For 2016, the Team Mike's Bikes development squad has constructed one of the largest, most promising teams to date with the majority of the top-performing athletes from 2015 staying on and many talented new riders joining. The new year brings an improved team structure with the addition of an Elite Development team that will be racing alongside the TMB Elite team in P/1/2. This will offer a smoother transition and a clearer development path to riders advancing quickly through the ranks while also providing a greater level of mentorship to new riders.

One major objective for this season was team organization and communication. We've increased pre-season activity substantially with 10+ pre-season rides all over the Bay Area. The team rides were capped off with our first ever full-weekend team camp in Guerneville, CA. This blog post will cover a bit of our camp along with a key takeaways.

It was determined early on that no house could fit the entire TMB Development team so we were forced to look into our options. We decided that we could fit the team into two large houses. With the given situation, the first thought was why not make it into a friendly competition on day one - house #1 v house #2? Day one would be a ~60 mile course with KOM, sprint, and finishing segments which would encourage more communication and strategy. One catch - we wouldn't be telling them the course or the plans until 12 hours before the ride :)

Coming into camp we were faced with the difficult task of finding house 1. This proved difficult due to some signage issues and steep, windy, narrow mountain roads. House 2 was closer to town and much easier to find. Both houses were awesome and spacious with great views. The team was greeted by new kits, shirts, hoodies and a good spread of food for dinner provided by Kristen Hill - team mom. As more people arrived, the strategy talks started heating up and the house teams began building a plan for the Saturday competition. 2015 TMB Development graduate Aria Kiani went out of his way on a Thursday night to drive the roads of Northern California stenciling tiny mile markers - truly a team player considering he will be racing for the Elite team this season. Segments were as follows:

  • KOM #1: (mile markers 16.9-22.6) with 5k, 2k, 1k, and KOM markers                                     
  • Sprint #1: (mile markers 29.8-32.2) with 5k, 2k, 1k, and sprint finish markers
  • KOM #2: (mile markers 40.2-41.6) with 2k, 1k, 500m, and KOM markers
  • Sprint #2: (mile markers 51.5-56.5) with 5k, 2k, 1k, 500m and sprint finish markers
  • Finish: (mile markers 60-70) with 5k, 2k, 1k, 500m and finish markers

Team points breakdown as follows:

  • 1st overall: 8pts
  • 2nd overall: 6pts
  • 3rd overall: 5pts
  • KOM segments: 2.5pts each (x 2 segments)
  • Sprint segments: 2.5pts each (x 2 segments)

Team #1:

Captains: Sam Hill, Justin Balderston

Team: Sam Bolster, Chris Craig, Danny Yadron, Juan Navarro, Jaden Ytsma, Adam Messner, Jesse Gibbs -- MIA was Taylor S, Michael K, Jon A, Peadar O.

Team #2:

Captains: Travis Keeney, Aria Kiani - his points don't count :)

Team: Robert Terra, Marco Lei, Jungho Kim, Alex Jonas, Trevor Niblock, Theo Goguely-- MIA was Peter S, Jon Frost, Barrett A, Brandon B, Jimmy P, Roni, Alphonse.

Photo Credit: Rachel Ha'o (note this is a slide show so click the image for more photos)

Saturday Morning was a beautiful mix of sun and rain as we gathered for team pictures, then finalized our game plans for the team competition. The weather called for scattered showers, and it definitely was that and some more at times.

KOM 1 was the first big obstacle and Travis Keeney stretched out his climbing legs and crushed the field on the long climb for 2.5 points.

Sprint 1 was a little dicy on the actual start. We held off the start till near the top of a climb and House 1 attacked hard and got a little break to stick to the end. Adam Messner showed his power and won the downhill sprint for House 1 to get 2.5 points.  

Okay, it wasn't all serious. We had to stop at the obligatory coffee shop:

Photo Credit: Rachel Ha'o

KOM 2 was a shorter steeper climb and with all that fresh caffeine running through their veins, that saw some attacks from both teams. Robert Terra ended up slugging it out with multiple house 1 opponents and was eventually overcome by the numbers game and Danny Yadron (seen drinking coffee above) launched to victory and 2.5 points.

Sprint 2 played out over more Kilometers and made for some exciting racing. After many attacks by both sides, Trevor Niblock out sprinted the bunch for 2.5 points for house 2.

All tied up going into the finale, Robert Terra took a flier and put a big gap on the field. He was able to hold that for a long time as house 1 burned up matches to catch. With the field back together, it came down to the sprinters. Theo was able to best the field and take the win and 8 points for house 2. Juan Navarro and Sam Hill rounded out the podium for 6 and 5 points to house 1. That put House 1 at 16 points and house 2 at 13 points. It really couldn't have been a closer competition and we all learned just how strong this team is. The team captains could not have been happier with how we saw the team tactics and communication play out and improve.

Photo Credit: Rachel Ha'o

Post game we had some lunch and cleaned ourselves up from the rainy day. Then we all met for dinner and to discuss what we did right and wrong. We stressed the importance of being able to change your plan on the fly and seizing opportunities when they came across. Knowing the course better and knowing the competition better was a common goal for everyone. As a team we are all learning each others strengths and weaknesses and communication was improving. The progress we made was huge and we can all go into the early races with a good sense of one another - watch early season results - we will be there. Our takeaways from the day were plan and communicate before the race, be flexible about the plan, be determined to win, post game with the team and figure out where things went right and wrong.
 
Aria Kiani did a open Q&A session about his experience last year going from a category 4 racer all the way to Elite 1, how it was done, and how the new teammates can replicate the success he had last season. Then we went over the schedule for the season - 12 target races with more for the Elite Development guys. Most racers have 20+ races on the schedule.

We then quickly covered team leadership. TMB dev is a pretty flat organization but we have captains in place to create order and with around 40 riders, it is necessary. Justin Balderston heads up the team coordination, and Travis Keeney is the CAT 2 Captain, while Taylor Schwartz and Peter Smith are team captains for the 3/4's. Captains will be helping with strategy and race coordination as well as other tasks that come up through the year.

Photo Credit: Rachel Ha'o

Day 2 was skills clinic lead by volunteer Ken Hill. As a long time racer of road bikes and a professional Motorcycle racer and instructor he took us through the nuts and bolts of braking and corning. His approach was simple and effective to build confidence through nailing the basics. Knowing your brakes, proper modulation, and keeping your eyes in the right places being key to the whole clinic. It was super helpful for even the experienced guys who might take for granted what they do to navigate a mountainous descent.

After that, a smaller group took off for a shorter loop in the area on a much brighter day and the rest of us that had not already gone left the area for home.

We cannot thank Kristen Hill, Ken Hill and Rachel Ha’o enough for helping out with camp. They all came and made camp a success and they didn't even get to ride! Thank you to all of the team members who contributed both big and small - you made our first camp a huge success. Big Shout out to Justin, Travis, Taylor, and Peter who put a ton of work into organizing the camp, the later 2 then had to miss for work and illness :(. Give them all big time high fives if/when you see them next! Shout out to Jon Frost who was recovering from a knee injury and a stomach virus and still came out and bonded with the team and help with keeping things rolling - that commitment will show in your results this season. And last, but certainly not least, we could have not have done this without dedicated sponsors that have been instrumental in developing some of the best cycling talent in Northern California for years - Mike's Bikes, Equator Coffees, Toyota, Sram, Specialized, Violich Farms, Osmo, Probar, Smith Optics, Capo cycling apparel, and Bikesmart

2016 is going to be a massive season for TMB. With what we've seen already, it's safe to say there will be many more blog posts to come!