WThis February, Drops found themselves once again, venturing south to sunny Mallorca where the mixture of flat roads and hills makes it the idyllic place to ride our glorious Trek bikes. It’s an island known well to the riders and staff and this year they were joined by a number of Drops’ Team Partners for 2017.
Brother, Brubeck, Continental, MET, Sportful and NAQI joined the team for the week long trip and the riders were treated to demonstrations, training and inspirational talks from the partner leaders.
“This trip was more to gather all riders, staff and sponsors together to integrate and form a closely bonded group,” Team Director, Tom Varney explained.
“We think it’s vital for the riders that they learn about the new equipment and products that they will be using. This was really important for us. The sponsors have made the team’s step up and salary happen so it’s nice for them to interact with each other and for the riders to completely understand what the sponsors are all about and also for the team to give feedback to the technical partners.”
Drops’ went in to the training camp already well prepared. Last month’s trip to Australia combined with intense winter training for most of the team meant the focus of Mallorca this time round was team building.
“The training definitely wasn’t the main reason for the camp this year,” Tom continued.
“Most riders had a decent base level of fitness before the week so it was more of a ‘team camp’ than ‘training camp’. That’s not to say we didn’t ride - we had a day of testing the riders, some longer endurances rides and also a ride with sponsors.”
Other than the official launch, ‘team camp’ was the only opportunity for every rider and member of staff to be in the same place at the same time. For this reason, getting to know each other was paramount.
“It’s key for the staff to get to know the riders and vice versa, once the race season is underway, not everyone will see each other that often. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to get on at the beginning of the year,” Tom added.
“The new riders integrated into the group well and the atmosphere was great. A lot of last year’s riders and staff are easy going and very welcoming, they made it super comfortable for the new guys.”
“Throughout the year, the staff are imperative to the smooth running of a race – our riders need to arrive on a race day and instantly trust and get on with our staff – that's what’s this week was all about.”
This year another level of training was added to the agenda, one aimed at periods off the bike, rather than on - media. As the team grows, training on how to use social networks, conduct interviews and treat photo opportunities becomes more necessary. Drops’ focused on many of these issues and ensured the riders were properly and thoroughly briefed on what they can expect this season.
“Imagery and social are a big thing for the team, we really try and get the team’s brilliant personality across,” said Tom.
“We had a few days on camp where we discussed social media and where the riders may have responsibilities throughout the year but it’s always tricky to get the balance between fake and genuine opinion. It’s important that the girls are honest but also conduct themselves in the way professional sports-people and role models should.” “We also had the pleasure of Russ Ellis our photographer for three days during the camp. The riders were great while he was there, as was he. Russ has provided us with some incredible photos over the course of the last twelve months and really nailed our shot list this time round too.”
The week was no doubt a learning curve for all 15 women that make up the Drops squad. To accompany all the training, the riders were encouraged to focus on their well-being. With yoga and professional massages, the team left Spain feeling prepared, well-rested and in the best position possible both mentally and physically.
Feedback from everyone involved has been positive, having the opportunity for all staff, sponsors and riders to be in the same place at the same time makes such a positive impact. The team are looking forward to sharing more rides with staff and sponsors in the future.