The majority of the women’s team (sans Jasmin Glaesser who heads to the track world championships in a few days, and Maura Kinsella who completed the fun-filled task of a flight across the Atlantic Ocean with two broken ribs and now begins her recovery) made it to their home base for camp, Borrego Springs, California. As a cycling team, we spend a lot of time in California, but Borrego Springs could be one of the most unique spots the Orange & Black have ever put down their wheels. The town of 3,429 is surrounded in every direction by Anza-Borrego State Park, the largest of California’s massive state parks, and the largest desert park in the nation at more than 600,000 acres.
When we say desert we mean DESERT. Borrego Springs rests on the westernmost tip of the expansive Sonora Desert, which provides a striking geographic link between California and Mexico. Temparatures peak in the nineties and desert flora is liberally scattered across the dusty landscape. The town is framed in one direction by a long view of the unforgiving Salton Sea, and in another by the towering mountains of Anza-Borrego park.
UNPACKING AND DIALING IN THE TEAM’S BIKES IS THE PRIORITY OF TEAM MECHANICS AFTER AN INTERNATIONAL TRIP. IT IS A BIG AND MOSTLY THANKLESS JOB BUT IT IS CRUCIAL TO THE SUCCESS OF THE TEAM.
BEN FIETZ, THE LEAD MECHANIC FOR THE OPTUM WOMEN IN 2015, ACCOMPLISHED A TALL TASK TO START HIS CAREER AS A PRO MECHANIC. A WEEK LONG STINT IN QATAR FOLLOWED BY A 30 PLUS HOUR TRIP BACK TO THE STATES TENDS TO MAKE A MAN TIRED.
NEW SOIGNUER PHOEBE LEWIS COMES OVER TO THE TEAM FROM PRO TOUR WORK WITH THE GARMIN TEAM. SHE IS HALF BRITISH AND HALF CANADIAN, BUT HER ACCENT IS MOSTLY CANADIAN.
BRIANNA WALLE DIGS INTO HER BIKE BAG AFTER DOZENS OF HOURS OF TRAVEL FROM THE MIDDLE EAST. BRIANA CAUGHT A NASTY CASE OF FOOD POISONING FROM AIRPLANE FOOD AND SHE IS SLOWLY RECOVERING.
LONGTIME TEAM SUPPORTER ALEX RACIER IS A CYCLING AFFICIANADO, AND ONE WITH A VERY UNIQUE PAST – ALEX WAS A SNIPER FOR THE U.S. ARMY WITH TOURS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN. THANK HIM FOR HIS SERVICE, ON BIKES AND FOR OUR FLAG.
LEAH KIRCHMANN WON ALL THREE NATIONAL ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS IN CANADA (ROAD RACE, TIME TRIAL, CRITERIUM) AND CAPTURED A PODIUM AT LA COURSE AT LE TOUR DE FRANCE. WATCH OUT FOR LEAH IN EVERY DISCIPLINE IN 2015.
THE ANZA-BORREGO DESERT WRAPS BORREGO SPRINGS FROM ALL ANGLES. IT IS OUR COUNTRY’S LARGEST DESERT NATIONAL PARK, AT 600,000 ACRES.
THE HEART OF BORREGO SPRINGS IS THE “CHRISTMAS CIRCLE” – A LARGE EUROPEAN STYLE ROUNDABOUT HOUSING THE HOME BASE FOR THE LOCAL PAPER, THE BORREGO SUN.
THE TEAM’S SENIOR DESIGNER ANDY NELSON IS VERY COMFORTABLE PILOTING A MASSIVE RENTAL VEHICLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CAPTURING GREAT PHOTOS OF TEAM ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT THE WEEK (ED. NOTE – ANDY IS NOT A TRUCK GUY).
AS EXPECTED, THE DESERT IS EXTREMELY HOT. IN WINTER MONTHS, TEMPS REACH 80 PLUS DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. IT OFFERS LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES TO DRINK MORE CLIF HYDRATION MIX.
THE TEAM’S FIRST TEST OF THE LEGS CAME ON THE FABLED MONTEZUMA ROAD CLIMB THAT RESTS JUST OUTSIDE OF DOWNTOWN BORREGO. IT IS STEEP AND RELENTLESS.
LEAVE IT TO THE LADIES TO HAVE SOME FUN DURING THE HEADSHOT SHOOT. HERE’S TO 2015!