So heading for warmer climes to enhance their winter training has become a bit of a tradition for Dan, Gee and Rachel, they’ve been to California a couple of times before but the 2017 expedition saw a new team-mate, a whole new approach from coach Nick Grantham and culminated in the reveal of some stunning new kit for the 2017 season.
Week one was mainly about acclimatization; not as difficult as it might have been given that the team seemed to have brought the Welsh weather with them! Between some of the worst storms this century the team got over their jet-lag, got out on the road bikes and hung out with new team mate Graeme Mudd.
Mechanics Joe and Pete were on hand as well as Rachel’s boyfriend Olly Davey and Richard Cunynghame, a long time friend of the Athertons so the atmosphere was relaxed and there was lots of chance to build up a good team vibe. As ever food played a big part in the TFRDH training regime, highlight of the week was Rach’s homemade curry , and the discovery that Muddy can put away even more food than Dan!
Dan won’t travel on the 2017 DH circuit with the rest of the riders but they will be joined by 17 year old Kade Edwards currently at home in Huddersfield nursing a lacerated liver!
Gee said ‘ We do try to go somewhere sunnier! We look for great DH tracks, road –riding and a well-equipped gym, San Diego is one of the few places we can really get stuck in and cover all the bases.
The team logged some serious road-miles before Coach Nick arrived for an intense week in the gym, but as Joe pointed out its easier to get out there when there is an ocean front to ride along and pelicans and seals to distract from the pain! It seems that Muddy hasn’t really got to grips with the idea of rest day – if he wasn’t on his roadbike he’d be running along the seafront, if he wasn’t running he’d be on his DH bike!
Nick is keen to point out that week 2 wasn’t ALL pain. His training programme was tough but there was lots of variation and light relief in the form of a kayaking trip and a beach workout with Nick’s friend Chad Skrederstu
Rachel was les than thrilled when their idyllic location turned out to be a nudist beach!!
An added bonus of being in California was the chance to catch up with US based friends and sponsors so there was a visit to the Trek shop at San Diego, lunch with Bell Bike helmets and the team from GoPro joined the guys at their bike testing sessions.
Week 3 is all about Downhill. Rach was “absolutely buzzing” to be on her DH bike for the first time in 3 months, the team were joined by Trek Race Shop, Trek engineers and Fox for some very full days of fast laps and getting the Trek Sessions dialed for the season. Matt Delorme was on hand to capture the team’s new kit and much fun was had on the trails – especially avoiding falling into the cactus – not an obstacle the team are used to in Wales!!
Pics: Matt Delorme photo