Nine riders over four days. This was our chance to live out the promises made in our promotional poster and website, whether the riders liked it or not!
Knowing how tough these weeks can be, I stuck tight on technique with as little physical exertion as possible for day one. Possibly the hardest thing with males (and some females too of course) is reining back their drive to go full speed in order for the new skill to set in.
We locked that energy in with an excursion to the cold creek that I had found the week before. Riding mountain bikes down the terraced hill behind camp was an experience in itself, with the coldness of the creek adding to the adventure as we explored both down and upstream of what was once the water wheel that fed this farm. Through a tunnel, down a mini water fall, up into an unforgiving cavern. Great fun, and all with the purpose of rejuvenating bodies for the three days to come.
Day two was punctuated with a trip to Half Moon Bay on Lake Rotoiti where a whole new (to us) playground was discovered. Ropes, trees and various heights of cliff kept us busy for an hour or two, encouraging each other to overcome the fear that was holding us back from whatever jump we wanted to do next. Blair Pirini offered something different again with a ski biscuit ride behind his jet boat for an extra thrill.
Lap timers started coming into play with some section work followed by full laps to give a goal. This required more energy so management of this was crucial. The real fun was starting to creep in though.
Working It Out
That night we packed everything into vehicles in preparation for an early trip to Tauranga which we began at Physical Impact. Body movement patterns were my main focus, but all of the squats I asked for paled into comparison to the “Wall Ball” competition that Sarah made us do.
Who was to arrive next but the NZ Importer of JT Clothing, Brent Truman. With an impressive display of riding gear that included helmets and boots, he was good enough to give us all a rundown on how to best approach a potential sponsor. He included some good examples along with some that were pretty funny, and was then asked many a question.
Next was a play at my track. Bumpy and narrow in places, it is far more technical than Pirinis. Jumping and ruts are the specialties here with the fun step up followed by five corners that I keep ripped and watered. The riders definitely earned their play in the Omanawa river afterwards, water that had warmed significantly since our time there the week before but it was still cold enough to require the tackling of a few cautious ones.
Then came what we call “Aggression Day”, the final one for camp week. Laptimers are compulsory and the goal is to reach the true potential of each rider. Regan and Jayden Steen along with Alex Schmidt of New Caledonia all shaved two seconds off of their best times, with Tim Fullerton taking a full three seconds off of his on a day where the track was more challenging than ever.
The true test will come at the race tracks of home. Either way we know that there was a load of quality learning done, the riders stayed safe and we had a good time. Is hard to ask for much more than that!