Following a team training camp

What happened when Breakaway joined N+1 – Lindfield Coffee Works Race Team on their March training camp.

To train like a pro, you need to Portugal like a pro. Or so the saying goes.

A long hard winter with bitterly cold temperatures in early 2019 had taken their toll on the N+1 Lindfield Coffee Works development team. Most had retreated to the ‘comfort’ of the turbo. Happy to be seduced by its wicked sweat inducing capabilities. Even hardy team manager Dan Pullen was pushed to such extreme lengths as driving the 30 km’s to work! It was time for a change. There was one person who could ensure their suffering ended. Ross from Proper Cycling Holidays.

It didn’t take much persuasion before flights were booked and bikes packed. Before too long six members of the team were heading off for a hard week of training in the Algarve, hosted by the wonderful Proper Cycling Holidays.

As a proud sponsor of the team and avid cyclists ourselves, we were as eager as anyone to take to the skies for a week in the sun.

Landing in Faro just as the sun set on the Algarve, we jumped in the shuttle bus and made a beeline for Proper Cycling’s Portuguese HQ. Hungry from the journey we all tucked into a tasty bowl of homemade chicken soup, carefully curated by Straci the cook!

The pro treatment had begun off the bike, but the next day was to be the start of the real reason the team was there. The riding.

Following an early breakfast, the riders jumped at the chance to show off their mechanic skills. Seatposts slid into frames, bolts were torqued, and tyres pumped. The steeds were ready. But what about the riders.

With each of them different in stature and strengths the routes were carefully plotted to challenge everyone. This was made possible by the varying terrain of the algarve. Constantly up and down, there is nowhere to rest!

The route for the first day was a lumpy one. Lots of small ramps that were set to sting the legs, but the team were excited. It was our turn to take to the support car and get to work.

Our brief was simple. Capture the team’s training camp experience. Armed with cameras, heaps of banter and our trusty sticky bottles we headed out in search of an adventure and a hell of a lot of snaps!

With the riders tackling more than 100 kilometres each day there was plenty of time to capture the best moments of them on the bike, drink our body weight in ice tea and get to know the roads of the Algarve from the comfort of the air-conditioned support car. With the head of Proper Cycling Holidays, Ross McCraken at the helm Breakaway Digital were able to focus on the riders.

Keen to capture the whole team experience, the work didn’t stop when the riders climbed off the bike. Just as recovery is the most important part of training, so too was the time off the bike for us!

The week flew by, just like the team on each smooth sweeping descent. Every day different riders turned the wick up and stretched their legs, a friendly competitive spirit generated plenty of that all-important TSS.

Personal highlights must have been the café spin on the rest day that we jumped at the opportunity to ride on. It was also a pleasure watching Llewellyn Thomas, the hard working pocket rocket of the team, claw his way back to the group after being distanced up the long climb of the N2, and also Dan Pullen’s punishing attack on the climb up to Malhão.

The penultimate day started with a nasty test. A 13-minute climb straight from the gun almost brought up breakfast for most of the team. The steep slopes up to Aporfiosa also provided plenty of pain faces, just what we like!

So what is it like to follow a cycling training camp?

As a photographer who also loves to ride bikes, watching six riders glide along the sinuous and utterly gorgeous roads of the Algarve was not without its own hardship. The reward for missing out on all those KOM’S is the comprehensive archive of great photo’s. As the expression goes, ‘practice makes perfect’. The training camp provided ample opportunity to hone the skills needed to take better photos and ultimately create better content. After all, Breakaway Digital is all about the gains.

After a week of suffering in the sun for the team and more time spent looking through a viewfinder than our own eyes it was time to get back to the UK and start looking forward to the next Breakaway!

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