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December 16, 2005 - The Nevada team recently got together for our annual “Beer Camp” in Chico, CA. This was my fifth camp, as the longest standing member of the original Sierra Nevada side of the team. I’ve always enjoyed coming up to Chico, as the hospitality is great, the excitement levels are always high, and the swag received from sponsors is prolific.

We start by meeting at the Sierra Nevada Brewery and going on a tour. This year we were lead around the building by Ken Grossman, the owner and founder of the Brewery. Ken is highly knowledgeable and speaks at length on several points, from the brewing process to company philosophy.

As Ken leads you around, you get to see the excellent facilities, the attention to detail, and quality of work being done that all contribute to Sierra Nevada beers. Having taken these tours for many years, the running joke is that I could give the tour by now, and yet every year I learn new things about brewing in general and the specific way Sierra Nevada produces beer.

We then use the brewery as a home base for our week of meetings, team-building exercises, and rides. After a ride in the morning, we take over “The Big Room,” a beautiful auditorium that is usually used for events, concerts, big dinners, etc. We have lunch, and then receive our sponsors and listen to presentations on the companies we will represent and specific products we will use.

This year we heard from Mavic, adidas, Fizi:k,, Specialized, Cranks Brothers, Planet Magpie and First Endurance. These presentations take several hours of each day but are essential to coordinate the message we are to deliver all year. To help familiarize the team with the products, sponsors bring lots of brochures, hats, t-shirts, other swag as well as the first round of product.

We also get to meet with management to determine the schedule and goals, and make sure everyone’s on the same page. I was very excited to discuss the finer points with our new Rider Manager Jonas Carney, who brings experience and knowledge to the position and I am confident will lead us to many victories. What a great asset to the program! Jonas’ addition was kept secret until the first day of camp and so riders were greeted with a pleasant surprise upon arrival.

Finally, and most importantly, the riders got to meet and interact with each other, their teammates and coworkers. There were team-building exercises to promote cohesiveness, daily rides for on-the-bike rambling, and a bit of initiation for rookie members (nothing too scarring though). Mainly, we got to hang out and see what type of people we were dealing with, before the pressure of racing gets turned up too high.

I feel we have a great group of guys, twelve strong riders who are willing to back each other up and race hard for the team goal of winning races. With these guys and Jonas at the helm I feel we have great potential for this upcoming season, and I left camp with great enthusiasm for the year ahead.

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