With the season fully underway, the team took some time away from racing to get acquainted with each other and our sponsors at the 2017 Herbalife24 p/b Marc Pro-Nature’s Bakery team camp! Located in beautiful San Anselmo in Marin County this year, the camp featured a hat-trick of hard days on the bike and some great bonding time for the riders. Check out the recaps of each day below along with some absolutely amazing photos taken by our resident photographer extraordinaire, Alex Chiu.
*All images can be found and purchased at this link. Support your local photographers, and please do not screenshot the pictures.
**All rides mentioned in this post can be found among our team’s Strava profiles for the weekend of March 24-26, 2017. If you ever find yourself in the area, feel free to copy the routes to give yourself a tour of the great riding and stunning views Marin County has to offer!
DAY 1–Friday: The Time Trial
The team arrived at around 9:00am to Baird Hall in San Anselmo, a local retreat center part of the San Francisco Theological Seminary, a fitting atmosphere given the day would start out with a baptism by fire–or in our case, rain! I had been warned of the curse on this team before I left sunny Los Angeles, and this year would prove no different: our annual first-day team time trial would be held in some pretty soggy conditions.
Nevertheless, we stuck to the schedule, and promptly rolled out at noon, after all the riders had gotten our kits on and mentally prepped ourselves to not be dry for the next couple of hours. We started the ride heading north, spinning through San Rafael and Fairfax as part of a larger loop that would deposit us at the start of the this year’s TT course, a rolling section of road through the woodsy outer areas of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard that would end with the punch up White’s Hill (see this link to check out the Strava segment and see how you fare against the team!).
Once we had become sufficiently soaked and cold, we decided it was prime-time to empty the tanks for an all out effort. Were we ready? Probably not, but we were still gonna send it. After all, if Phil, our team manager, beat any of us, it meant we were off the team, and we knew he had been training hard for this effort in order to assert his physical relevance. “I’m ready to blow your guys’ doors off,” he kept saying, touting his newly acquired dad-fitness that had been brought to him with the birth of his first child only a couple months prior.
Game on, Mr. Mooney.
Team members starting filing out, roughly thirty seconds apart, and wouldn’t see each other again for the next thirty minutes or so, as we wound our way through the back-roads of Marin, which are actually quite beautiful when you take the time to look at them.
I, however, did not take time to look at them. I was cross-eyed and slowly fading into whatever one would call the opposite of an exercise high as I tried to throw down some fat watties.
Everybody had crested the top of White’s Hill and had descended down back into San Rafael to avoid freezing while waiting for the others. We all regrouped at the bottom, gorged ourselves on some Nature’s Bakery products and some of the home-made cakes our resident chef for the weekend, Matt Accarrino, had made for us.
We decided to end the day early, with only two hours of riding in our legs, but, you know what, them’s were some hard miles. We mozied on back to Baird Hall, showered, and were then treated to an absolutely amazing recovery meal full of veggies and eggs while we watched the clouds dissipate to make way for beautiful sunshine we had so longed for no more than an hour ago. Alas, nature is a fickle entity.
The evening would culminate in a photo shoot, sponsor presentations, and recovery sessions with the Marc Pro before everyone turned it in early, hoping to get some well needed rest for the boxing match that would come the next day.
DAY 2–Saturday: To The Lighthouse!
The day started early for the team on Saturday. Though the ride wasn’t scheduled to depart until 9:00am, most had woken up at around 7:00am to get some food before what would end up being over a hundred miles of riding to the coast and back.
The team set out northbound once again, and worked our way up through Nicasio, looping westward towards Tomales Bay and back down towards Inverness before beginning an out-and-back to the Point Reyes Lighthouse.
At this point, I should note that the riding leading up to this hadn’t been a cake walk by any means. Phil had decided the TT effort the prior day hadn’t been hard enough and that it was time for an all-out 20-minute team time trial through to the notable Marshall Wall segment. We divided ourselves into groups of four and proceeded to drill it together as hard as we could for as long as we could. By the time the final kilometers of the effort had arrived, the groups had shattered, and everyone was doing their own efforts leading into the climb. Sam Bassetti ended up putting in a doozie of a dig to blast away from everyone else and finish first across the line on the first serious action of the day.
After making our first stop just outside of Inverness, the team then split into two groups, one of which would continue to the lighthouse, the other heading back to the house for a shorter option. (Phil, having properly winded himself on Friday, decided to play it safe and opt for an abbreviated spin. Something about how he had a child he had to hold or something of the like, but all I heard were excuses, excuses).
