Last season could hardly have started any better for us. It all started with winning the first Enduro World Series run in Punta, a great start. And an early confirmation, because the direction to climb to the top of the sport was clear from the start. However, professional racing is not a wish concert. This became clear to us over the course of the season and joy and sorrow, emotions and unforgettable moments alternated constantly.
The new season is now upon us. Time for new experiences and successes, which we would like you and everyone interested in Enduro to share in. There will be a diary entry from different perspectives for each round of the Enduro World Series and special events relating to the team. So stay tuned for what awaits us and you in the coming season!
The Canyon Factory Enduro Team is actually more of a family than a team. So it's hardly surprising that the first joint training camp feels like a family reunion at Christmas. Wait, Christmas in spring? Sure, because for the new season there was a gift with team bikes and lots of cool stuff on the program.
"At the beginning of the season, I think it's incredibly important to come together to create synergy and strengthen the team spirit that carries us through the year. The races are always tough, so it's all the more important to strengthen the mood through great moments together. This forms the basis. We build on that by sharing our experiences, telling each other about personal preparation and finding the right bike set-up. The sense of togetherness this creates will help us lead our team to the top. That's what a training camp is for, to motivate each other." At least that's how our team captain Fabien Barel sees it.
"At the beginning of the season, I think it's incredibly important to come together to create synergy and strengthen the team spirit that carries us through the whole year."
We deliberately chose the date of the camp a little later this year in order to get the finishing touches for the upcoming first race of the Enduro World Series (EWS) in Chile. The personal preparation is as different as the characters of our team riders. Last year nobody really knew what to expect in an enduro season. Therefore, the training this winter could be approached in a more targeted manner. Joe Barnes has been keeping fit with trail building at home over the last few months, covered a lot of sprint kilometers on his roller trainer and then rewarded himself with a training camp in sunny Madeira. Ines Thoma discovered with Functional Fitness a new preference, exhausted herself with cross-country skiing, which is obligatory for Allgäu residents, and drove to a racing bike training camp in Tuscany in her mobile home. And when it comes to perfect preparation, few prepare as diligently as Fabien, who turned his focus to XC biking this winter. Last but not least, our Swiss newcomer Ludo May prepared for his new challenge in the team with many enduro tours in various Spanish trail paradises.
So where is the best place to gather this traveling group? We didn't have to look long for a good location to hold this year's training camp. The base of the Canyon Factory Enduro Team is of course the Canyon.Home in Koblenz, but we have always had close emotional ties with a town in southern France. So let's go to Nice, where we successfully launched our team in 2013. Apart from the fact that Nice is of course the hometown of our figurehead Fabien Barel, the Côte d'Azur offers everything an enduro heart desires.
“Nice is a great place for our training camp”, knows Fabien, “because it offers almost everything for really good enduro training. The proximity to mountains, the wonderful landscape at the foot of the Alps make it the perfect location. We have an extremely large number of trails here that are very different. We usually have good weather and pleasant temperatures here in winter. I don't live here without a reason. Of course, I also know about all the options and facilities, such as the right gym, hotels, massage offers - this makes organization easier and creates a family atmosphere for the entire team. In Nice we can all train extremely effectively in a short space of time.”
One focus of the week was of course getting to know the new team bikes. The first turn of the pedals with the new service device is not only an important event for drivers - the mechanics can also put their hands on the bikes here outside of their own workshop in paddock style. Because dealing with the mobile workshop requires training.
An important date was a two-day test camp with our sponsor Fox in nearby Finale Ligure. Together with our colleagues, we gave our suspension set-ups the finishing touches and every driver was able to acquire a good portion of safety and trust in the respective chassis.
Although we were spoiled by the sunshine, we also caught a rainy day. But that was easily bridged: extensive bike care was on the program and a proper session in the fitness room, where the first spontaneous competitions were held. Congratulations to Joe and Ludo, the pull-up and body tension masters. The urge to compete with others is in everyone's blood!
Anyone who rides their enduro bikes all season is also happy about a change and so a full-fledged XC tour was on the training plan in between. The definition of XC tour however, seems to vary greatly between nations. For Fabien, for example, XC means riding the stages of last year's Blausasc Enduro on an XC bike, sometimes in the opposite direction. It should be noted that such an exit into the category challenging can be classified, but that didn't hurt the fun in any way.
“It's very cool to start the year together with an intense XC ride, lots of laughs and a good time on the bike - but the boys and girls are really crazy. They always attack!”
Time management always plays a crucial role in a training camp and is similar to a race weekend. We have to try to get the best out of the limited training days with a minimal investment of time without acting stressed, let alone neglecting regeneration. But with such a group, there is definitely no shortage of fun. So there were good conversations, we learned a lot from each other and laughed a lot together and jokingly at each other. Everyone agreed that the newcomers Ludo and mechanic Dougie fit really well into the team.
The demands in enduro racing are enormous. We learned that from 2013. Enduro is a blend of the best of all disciplines. We felt well prepared at the end of the training camp, which Fabien only confirms: “My expectations for the 2014 season are set: be ready to fight at the top of the enduro sport. With the team spirit, the teammates, the mechanics, the quality of our bikes and the influence of our development department, we have the best prerequisites to be competitive. I think it will definitely be an exciting season and our goal can only be to be on top of the game. I'm sure it will be a fantastic season!”
Fully motivated and excited for the second round of the EWS, we said goodbye to Nice and to each other this week. However, the time until the next meeting is short. In less than two weeks we will meet again in distant Chile for the season opener. The next great adventure is imminent - here we go again!