Last month, buffeted by snow and ice, I and all my other teammates hailing from the frigid north ventured to Oceanside, CA for a week of sun and training for Team Skyline’s official 2020 team camp.
Spirits were high, not just because we got to leave our indoor trainers behind, but because this marked the official beginning of the 2020 season, where Skyline returned with a new kit, new roster, and a new set of goals and challenges to take on to be the change we want to see in cycling and our communities.
While a bulk of our roster remained unchanged from last year, some new faces showed up to camp, including Wolfgang Brandl from team Movistar Ecuador, and Noah Simms from Team Floyd’s of Leadville. Ryan DeWald, the team founder, captain, and spiritual center, built a squad with a wide range of ages (between 20 and 41) to construct a program dedicated to investing in the future while giving veteran racers the chance to mentor and educate the younger riders in race scenarios. Camp provided the first opportunity for the old and new guard to come together and assess the dynamic before racing begins.
Despite the high energy and fact you finally have all riders under a single roof, training camps still remain a logistical nightmare. The goal of the camp is to bring everyone on board and synchronize not only ride tactics and strategies, but team messaging and community goals. Time is of the essence, and the fewer hours spent wasted on ensuring all riders are on the same page will invariably lead to more meaningful experiences (and a happier DS.)
In order to allow the camp to serve its full purpose- giving athletes the time to train effectively and then build relationships off the bike, the logistical structure of the day’s activities have to flow without hiccups; this is all the more true for our diabetic riders, where meal times, insulin dosages, and ride profiles and route planning need to be meticulously calculated to avoid any potentially life-threatening problems.
As the old saying goes- fish and guests go bad after three days- we at Team Skyline found that even after a week of riding and living in close quarters, there were no clashes of ego; if anything, we were riding more efficiently and tactically than at the start, operating more as a unit than before. Part of the reason why spirits remained so high was due to the shockingly easy means by which Karoo streamlined the ride itinerary.
All riders could share routes in just seconds, and with everyone on the same page, we had no “stragglers” and even the most forgetful riders were still on the same page, allowing the riders to ride and any conflict surrounding preparedness to never surface. With longer sunlight hours and warmer temperatures, our minds focused more on where we were in the season rather than where we were in the ride.
What made camp noteworthy as well was the successful diabetic awareness ride on the final day of camp. Team Skyline hosted 40+ riders and shared routes quickly and easily through the dashboard and enjoyed a 90 mile, 10,000+ feet of elevation gain day where we spoke to other cyclists, parents, and type 1 diabetics, working to help those interested in the lives of diabetics learn more about the disease, and helping parents or relatives of type 1 diabetic athletes by giving them tips and stories about racing and competing with the disease. It was my favorite day of camp by far, and a reminder of how powerful cycling can be for carrying a message to like minded people.