Scott, one of the partners in the team, also a team car support driver (he grew-up in the sixties street racing cars in the orange groves outside Los Angeles), has a friend in Ventura. The friend is an older regular guy. He runs several farms in and around Ventura, he’s married to a tall northern European woman, they recreationally ride bikes together and sometimes dirt bikes. They live in a house on a hill in a gated community outside Ventura. Because they’re friends with Scott, because they like bikes, and because they’re curious people with lots of physical space in their house and emotional and psychological space in their heads and hearts, they’ve offered to host Team Exergy’s Spring Training Camp.
Host housing is a thing. At races, and basically wherever and whenever the team is travelling, people with homes open them to the experience that is a Professional Road Racing Team. In this case eleven or so athletic males and their support staff; the DS, a Sougnier, a French Canadian chef, a mechanic or two, and various press and sponsor representatives.
The house is large. It looks and feels like a 70’s era Southern California interpretation of mid-century modern. It’s surrounded in the back by a lawn and a view and a deck, on one side, by a miniature orange grove, and in the front, by an exceptionally wide driveway and a 3 maybe 4 car garage. Inside the garage, stacks of Felt time-trial bikes, wind trainers, coolers, and wheels compete with the home-owners’ bikes, motorcycles, tool benches, tools and other typical-type garage flotsam. Over the course of the week, riders and support use the garage daily if not hourly for; wind training, pull-up contests, working-on and cleaning-up bikes, making repairs to stuff, line drying kit, a place to phone-and-pace, clip toe-nails, etc.
Inside the front door, in the entry-way, is a nightly sessioned foosball table. To the left a bathroom in which every surface is covered in mirror. The floor, the walls, the toilet, the tank, the ceiling, the mirror, the door, everything, all of it is covered in mirror or sections of mirror or mirror mosaics. Beyond the entry-way and a modest dining room is a sunken living room outfitted in carpet, 20 feet of couch, large floor-to-ceiling windows and a fireplace. The living room is, naturally, the center of the week and almost all group/team events. By day, it’s used for massage-table leg work and massages, team meetings, zKool-n-zFit presentations like the one given by the owner of the company who is German and excited and adamant about the powers and properties of his product, lap-topping, and light if not distracted TV watching. By night, eating desert and watching TV or Movies, animated conversations about past race accomplishments and/or missed opportunities, critiques of literature and cinema like the one about Christina Ricci’s dancing scene in Buffalo 66, a flat space to spread out like refugees our air mattresses, etc. Upstairs there are several bedrooms, a bathroom and even a loft or two. The bedrooms are littered, unsurprisingly, with kit and cycling detritus. Two styles of littering prevail. Firstly, Stacks of Like Objects, which at first glance look random but on closer inspection actually indicate a deep commitment to order, the classic Type-A approach. Secondly, Comprehensive and Plastered, a study in entropy. When not riding, the team spends most of the day eating or computing; watching movies, skyping, sending emails, texting, basically resting. They rest in myriad positions and forms all day long and all over the house. Their rest is a purposeful inactive-type activity. When not riding they expend as little energy as possible and the house, spacious and properly equipped, is a retreat into which they further retreat.