January 17, 2005 – The 2005 edition of the Symmetrics Cycling Team all congregated in Langley, BC for the first full team training camp of the year from January 13-16. Our mechanic, Bill McPherson flew in from the O.C. Eric Wohlberg and Jake Erker flew in from Sunnyvale, CA and La Jolla, CA respectively. Our Vancouver Island contingent of Christina Briante and Andrew “Pinner” Pinfold took their ferry across the pond. All the locals were present. New recruits Jeff Sherstobitoff and Christian Meier had settled into their new lower mainland homes for the race season.
Bill was tasked with finalizing the builds on our beautiful new Norco CRR Team Carbon bicycles. There were 18 of them to assemble. This is one sweet ride, but with this crazy cold weather we have been having we were not sure we would even get to ride them.
The opening day of the camp (Jan 13) started with brief introductions and a trip to the weight room, followed by a few hours in the Burnaby Velodrome during the afternoon. It was sight to see the entire team up on the steep boards on the track. Most of our riders had ridden the track with the exception of Maria Lee and Christina Briante, but by the end of the session both were ripping around up high on the bankings. Our first day was finished off with a pot-luck dinner our owner, Kevin Cunningham and his gracious wife’s house.
Friday started off a little on the chilly side at negative 10 degrees, but it was very sunny and the entire team hopped into vehicles and drove out to the Chilliwack Lake road area and up Foley logging road to start an epic 4 hour snow shoe adventure. Svein Tuft was the guide of course and I think for most this was the highlight of the trip as the peak the team went up tops out at over 5000 feet with spectacular views. Everybody made it back to base on time for a presentation by Norco’s head of marketing Pete Stace-Smith and Norco’s bike production manager Dave Overgaard. Then it was off to a team dinner at a local restaurant. After dinner riders headed back to their various homes to get a good nights sleep on their new beds provided by team sponsor, Northern Feather.
Well, Saturday dawned even colder at negative 14 and all the riders showed up at the Walnut Grove Community Centre for the ride with the public. We had invited media and sponsors as well. Adidas showed up with their 46 foot promo motor home, Norco was present with their full race rig set-up, and Powerbar was sampling a full line up of their products. Jim Harman, Norco president was also on hand to make the draw for the Sigma Sport heart rate monitor. Mark Cunningham, CEO of Symmetrics was on hand to ride and Kevin Cunningham, COO of Westlam was driving the media lead vehicle. The media was in attendance as well with Shaw TV covering the event, along with the two local newspapers, the Langley Times and Langley Advance. Velonews sent freelance correspondent Jonathan Fowlie, and Greg Descantes actually rode out from Vancouver to photograph the event for Canadian Cyclist. Despite the temperature a hardy crew of riders showed up and the entire group numbered a little over forty riders. Bloody good for the conditions. After a solid, and I mean frozen solid, 90 minutes of riding we returned to the community centre for coffee, hot chocolate, and muffins. Powerbar’s western representative Frank Lucarelli was on hand sampling product, and there was a great schwag give away by Norco. Riders answered questions, signed the odd autograph, and gave interviews. A good time was had by all, even if it was a little chilly. Saturday was finished off with more team meetings to discuss budget, race schedule, and meet one of our support staff. After a dinner out the riders all retired to Jeremy Storie’s house for a couple of video’s and popcorn organized by Symmetrics Cycling’s new social director and rider Christina Briante. As everyone made their way home more snow and ice began to come down.
The final day of the camp had an optional training session in the morning due to the weather and finished up with media training and team meetings in the afternoon. As riders packed up and said their good byes for a while, there was a common sentiment echoed by all the riders in the wrap up of the camp. Everyone at the camp felt like the team had become family over the course of the four days. This camp was not really about training so much as team building. Jake Erker summed it up best when he said “I have never been on a team that would just all go en masse to someone’s house and sit and hang out and watch videos.”