Journals

Ollie Hucks journal: the Saint Piran team camp

Journals 2022: Ollie Hucks #01

23-year-old Ollie Hucks is one of our eight journal contributors in 2022. He has stepped up to the UCI Continental ranks this season with Saint Piran and in his first entry, he takes us inside his first team training camp…

The 1st to 15th of February saw Saint Piran’s 2022 roster descend upon Calpe for a fortnight of bikes, banter, and a few bonks. I’ve never been on an organised team camp before and so was very much looking forward to it, yet also slightly apprehensive having seen that we would be doing two 25-hour weeks on the bike, equalling my largest week, and then repeating it for the second week…

Whilst the time spent on the bike was a focal point of the trip, equally important was for all riders to get to know each other beyond the saddle. I’m not sure if I speak for myself here, but when on the bike I seem to be able to talk endlessly about random topics but if I am asked afterwards what was discussed I would probably only be able to recite a few sentences. Nevertheless, after 50 hours spent hacking about the Spanish hills, I’d managed to get to know all my teammates pretty well.

It’s important to get to know others as not just ‘teammates’ but to understand the bigger picture of their aims and aspirations

Even though I dedicate a lot of my time to cycling and even sit here writing about cycling, I try to refrain from talking about it constantly with others. Creating team cohesion is a requirement for any sports team; all team members committing to one goal with no egos. I believe that getting to know the whole team beyond the bike gives a better understanding of how each member would act and react in different race scenarios, creating a better team understanding and cohesion. It’s important to get to know others as not just ‘teammates’ but to understand the bigger picture of their aims and aspirations. 

Ollie Hucks. Photo: HRFH Photos

The training during the camp involved a lot of steady riding coupled with drills and specific efforts throughout. These drills would involve lead-outs, TTT, chaingang, hill climbs and for the less experienced riders like me, puncture practice and everything involved with getting back to the bunch whilst getting serviced from the team car. 

The Saint Piran team has a sprint-based core so there was a big emphasis on lead-outs and the art of dropping off the sprinter in the best manner possible

The focus of these exercises was not to show how strong you are but to utilise all riders and get to know how each other rides. The Saint Piran team has a sprint-based core so there was a big emphasis on lead-outs and the art of dropping off the sprinter in the best manner possible. Not kicking into your turn, starting in one gear too big and peeling off before your speed drops were a few things we all became acutely aware of during our practice sessions.

We also all had an individual rider meeting where we discussed our calendar of races for the first part of the year. A lot of our time was spent doing trips to cafés or to the local supermarkets to ensure that we were constantly fuelling. The key imperative post-camp was to rest and recover to allow the body to absorb the two weeks of training. I spent another week in Calpe after the end of the camp and I could feel the impact of the intense training. Three weeks riding every day certainly takes its toll, so I spent the next week feeling sorry for myself and quite honestly having returned to the aftermath of a storm and ten degrees cooler temperatures, it’s understandable that I wasn’t itching to get out on the bike. 

Anyway, I hope that this article has managed to give a flavour of what life on training camp was like even if it did jump around a bit. I guess the overarching goal was to get fitter whilst increasing team cohesion, both of which were achieved and so have managed to set a solid foundation for the year to come.

Featured photo: HRFH Photos

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