The longer group then began the trek to the lighthouse and back, where the real hammerfest would begin. The team began drilling the pace as soon as we turned in the direction of the ocean on what would feel like an interminable road, and the head-butting wouldn’t stop until Sam Bassetti and I reached the final gate before the path to the lighthouse.
Hilariously enough, nobody was actually able to see the lighthouse itself. Even those that went up the road past the gate weren’t able to reach it, as the full trip requires a descent down a 500-step staircase, and while this team is quite rad, there’s no doubt, we were not willing to jeopardize the rest of the ride through some improptu off-roading. Alas, we were not going to send it. That being said, however, the views were spectacular, and the group was wonderfully cracked, indicating we had done our jobs in properly hurting ourselves.
After admiring the ocean for a couple minutes in between whining at how tired we all were, we decided to rally (because, like I said, we’re rad like that), and made our way all the way back to the house, which included a video shoot with one of our partners for this year, TrainerRoad.
The evening would once again consist of an amazing meal of chicken and veggies cooked by Chef Accarrino, along with more sponsor presentations, including KTM, TrainerRoad, Zealios, Jakroo, and Marc Pro, promptly followed by everyone passing out after a hard day’s session.
NB: A special recognition of Chef needs to be said here. Not only was he cooking us delicious meals, but he was the one forcing the pace nine times out of ten. That’s right: this man would be railing it on the bike during the day, and then promptly step off his bike and walk directly into the kitchen to make sure we were all fed, not even changing out of his kit. Mike, you are a better athlete than us.
DAY 3–Sunday: Man oh man, It’s The Mount Tam Slam Jam
If the title of this day’s recap doesn’t really say it all, then I quit words.
The mission: smash the Mt. Tamalpais KOM from Marion to the East Peak.
The Team: a bunch of tired dudes, most of whom were either dealing with some kind of stomach bug, or, potentially, from eating TOO many healthy fibers. One of the two.
Either way, we were all pretty exhausted leading into this last day, but we were determined. Especially Phil. Rested and recuperated, he probably wanted this more than any of us. “Hot diggity dog,” he said, “we’re going to crush it on this climb,” at which point we all silently agreed to quit the team were he to utter another phrase of such highly concentrated dad-ness again.
We humored Phil, and off we went with fatigue in our legs and glory on the line. We got to the base of the climb, took a quick pee-break, disrobed, and then went ballistic.
For the duration of the first twenty minutes, the group stayed relatively intact, but teammate, Justin Mauch, laid down the gauntlet as part of his “I’m going to take it easy before Joe Martin” training plan and the group obliterated within seconds.
It was then just Chris H-D, Mauch, and me going bananas up the road as well on the wet rollers in the middle of the climb. Finally, I launched a last ditch effort to the parking lot up the climb, and I had it…until both H-D and Mauch motored past me to take the KOM and I was left floundering in my on gasps for breath.
The rest of the crew made it to the top, and we descended back down to top off our ride with a stroll through Ridgecrest road and finally one last 20-minute effort up the BoFax Climb. Everyone left it all out on the road that day, including Phil! As he crested the top of the climb, he promptly rolled over to the intersection of the road, unclipped, laid down his bike, as well as himself, and reveled in his efforts.
“Are you tired?” asked Dave Christenson.
“Yes,” said Phil. “I am not one of the strong.”
You are, Phil. You are.
In was then back down to San Anselmo, and back to Baird Hall! In a couple hours we would all be well fed, cleaned up, and officially wiped out from carrying about a year’s supply of Nature’s Bakery Bars and Herbalife products back to our cars.
And with that, another training camp done and dusted! A huge thank you to all of the following sponsors and team staff for taking time out of their weekend to come hang and help out the team. You all are fantastic and why we are kept so happy and actually enjoying riding our bikes.
Team Staff in Attendance:
Phil Mooney – Manager
Ronnie Lenzi – Swannie
Vince Coons – Mechanic
Alex Chiu – Photographer extraordinaire
Matt Accarrino – Chef
Sponsors in Attendance:
Ben – Nature’s Bakery
Brian – Marc Pro
Trevor – KTM
Matt – Strava
Ben Jacque-Maynes – Jakroo
Fergus – Ritchey
Kevin – Zealios
Doug – Velofix
Michael – TrainerRoad
Jonathan – Trainer Road