The British Lions cycle speedway squad came together at the EIS in Sheffield recently, to kick off their preparations in readiness for the Ashes Series which will take place in South Australia next November.
About 25 riders were able to make the journey to Sheffield with squad members travelling from Sussex, East Anglia, The Midlands, The North, South Wales and the West Country. They were supported by parents and club representatives, who had ensured that junior riders were able to make long journeys to the English Institute of Sport where the GB squads utilised the impressive facilities made available to them.
The GB coaching staff put the riders through a series of training and team building routines. All of those present made it clear how much they had benefited from the training, the knowledge transfer sessions and the opportunity to bond with squad colleagues.
British Cycling provided Watt bikes, for sessions overseen by Rob Mace and Tony Bennett, and these will provide metrics that can be used to assist with riders' personal training plans. Wattbikes will be transported to future training camps at Poole and Newport, where further output will be obtained to measure riders' progress through the next nine months.
The 200 meter indoor athletics track provided a great arena for timed 400 and 200 meter sprints under guidance of Stuart Raven and Martin Gamble and this was topped off with a thrilling team relay race, involving all squad members, to complete the day's track activity.
Other activity involved some useful fitness and strength building sessions facilitated by Ian Brown and Rob Mahood which opened riders to many new training techniques.
Whilst Men's team manager Dave Murphy participated in some of the sessions with his team, Ivan Pike (Junior team manager) and Geoff Gamage (Women's team manager) were also active in assisting their teams during the sessions.
The next get-together will be at the Poole cycle speedway circuit, at the end of May, whilst riders will continue to work on their individual training programmes with local club coaches until then.