TCC Rider trains with Team Sky
From Alex Jones, January 19, 2013, U14 rider TCC Youth member. Does it get any better. Mac
On Saturday 12th Jan I found myself at the Team Sky hotel in Alcudia, Majorca, where the team are training. I was hoping I would get the chance to meet a couple of riders and coaches and then maybe get a photo/autograph opportunity before watching the riders go on their way.
I had met both Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sir Dave Brailsford on my arrival the night before and didn’t think things could get any better. However, the Sky Operations Director had heard that I am attending the Olympic Talent Development programme and I couldn’t believe it when she took me into a room and started handing me the new Sky Pro kit to put on and invited me to join the team on a 2 hour recovery ride.
I was lent an identical bike to theirs and Mario, the ‘Soigner’ made sure I had Team Sky water bottles and chef’s famous rice cakes for re-fuelling. The team car was loaded up with kit and spare bikes and we set off. I took turns riding next to Jonathan Tiernan-Locke, Ben Swift and others and led the ride when it was my turn to go to the front. I kept with the team for the whole ride, especially enjoying our stop off at a cafe overlooking the bay.
After arriving back at the hotel I was ready to go again and so after lunch I was generously offered the bike (a super-light Pinarello Dogma) for the rest of the afternoon to explore the area and do another of the training routes the team use – it was fantastic.
But the weekend was about to get even better – Shane Sutton told me that he would like to take me out the next day on a ride – I was very surprised. That evening I joined the team in dining room, eating food especially prepared by the team chef who travels with them to ensure they have a nutritionally balanced diet. The food was delicious and healthy and everyone was great.
The next morning couldn’t come quickly enough and I set out with Shane and team members towards Mount Lluc. Shane coached and chatted to me for the first hour and a half then I moved up to attempt the final ride to the summit with the team, a category 2 climb.
I was determined to keep up with the riders and with some powerful encouragement near the top, managed to stay with them all the way. I had to use every bit of my strength and determination to get through the pain of the lactic acid build up but there was no way I was going to get dropped! The sense of achievement climbing at 30kph at that gradient and distance was incredible.
At the end of the ride, when I thought that things could not possibly get any more amazing, Shane gave me some extremely good feedback about my cycling and offered to mentor me before events and races. He has kept his word and since then he has been in touch by email and given me his phone numbers. I learned a huge amount watching how everything is done at a Team Sky/Team GB training camp and came away even more inspired and with more commitment than ever to be the best I can be.
Getting ready to set off
At the front
Training with Shane