Portugal-Blog by Loren Rowney

Plank offs, karaoke and granola- a day in the Specialized Lululemon camp

You can always pick out an elite athlete or general overly completive individual. Even when participating in something as silly as a plank off, the inner “cheetah in heat”, as Ally would say, comes out. The sweat, tears and suffering to be “champion of the plank” was a fine demonstration of why these girls are Specialized Lululemon team material. Newbie Tayler, showed “true grit” in the final coming in a fine thrid to the plank legend Trixi.  The pain face she was making almost matched the “Evie” pain face, it was gold! Once the arms had recovered enough to hold a microphone, the Karaoke began. And let me tell you, Ellen is a super star on the bike, and a rock star on the mike.  The “fine form” award goes to Trixi of course, breaking out on the dance floor to the song of the night “time of your life-dirty dancing”. For us, we were singing to 1000′s of fans in audience, belting out tunes…I even broke out in a sweat and had to remove one of the “three times a lady” jacket layers, compliments of lululemon of course.

The morning after yoga session was always going to interesting after the plank off the night before, and Kristy was nice enough to give us a sleep in till 7:20. I made a note of looking around the class to see how everyone was holding up. Mary Beth the lululemon yogi from Venice Beach was of course very kind to us, and we avoided doing too many chaturangas.

First in line for coffee and breakfast after yoga is always Evie. Every morning thus far she has beaten me to the granola bowl. It’s quite the fight for granola, you have to be fast and get in quick, and otherwise you miss out. The poor hotel staff had no idea what hit them when a team of professional female cyclists descended upon them. I have a feeling they didn’t anticipate how much coffee and food we can consume in one sitting. The one morning I was late for breakfast, I missed out, and when asking one of the waiters if he could bring out some more he proceeded to tell me “I already used four boxes this morning, I have no more!” I laughed inside and sympathized for the poor guy, with him probably thinking “geez I would not want to take a female cyclist out for a meal, it could add up to a small fortune”.

Once we’ve cleaned out the kitchen of all their food, its back to our rooms for our 10am roll out on shiny new Amira’s into the hills of the Algarve. It really is a beautiful place to ride, with quiet roads, nice climbs and interesting scenery. It’s not every day you can say you ride past castles, well, not in Australia at least.

With camp coming to a close in the next few days, I’ll miss these awesome days with the girls, but I’m excited about the coming year and all the great things we are going to achieve as a team in 2013.