Women’s training camp came with several firsts for the Orange & Black. It was the first time the team has held camp further south than the L.A. basin, exploring new territory in the tip of the unforgiving Sonora Desert. It was the first time training camp came after the first race of the season (for any team, ever?), a crosswind pummeled four-day affair in the Qatari desert bookended by two 30-plus hour periods of travel. It was the first training camp for Performance Director Patrick McCarty, who begins his career as a team boss after a long and impressive career in the pro peloton, and his new staff of soigneurs and mechanics. It was the first time an Optum p/b KBS camp has been held in a truly remote location, and the first time the team has visited the beautiful and desolate Anza-Borrego State Park, California’s largest and most untamed state park.
The following photographs were captured over the first six days of camp, with the girls shaking off considerable jet lag and braving the heat to carve new routes together through the desert flats and the rocky climbs surrounding the quiet town of 3,000 called Borrego Springs. Photos and words by Sam Wiebe.
Lead mechanic Ben Fietz peers through thousands of HED spokes. An enormous amount of gear is packed into a pro cycling team’s trailer.
Acura’s powerful and sleek RDX is the team’s caravan vehicle for the second year running.
The team’s weapon of choice – the Diamondback Podium Equipe Optum edition, fitted with SRAM Red and Quarq power meters, a full compliment of HED wheels, Kenda tires, ISM saddles, and Arundel bottle cages.
Park Tool blesses our mechanics with jam-packed kits of their world renowned bicycle tools.
Compex muscle stimulation helps the women warm up, cool down, and keep their legs fresh on flights like the brutal trip back from Qatar.
A crossroads where both directions are hot, flat, and dusty.
Borrego Spring’s surrounding highways have a very cinematic quality. The indie flick “Salton Sea” starring Val Kilmer was shot in the area, and the landscapes reminded this photographer of the beloved New Mexico based crime epic Breaking Bad, complete with lone RVs scattered around the desert.
Providing a stark contrast to the natural geography are dozens of skillfully crafted metal sculptures with mythological and prehistoric underpinnings.
An even starker contrast – eight professional cyclists rolling through the desert together. I think it’s safe to say this might be Borrego Springs’ first ever pro training camp.
Montezuma Road provides the area’s steepest climbs and panoramic views of the desert valley.
Alison Tetrick | USA
Briana Walle | USA
Lex Albrecht | Canada
Annie Ewart | Canada
Janel Holcomb | USA
Ariane Horbach | Germany
Leah Kirchmann | Canada
Amy Charity | USA