Our mostly formed men’s team (four athletes jumped a flight to Vegas for Optum’s international Growth Conference, where they helped host a charity bike build) descended on Oxnard, CA yesterday to begin a block of training and team building in the heart of California’s southern coastline. Oxnard is a unique town – in has incredible beaches with massive breaks, one of the United States’ largest naval bases at Port Hueneme, and thousands of acres of some of our country’s richest farmland. Eaten strawberries lately? There is a pretty good chance they came from Oxnard.
The first day of training camp for a domestic team is always full of nervous energy and lots of shuffling, reshuffling, and probably more reshuffling. The team has made Oxnard it’s home for training camp for eight years. The excitement and sense of the unknown of a reformed team coming together for the first time meshes with an overwhelming sense of familiarity. The mechanical process of training and reaquainting mixes with Oxnard’s welcoming, low-key Silver Strand Beach community the team has chosen for its training home base.
Team vets settle in and enjoy the calm before the storm (the “real” training starts once all the sponsors and associated media teams depart) while the new recruits work with the mechanics to dial in the seat heights and bar angles on their new Diamondback Podium Equipes millimeter by millimeter.
When you think of California, what comes to mind? Probably its beautiful coastline, redwood forests, vaguely Spanish architecture, and, of course, Hollywood. Oxnard paints a picture of something different; a study of contrasts. As a coastal town, beautiful beaches and epic waves come naturally. But the thumping heart of Oxnard, and much of Central and Southern California, is its agriculture and industry. According to the USDA, Oxnard is California’s largest strawberry producer, supplying about one-third of the state’s annual strawberry volume. Add to that two active oil fields and significant international trade, and you have yourself a true American gem.
The team’s first training ride together was a relatively simple one, a short 3-hour loop to Ohai, around Lake Casitas, and back. Its a casual way for the athletes and sponsors who join for the ride to get to know each other and warm up to the challenges ahead, which will include highly intensified, 5-6 hour training rides in the mountains later in the week.