The Strive Diaries: Entry 0 – Training Camp South France

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“Last season couldn’t have started any better for the Canyon Factory Enduro Team when we won the first round of the Enduro World Series in Punta Ala. But beyond this, we made it clear to everyone throughout the season that we belong right at the very top of the sport. Competing on the pro scene is not a walk in the park, which was something we learnt at every event. All kinds of emotions, from joy to suffering come thick and fast alongside countless unforgettable moments.

To give our fans and anyone interested in Enduro a chance to look behind the scenes and get involved in what we do, we’ve created the “Strive Diaries”. You’ll get instalments from the team after every round of the Enduro World Series as well as other events. Get ready to take on the season with us!” Flo Goral, CFET Team Manager

The Canyon Factory Enduro Team often feels more like a family than a team, so when we all got back together it felt a lot like a Christmas family reunion, even though we were there for some serious pre-season training and testing. Of course we also had a whole load of new team bikes and other cool stuff to dole out as well, so in that sense it was a bit like Christmas…

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“Well on my side it’s really important getting together at the beginning of the season just to create synergy and team spirit for the season being able to support each other. Racing and competition is always tough but good moments and I think the general spirit of the team is a key point. That’s the first parameter. The second one is clearly to be able to share our experience and learn about our preparation, the bike setting to be able to pull the team towards the top and to create real teambuilding through that moment. That’s what a training camp all together is for – to get motivated all together.” Fabien Barel

cfet_team_set_up

We wanted to hold the camp a little later this year so we could put the final touches on our preparation for the first Enduro World Series (EWS) round in Chile. Everyone on the team is a little different, which is a great, and means they all turned up having prepared in all kinds of ways. Last year was a step into the unknown as no one really knew what a whole season of Enduro would be like but this year we’re more prepared as we now know what to expect.

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Joe Barnes spent the winter building trails back home and was a pretty good shape following hours of sprint training on the rollers as well as soaking up the sun on a training camp in Madeira. Ines Thoma found a new love in “functional fitness”, spent plenty of time cross-country skiing, which is practically the law when you come from the Bavarian Alps, and she also took her campervan on a road trip to do some training on the roads down in Tuscany. Nobody understands perfect preparation quite like Master Fabien with all his years of experience and accumulated knowledge; he chose to do most of his winter training riding XC. And last but not least, our Swiss newbie, Ludo May, was down enjoying the trails in Spain, preparing for his new challenge with the team.

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We didn’t need to search long for a location to hold the training camp this year. Although CFET is officially based in Germany at Canyon.Home in Koblenz, Nice feels more like our spiritual home as this is where the team was born at the beginning of last year. It also happens to be Fabien Barel’s hometown, but most importantly it provides everything we need for riding Enduro: perfect trails, year-round sunshine, great food as well as comfortable accommodation.

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“Nice is a great place for the training camp as we got pretty much all facilities around to train properly for mountain biking. Having the mountains, nice landscape towards the end of the Alps to ride and train Enduro is a perfect location, because we have a high amount of trails, which are providing us all type of terrain. We also normally get really good weather and temperatures over the winter and the fact that I live here and know all the facilities as well as gym, massage, hotel fairly easily, which makes everything really simple and familiar for the team. So I would say coming to Nice gives us generally the opportunity to get in shape in a short amount of time.” Fabien Barel

The main aim of the week was to get to know our way around the new team bikes. This is not just important for the guys who have to ride the things flat out, but also for our mechanics who get the chance to work on the bikes out in the open and away from the comforts of the workshop, just like they’ll be at races throughout the season.

ludovic_may_massive_drift

In the middle of the camp we had a two day test session with our sponsors, FOX, in nearby Finale Ligure. The focus of this was to really dial the suspension setups the guys want to ride with. This is essential as they need to feel comfortable and be able to place every last ounce of trust in their machines to ride as fast as possible.

Luckily, we only got washed out by the rain on one of the ten days we were riding, but we were able to spend the time wisely by doing some work in the gym and fine-tuning the bikes. Congratulations at this point go to Joe who earned bragging rights after a spontaneous pull-up competition, and to Ludo, who triumphed in the plank-off. Competition runs in the blood for these guys!

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Anyone spending a whole season riding the same bike looks forward to a change every now and then, which is why we had an epic XC ride pencilled in for the camp. It was clear at this point that the definition of “XC” varies substantially depending on where you come from. For Fabien, XC means taking on the stages of last year’s Blausasc Enduro. Only riding cross country bikes. And doing the whole thing in reverse… Needless to say the climbs could be classed as “challenging”, but that didn’t make the whole thing any less fun.

“It’s really great to start the year with the team with an intense XC ride and having a big laugh and a great time on the bike – but these guys are insane. They pedal hard every time!” Fabien Barel

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Even on a training camp, time management plays a decisive role, just like on a race weekend. With hardly any contingencies, we had to try and get the best out of the time we had to train while keeping the stress down and allowing sufficient time for recovery. With a group like this, however, things quickly descended into a bit of a riot. We had some good times shooting the breeze and learning more about one other, and taking the mick out of each other only serves to strengthen the team’s bonds!

“Generally we had a really good laugh and our new team mate Ludo is a great fun person and really good to have fun with. We also have the opportunity to have a new mechanic called Dougie that is on the side of Joe and I would say we had a lot of good moments and I believe that the team building during this week achieved a great atmosphere and relationship which will be profitable in terms of performance all year long.” Fabien Barel

fab_barel_jumping_in

The challenges of racing Enduro are enormous, which is something we definitely learnt throughout 2013. Enduro truly does blend together the very best parts from all disciplines of mountain biking. This year, we feel we’ve done as much as we can to be ready.

”My expectation for the 2014 season is clearly to be able to compete at the top in Enduro. I do believe that with the team synergy, the teammates, the mechanics, the quality of the bike and where we are standing at the moment in terms of R&D we have all parameters to be competitive, so I think it´s definitely gonna be a great season and our goal is clearly to be on top of the game . It’s for sure that it will be a fantastic season!” Fabien Barel

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It won’t be long before we’re back on the road after the training camp. In less than two weeks we jet off to Chile for round one of the EWS. A season packed with action and great experiences is right on our doorstep – it’s all about to kick off big time!

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