FEATURE: Benefits of a mid-season training camp - Amanda SprattFri 18 May 2018
For Mitchelton-SCOTT women's team, a mid-season May training camp has always been a tradition and an important part of the season for the riders.
This year the women ventured further south in Spain to Oliva, Valencia and enjoyed a week of hard training during a short period in the calendar of minimal racing. The camp signals the end of their early season classics campaignemmand the start of preparation for the second phase of the season - stage racing.
For the two time Tour Down Under winner Amanda Spratt, having a training camp in the middle of the season has been crucial to the team's success and an important time for the entire team to come together, re-focus and rebuild towards their next goals and challenges.
"We have almost always had a training camp in May since the start of the team and it is a clear separation between the classics and the start of the tours. Everyone has usually had a small break and now the focus really shifts to the coming stage races like Emakumeen Bira, OVO Energy women's tour and the Giro Rosa," Spratt explained.
"It is also the first time that we have the entire team together in Europe and that is also really important. We have Alex Manly back from the track and the girls who raced the Commonwealth Games back with us.
"A lot of off the bike stuff we do is very important on this camp. We do a lot of reviewing of the spring, what we did good, what we did bad, where can we get better, get stronger and try and get more confidence."
With pleasant weather conditions, great training roads and plenty of climbs in the area, the team enjoyed a full week which included a variety of training sessions from double-day sessions on their SCOTT plasma time trial bikes, four hour plus road rides often split into two groups, fitness testing on climbs and even practicing descending skills on their easier training day.
"We've done some stuff on the road that replicates some of the races technically and aspects of the races that we can improve on," Spratt continued. "We have had a big climbing focus on the camp this year and there's been plenty of climbs for us to train on around Valencia, which has been especially important with our big goal of the Giro Rosa in July."
"Sometimes we split into groups and did some race simulation drills and lead-out practice with the idea that, for the coming races, we will have more of a climbing group and sprint group.
"We also had quite a bit of time on our time trial bikes, spending time just riding the bikes with the goal for the team time trial world championships. We have a TTT on the first stage of the Giro Rosa and then looking ahead to Vargarda WorldTour event in Sweden and then the World championships, so this camp also signals the start of that focus and preparation."
As well as a clear priority being physical training, the team has been able to work on other non-riding elements to continuously help them improve in all areas.
"The camp in general is just a great time to get back together, organise kit, nutrition requirements and just make sure everything is good and ready to go for the rest of the season," said Spratt. "We have also enjoyed doing some team yoga sessions led by Jess Allen which has been fun and beneficial and we stayed just 50metres from the beach, so we have been able to enjoy some beach recovery and in the afternoons we've had time to watch the men perform in the Giro which has been pretty motivating."
"We are lucky to have Paolo Menaspa, our sports scientist here at the camp once again, he is such a great asset to the team and has been super helpful with input into training and preparation for races. He is someone we can always ask performance questions to, he has so much knowledge.
"Every year we have this camp and every year we come out of this camp motivated, excited and racing well, so for us it really works and now we are ready for the next big races."