Scott, one of the partners in Team Exergy and 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, also together. They live in a house on a hill in a gated community. 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 traveling), 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 Director Sportif, a sougnier, a French-Canadian chef, a mechanic or two, various press, and sponsor representatives.
The house is large. It looks and feels like a ’70s 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 three-, maybe four-car garage.
“Inside the garage, stacks of Felt time-trial bikes, wind trainers, coolers, and wheels compete with the homeowners’ bikes, motorcycles, tool benches, tools and other typical-type garage flotsam.”
Over the course of the week, riders and support staff use the garage daily if not hourly for activities including but not limited to:
- Wind training
- Pull-up contests
- Working-on bikes
- Cleaning-up bikes
- Making repairs to Stuff
- Line drying kit
- Clipping toenails
- Et cetera-ing
Inside the front door, in the entryway, 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 entryway and a modest dining room is a sunken living room outfitted in carpet, twenty feet of couch, large floor-to-ceiling windows and a fireplace. The living room is, naturally, the center of the week and almost all 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 dessert 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 on 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 retreat.