This week’s camp started on a positive note, not that the riders would necessarily have seen it that way; the unusually long dry season ended on Sunday, so many of them arrived on Monday feeling stiff because of the (relative) cold from getting wet in the rain, which, of course, makes muscles contract.
Tuesday’s session, focusing on pre-race training, fitness and sprint tactics, was an out-and-back ride of about three hours – circa 100km – from Musanze up towards Gitarama, climbing up the winding mountain roads, past the goat market and dodging the meandering pedestrians in the busy town of Busogo.
What made the session positive was not so much the performance on the road – where the team work continues to improve and, on individual notes, Nathan and Rocky won the two sprints (with Abraham coming second both times) – but at the team meeting afterwards.
“The fact that the riders talked about having stiff legs before the ride is a big plus,” explained Jock. “It’s a real sign of progress that they were open enough to talk about weaknesses at the meeting, because the culture here is one of not admitting to mistakes or weaknesses.
“There’s a tendency to be fatalistic and to not make connections, so for them to link the rain and cold to the stiffness was another important step in the process of their education. Hopefully they will now begin to understand that things like over-training or under-training have consequences, and will learn from that.”
After lunch and some free time, the riders’ spent the late afternoon learning English and a short yoga session.