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Active Expert: Bruce Hildenbrand

1 Post tagged with the rory-sutherland tag

January and early February mean its pro team camp time.  Every year I attend

five to seven of the pro team camps, it's a great time to catch up with the

riders and lay some foundation for the season ahead.  This year, I stopped in

to see a number of teams such as the BMC, Health Net-Maxxis, High Road Sports

with trips to several others like CSC still upcoming.


The Health Net-Maxxis Professional Cycling Team camp is always fun.  These guys

can ride bikes evidenced by their fourth straight NRC team crown in 2007 as

well as the individual NRC crown with Australian rider Rory Sutherland.  The

team is a mix of cagey veterans like recently crowned National Cyclocross

Champion, Tim Johnson, and Kirk Obee, hard-as-nails Australians such as

Sutherland and Karl Menzies (he'll tell you he's actually Tasmanian), up-and-

comers like Frank Pipp and Phil Zaijeck and young guns like Matt Crane and John



The program for the media/sponsor day was to ride with the team from our

hotel in downtown Solvang and preview the 15-mile course for the upcoming

Stage 5 time trial in the Tour of California.  We rolled out at a talking

pace, the idea of the ride was to get to know everybody and not to break too

big of a sweat.  That's fine with me.  Bonding on the bike is always a great

experience.  There are times when it is best to hold back the endorphins and

just enjoy the ride.



When we finished our loop it was clear that the team was up for some more miles

and at a little bit more uptempo pace.  So, I tagged along with the boys for a

rendezvous with Figueroa Mountain.  Along the way we passed Michael Jackson's

Neverland Ranch and as we hit the base of the 3200' climb, I remembered what

Clint Eastwood said at the end of Magnum Force, "a man's got to know his

limitations."  I said farewell to the team and headed back home. Later, I

found that I had chosen wisely as noted climbing specialist Matt Cooke lit the

afterburners on the ascent, turning a fun group ride into an all-out sufferfest.


At this time of the year, my idea of suffering is watching Simon on American

Idol.  But, if the Health Net-Maxxis squad is going to win their fifth

consecutive NRC title, they need to lay down some serious smack this early in

the season.  Judging by their fitness and attitude, this is going to be a good




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