This post was written by one of our latest additions to the team, Bradley Wiggs. Enjoy! – Phil
With an entire season of racing quickly approaching, the Voler Factory team camp was the first chance for me to meet my teammates for the coming year. We arrived at the Alpine Lodge on Mt. Tamalpais on a beautiful Saturday morning and began getting ready to ride. As a new face on the squad, I was immediately struck by how well the group meshed. We spent a quality amount of time laughing while kitting up in our fresh Voler threads. After a quick application of Zealios sunscreen, we donned our Rudy Project lids and shades and set off on our first ride of the weekend.
After a winter filled with many lonely miles, or even worse, miles logged with Colin Patterson, riding with a full team was extremely rewarding. We rolled through the mountains of Marin County before enjoying a winding descent down towards the California coast. It was at this point in the ride that we all stripped our warmers and left our jackets in the follow car in preparation for our first test of the weekend: a 10.7 mile individual time trial on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. The time trial served as a fun way to test our fitness and remind ourselves of our inferiority to the real fast dudes out there (I’m looking at you, John Borstelmann). We smashed a couple more climbs, railed some descents, and eventually found ourselves back at the Alpine Lodge. Post-shower, I found myself devouring a stellar dinner cooked by Paul and Sarah, followed up by a killer presentation from Tim with Endurance PTC. The topic of Saturday’s talk was hydration and how to manage fluid and electrolyte intake on the bike, a crucial aspect of successful training and racing. Filled with good food and valuable knowledge, we retired for the night.
The second day of riding was centered around three twenty minute hard pacelines. The team split into two groups, and after some arguing about who had to sit in my draft, we set off on the first of the three.
A few hours, 93 miles, and a couple Strava KOMs later, we returned to the lodge and took some photos before getting a body composition analysis. This was the second big “test” of the weekend, and again, John crushed our souls with a body fat percentage less than six.
Oh well. No more girl scout cookies for me.
The third and final day of camp kicked off with a coffee shop ride in preparation for the Cherry Pie Criterium in Napa later in the afternoon. We rolled down to the local shop and then climbed up Hawk Hill, taking in the wonderful view above the Golden Gate Bridge.
It was shortly after this that I realized team manager Phil Mooney might have a different idea than I did about what a “pre-race coffee spin” is, and after 4000 feet of climbing, my hunch was confirmed. After realizing we were running a little short on time, we hustled back to the lodge, packed up the van under the supervision of team captain Blake Anton, and headed out for Napa. Blake obviously didn’t supervise well enough as we had to reposition our Token wheels a number of times, but other than that, the drive was a smooth one. John played Plug Walk enough times to get everyone fired up for the crit and we rolled into the parking lot ready to race.
The race featured a pretty stacked field for a local criterium with a couple of very talented sprinters on the registration list. Knowing we wouldn’t have a great shot at a sprint victory, we committed to getting a breakaway to stick. Sure enough, after twenty minutes of punchy racing around the ten corners of the course, a fiery attack from John led to a four man breakaway that I was lucky enough to be a part of. Jeff Linder of Mike’s Bikes also made the selection, and after some coercion, he began to work with us. A Squadra rider was the final rider in our group of four. We maintained a healthy gap, but with four or five laps to go, the Mike’s team had cut it down by a significant margin. Jeff stopped taking pulls, and John and I began trading attacks that he and the other rider were forced to cover. I liked our chances at that point, but with two laps to go, an untimely crash eliminated our numerical advantage in the break as John slid out on an off-camber roundabout. It was all I could do to hold off the fast-approaching Mike’s squad as I was unable to beat my breakaway companions in the sprint, finishing third.
Looking back on the weekend, I’m beyond stoked to be a part of Voler Factory Racing p/b OVCB for the upcoming season. Being surrounded by like-minded, unselfish teammates is something I don’t take for granted, and I’m excited to see what we can accomplish in 2020. Bikes are fun, friends are rad, and team camp combined both in a blend that is sure to produce a fun and successful year.
Photos by Torey Philipp and Gavin Murray