When enthusiasm is infectious
When training feels like a bike race and enthusiasm is contagious – then it’s the Pushbikers training camp on Lake Garda! For the 2022 season, the final course was set here – on the bike, in conversation, with a lion in training and Mario Cipollini on a short visit.
Road Cycling training camp lake Garda
at the beginning of the season
“The game is over – the feeling remains. That was one of the results we took away from our winter camp. A month later, all Pushbikers met again – this time with their Wiawis bikes, this time in Italian climes, and with a clear focus: to take the community we had gained onto the bike.
Cyclists want to race. To compete, to challenge one’s own limits, to feel adrenaline and, last but not least – despite all the strain and exertion – to experience oneself on the bike.
Why a training camp and why in Italy?
Winter is a long time here. And even though winter sports such as cross-country skiing and the like are not only a lot of fun, but are also justified as an alternative training in the cold months, the desire and also the necessity to collect kilometres on the bike and to start with more concrete preparations for the racing season comes. In the south, with milder temperatures and more sunshine, this is much easier to do. After the joint winter camp in Chiemgau, many of our Pushbikers decided to escape to the south for one or two weeks – for example to Gran Canaria or Girona.
In February, Lake Garda offered ideal conditions for joint training sessions, to continue working on the team spirit, to get a taste of the “dolce vita” in the air and to fine-tune the bikes.
“The weather was a dream: sunshine and a view of snowy mountains. The wow effect set in right away. It can only be a beautiful day!
Material Check. And Reality Check
Our mechanics have worked a lot with the riders on the seating position. The seating position can be changed in small steps over the course of a day. That has a lot to do with feeling and not purely with data or strict formulas. The credo is: try to make the sprinters aerodynamic and set them in a low position. For example, with a long stem, narrow handlebars and a saddle that is very high in relation to the handlebars. Sprinters also like to ride a frame that is one size smaller. Climbers sit more upright so that they can pedal economically for as long as possible and get more air. The frame can be larger and the stem shorter. However, the weight must be at least 6.8 kg. Sprinters like to ride the Wiawis Aerobike (Waws -G Disc), mountain climbers the Wiawis Radical.
And that is also part of a training camp at the beginning of the season: simulating defects. This is also how the mechanics and sporting directors “train” for their upcoming assignments.
„Sometimes the riders come an hour before training to tune their bikes and then again after training to fine-tune them. I learned at Lake Garda that communication with our Pushbikers is enormously important. As mechanics, we are primarily responsible for the bikes, but also for everything else, because that’s the only way a team works.“
Practising procedures. And have a lion with you
First of all, it can be said: Even though the Pushbikers are not a pure development team, we have many young riders in our ranks. In addition, there are changes in the squad from year to year. In 2022, we will start with a team that has largely been newly formed. It is very important to train the processes on the bike and to study the respective roles in the race. Collecting kilometres is an important basis, but it is also crucial to work on the technique with all the riders.
The training modalities vary over five days. Sometimes it is about the basis and longer riding time, then again about training the pursuit, lead-out and sprint training or also riding techniques on the mountain. Even during the training, the riders talk to each other about what is going well and give each other advice or even instructions if tactics have not been implemented well. Experienced riders in the team are a clear enrichment for everyone – and so you can say that Filippo is the “lion” who puts his stamp on the training camp.
“It really worked,” was the feedback from the sports management. When training triggers enthusiasm, it’s like racing. Then everyone tries to outrun the others. Then you feel enthusiasm, which is contagious.
Even when you are driving behind the riders in the car, you know from the body language and the faces whether a unit is going well or not, whether there is harmony or the group is falling apart. In addition, the two sporting directors Rupert and Gunther conduct further individual and also group discussions. These are about discipline, conflict management, communication, but also about finding out which riders bring which requirements.
„I have confidence in the boys”
„When a race suddenly develops in the training on the mountain: We were getting faster and faster and no one wanted to back down. Shortly before the end, Paul launched an attack that was unparalleled. He destroyed some of us with it. Unfortunately, after 350 metres at the top, he also destroyed himself…”
Conclusion: “We are all racers somehow and winning is also nice”.
In the evenings, we had a beer in a big group and talked and laughed a lot. Maybe one or the other had one beer too many, but it was great for the moment. Liam introduced his teammates to the Italian way of life and explained how to cast hooks and spread stones in the lake – if you want to understand this, you have to contact the riders directly for explanations. Another highlight on the penultimate day: a short visit by Steffen Görig’s friend Mario Cipollini, who briefly put some of us into a kind of “devotional rigidity”.
Pursuit, sprint, cappuccino ride, photo shoot, evening activities and so on and so forth … Driving 80%” could also become 120%, to put it in the words of the riders (quote: “since we are all racers somehow and winning is also quite nice”). Maybe we should add another week in the future, because one thing is clear: it was a really good time! And now it’s time for our riders to apply the trained procedures in the race – and continue to live this contagious enthusiasm!
„For me it was the best training camp I have ever experienced. A new benchmark, so to speak – thanks to a great group of athletes and a team of coaches who are very motivated and committed to the Pushbikers project.”