitely feels like a different game this year."
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Images by Ella Lawrence/CN