Exergy’s inaugural Training Camp is based just outside Ventura in Southern California. The team is staying (hosted) in a house located in a gated community on a exceptionally tall hill in the hills above the orchards below. The driveway is half mile long and steep, as in an average of 15.7% with the worst section 28%. Every day the team rides down the hill to train, and at the end of it, back up the hill to get home. Every day.
The road is lined with various signs warning and alerting drivers to the many and various issues associated with it’s ridiculous and near otherworldly grade; flooding, general steepness, difficulty braking, difficulty stopping, loss of control etc. That it’s the painful and much apprehensive finish to every ride, every day, is general knowledge and a common topic of conversation. Various techniques to avoid it, handle it or mitigate it’s cruelty are employed. Drafting, which is pointless as we all know at four miles an hour, but worth a try. Holding onto the window or something like the end of a roof rack, anything. And of course tick-tacking.“But nothing works because the hill is mean and stupid and longer and straighter than what generally makes sense.”MFS
On the morning of the sixth day, the second to last day, Tad, Exergy’s Director Sportiff, calls for a Time Trial up the driveway. He explains that racing is not all about legs and riding. He say’s often it’s about work. And this, he says, is work.
Quinn, who is generally subdued or at the very least reserved, is, it would appear (he’s making loud Heavy Metal guitar noises with his mouth and walking around in short bursts of speed and purpose) getting pumped and amped and jazzed. Sam Johnson is hustling Slack to get ready. There is an energy this morning. Not race energy exactly but definitely something beyond training, the driveway and greater garage area has an anxious or even focused quality to it.
The team gathers at the bottom of the hill just inside of the gate. Tad writes numbers onto 11 slips of paper and drops them into a hat. One by one the riders reach into the hat and grab their place in the race. In the bushes next to the curb there is a clock. The race starts and the team goes off in 30 second intervals: For .49 miles and 400 feet. Carlos at 3:14 has the fastest time, and Kai averaging 527 watts, the best power average (the range was 425 to 650).