Floyd’s Camp In So Cal and The ESAs

Okay, I have sucked lately in updating this website…. And I have good excuses for it!  I have packed so much stuff to report in the last 15 days it is insane.  It will probably be impossible to include everything but I will try to at least feed you the juicy bits to go with the photos I have uploaded into the Training Camp gallery.

I woke up on Saturday January 20th thinking, screw it.  I don’t feel like getting on a plane, I am just going back to bed for another few hours and later I will just get up and go suffer on another ride in the rain by myself.  Luckily, Ross was making coffee so the thought of drinking some liquid motivation was more enticing than a few more minutes of nap time.  I got on the plane, flew to LA, got a car and jetted to Temecula.  The rental car agent was the nicest man ever: he got me a car with XM radio and told me my rate was crap and proceeded to save me about $300.  I love it.  My new favorite band is the Kooks.  Anyways, I arrived into Temecula late Saturday night to start what would be one of the most fun training camps I have ever attended.. hands down.  I was there to ride with the Powertap Floyd Landis Training Camp along with 22 other campers, two other athletes and a pile of super cool VIPs and staff from Saris Cycling Group.  Being late, my M.O., I started building my bike in the dark only to have my chain wrapped in a nice bow around my chainstay (had to go) so luckily Jesse from Saris, with only the slightest evidence of the “stupid girl” on his face offered to fix my bike and sort me out with my new Powertap 2.4 SL wireless.  YAY!  Thanks Jesse, you are the best!

The next morning was test day.  Being late January testing for me is a scary thing.  One, I know I am not really fit yet so going hard hurts, a lot.  Plus, testing is always related back to your weight and my weight at this time is not optimal.  That said, I am closer to optimal than last January so I think the Nature's Path food is doing its job.    January is not a world class month for Mel and my test results were being broadcasted to the group.  Luckily, I am certain I will go faster later this season but having Alan Lim look at my test results after a season of working with Floyd Landis is painful.  Almost as painful as Floyd offering to give me an arm fling back to Robbie Ventura during our race up Palomar as he watches me blow to pieces.  More on that later….

Anyways, this camp was like a retreat for the exceptional.  Pretty much everyone there was a B.A.M.F.  There were doctors, lawyers, social workers, computer dudes, contractors, architects, realtors.. you name it.  It was a group where as an athlete I could imagine me going to listen to them all deliver a motivational speech rather than the reverse.  The group was kick ass.  I have to say, sport tends to attract the cool people.  Especially the Canadians, right Joel?  Everyone at the camp was hilarious, especially the two badass chicks that flew from Hawaii to join the fun, Alison and Kate.  They rocked.  By the weekend we had a group from the RaceAthlete team http://www.raceathlete.com, come to ride with us as well which helped bolster the triathlete numbers of the camp.  A group of hilarious bloggers, one of whom is the great SimplyStu himself!   I did an interview with Stu, shared stories with Bolder, Rural Girl and Ironwil… very cool.   Great people, great rides and great conversation.  I would just like to say to the whole group, thank you for the fun times, I am so inspired by all of you!

OK, so about Floyd.  He is absolutely hilarious.  Down to earth, normal, respectful but frankly, an athletic freak of nature.  I tell you what… having your hip replaced is not day surgery.  It is medieval torture.  This guy is on his bike kicking my full-time-training-ass already.. and he is about 30 pounds from “Stage 17” weight.  Which, I am ashamed to admit, is within 10 lbs of Mel’s January training camp weight.  Freak.  Very nice freak and I would just like to thank Floyd for dragging my sorry ass all over the Inland Empire for the past two weeks.  These Xterra chicks are going to hate you for it Floyd because frankly, I am going to kick some ass this year.  I left California thinking wow, what a superstar and what a great friend to have.  I also am stoked to announce that Will, Floyd’s business manager and former pro mountain biker extraordinaire will also be helping me manage my career this year.  Will, you are a gong show.. glad to have you on my team!  Oh, but there is so much more…..


Okay, the week was great for me for training and by the end of the week I was starting to feel almost good.  I think I logged 29 hours of riding over the course of 7 days, which is solid for me.  On the fifth day, Robbie Ventura (http://www.visionquestcoaching.com) came up to me at breakfast and said “It’s me and you McQuaid.”  The ride that day was up Mt Palomar, which is an 18.6 km climb at an average of 8ish percent.  Now, I have been riding more than Robbie, but Robbie has years of pro cycling experience plus, the experience of being road pro capable of turning himself inside out to avoid being beaten by a female triathlete.  He had a plan.  We were talking trash the whole morning.  Leaving the little store at the bottom of the climb we sat shoulder to shoulder.  The group was whittled to four.  Robbie would accelerate, I would catch up.  These accelerations continued as we climbed higher.  When we got to a steeper section, Robbie attacked me and I figured I should counter just to see how strong he was.  He came back.  It was steep, winding and hard!  This continued for 45 minutes of the climb and then I detonated in a particularly windy section… probably at about 4000 feet.  Floyd came back for me and offered to help fling me back into our little group of four but since Robbie and I had 20 bucks on this climb I didn’t want to cheat him out of a fair win.  I had been defeated.

But at the top I discovered that RV is a crafty one.  HE HAD FLOYD PUSHING HIM AT THE BOTTOM!!!  Floyd commiserated with RV to work together to fling him past me in mock “attacks” to fool me into thinking he was strong.  Well, he is super strong but he did have some help to work me over with his man Floyd.  I think RV blew about a kilometer up the hill further than I did and his 1:10 clocking (full on headwind that day up the climb) to my 1:12 meant he was the winner on the day.  I will have my revenge Robbie, I went back down for another climb up that day, so watch out mister!!!!!!  Anyway, this is the kind of shenanigans going on during the week.  Hilarious. 

So after the week in Temecula was over, I was invited to the Endurance Sports Awards at Sea World by Competitor magazine.  I was hosted in Solana Beach for the week where I enjoyed sunny weather, outdoor swimming and some more beatings on the bicycle delivered by Floyd and Brent.  It was AWESOME!  I think I went home having climbed about 55,000 feet or so.  I had the opportunity to join fellow Floyd camper John Schroeder at his office where he has a stable of wicked vehicles.. the highlight of which was a 1955 Porsche Speedster and a BMW M6, which we took out to John Force’s racing headquarters for a tour of everything drag race.  So incredible, thanks John!

The week ended with my friend Day flying down to be my date at the awards.  We did some shopping, some swimming and some hanging out.  The night of the awards was fun and it was great to be awarded the Offroad Triathlete of the Year award.  Of course, I was following Floyd on stage… tough act to follow! 

So now I am home, packing again for a trip to Milwaukee to talk to another group of top performing interns at Northwestern Mutual.  My next post will discuss this trip and my next one.. but for now.. that is enough! 

Keep it rubber side down.   Work harder than everyone else.  Laugh a lot.   Over and out.. mm



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