Report by Shawn Lortie
BOULDER, Colo.-The Trek/Livestrong U23 team hosted a media ride last Wednesday to introduce it’s Boulder based squad, and give some insight into what makes the team tick. While some of the team members are living elsewhere for the season, at least six riders are calling Boulder Colorado home for the 2011 season. The Trek/Livestrong team was created by Lance Armstrong as a project to help develop the next generation of great young cyclists. It is a hand picked squad chosen from over 1000 top U23 cycling resumes from around the world. Needless to say, this is a serious group of young riders who are being groomed to become top riders in the Pro Tour.
Mountain Flyer was honored to be invited to the event, consisting of a meet and greet at the team condo in South Boulder, then a ride on the famous Morgul Bismark loop, followed by sandwiches and a question answer period back at the condo. Team RadioShack's Director of Sports Science, Dr. Allen Lim, who also works with the Trek/Livestrong team, had to catch a plane, but before he left, he talked a bit about what the team does to prepare for races, and how much they eat and drink during races.
“Eat till you puke” is one way that these riders learn what their threshold is for eating during races. Often times during races, the riders are burning more calories than they can replace while they are on the bike. For this reason they need to be eating as much as they can throughout a 4 to 6 hour race to keep well fueled. Lim says that it is easier than it used to be to find good, well made food to eat during races. Products like the Honey Stinger Waffle also help to provide more solid substance, along with gels, bars, and drink mixes.
Boulder resident Reed McCalvin is the teams Physical Therapist and massage therapist, and has played a large part in helping get the team what they need in Boulder. Most of the team living in Boulder is from New Zealand and Australia, so it is their first time living in America. Getting transportation, purchasing cell phones, learning the layout of the town and hooking the team up with local riders all falls under the duty of McCalvin. The riders see McCalvin as part masseuse and part house mom, someone who keeps their legs ready to rumble and their manners in line.
Out on the road during the races it is team director Axel Merckx who is the driving force behind these up and coming racers. The U23 riders on the team look up to Axel and realize how much they can benefit from Merckx’s real world experience out on the road. The fact that Axel is closer to the riders own ages than many of the team directors out there today, also gives the team a kind of relationship with it’s director that would be much harder to realize with an older leader.
The team has it’s sights set high for the 2011 season, and with Lance’s backing, Merckx’s guidance, and McCalvin’s magic hands and supervision, this team of U23 riders is sure to be in the news for years to come.
For a full team roster visit the Trek/Livestrong U23 Team site.