Parkhotel Valkenburg CT4 Min Read
Megmeister have been proud supporters of Continental Team, Parkhotel Valkenburg CT, for a number of years, supplying the team with our industry leading baselayers. Ahead of the 2024 season, we'd like to introduce the team through British rider Callum MacLeod.
In the world of professional cycling, where the individual pursuit of glory overlaps and meshes with the collective effort of a team, the psychology of team dynamics becomes a fascinating study. Behind the whirring wheels and aerodynamic helmets lies a complex web of relationships, communication strategies, and shared objectives. The success of a cycling team extends far beyond the physical abilities of its members; it hinges on the delicate balance of teamwork and the unspoken bonds between riders.
Team training camps are the perfect opportunity for riders to create this bond, and for Continental team Parkhotel Valkenburg CT, team training camps are not solely about training and recovery, but also about creating those connections. "It's really good to be with the team and be in that environment. I have not met some of the new riders, and quite a lot of the riders have changed since last year, so it'll be nice to meet everyone that's new and create that bond that you need to race together," Callum Macleod, one of the team's riders, said.
"On the bike you get to spend four to five hours a day together, rotating through the line, so you get to know one another quite well when out on the rides,”
he added. “But then sometimes it is also not very sociable when you are riding hard, so we often do activities in the evening. Last year, I remember playing chess with the boys quite a lot.
“On rest days, we might also go for a walk or to the gym, and then you have dinner together. These moments help you get to know the people you are riding with. That, in turn, helps with racing because when you have those good relationships with people, you don't actually need to communicate with words in the races, you just know each other well enough to know what to do, where to be, how someone will work, what someone's preferences are and things like that, which is exactly what you need to win."
Macleod moved from Reading in the UK to Limburg in the Netherlands, where the team and many of its riders are based, and is now going into his third year with the Dutch team. He states that he and Belgian rider Mathis Avondts are the only non-Dutch-speaking riders on the team's roster, but he touches upon the fact that the team, the staff, and all the riders are very understanding of this, taking time to help him with his Dutch, highlighting the inclusive and friendly environment Parkhotel Valkenburg CT has created.
"It's a good environment in the team," the 23-year-old added. "It's relaxed in the sense that there's not a lot of pressure from the management. They want us to ride well, and they want us to do well, but they also want us to do it for us, and that helps with how we respond."
"Everyone knows when to be serious and when to enjoy themselves, and I think that balance is really nice."
Being able to demonstrate the team's talent was evident last year with Macleod noting what a great year it was for them: "I think it was one of the most successful years the team has ever had, actually." For 2024, the team will be hoping to build on this momentum, picking up UCI points that will help them climb up the rankings. "It's good for the team and the sponsors," Macleod said.
But, while cycling is a team effort, only one person can win a race and with riders leaving the team, Macleod is hoping to "fill those shoes in some way". He came close to winning the Tour du Loir et Cher last year in France but was just three seconds behind the leader. "It's difficult to be so close, but so far. Four hundred kilometres of racing and it comes down to three seconds" he added, frustrated. "I think it is just about trusting the process and remembering that all will come good. If you come that close once, you can come that close again."
"The difference between winning and losing is so small that at some point, it'll happen again."
The racing season is already getting underway and Macleod will soon be on the starting line, hoping to achieve his own ambitions as well as those of the team. And much like the harmony of the team equating to the success of their goals, the turbulent early-season European weather is an element pro cyclists must be able to conquer in order to grab early opportunities for victory.
"If I feel the cold and I am shivering, the power in my legs literally disappears. It's super important for me to have layers and the team's long-sleeved Megmeister base layers are a vital piece of kit for me.”
Feeling cold or wet from sweat during a race prevents Macleod from performing to the best of his ability and he highlighted how well the base layers, in particular, work in keeping him dry and warm, leaving him with only the race to focus on. He added that he will venture to the sleeveless base layer when the temperatures are above 15 degrees, and he'll opt for the white colour option racing in the summer "because I think that if you're on a climb and you unzip your jersey, the white looks really nice”. If you are planning on winning a race, you’ve got to look good while doing so.
He will receive a box of fresh new kit from Megmeister HQ at the training camp in Spain in February – including the full range of our signature base layers – having ridden over 30,000 kilometres in 2023. After the team’s training camp, it's head down with training in Limburg, putting in 24 hours a week on the bike until he's on the starting line for his first race, sharing a subtle nod with his Parkhotel Valkenburg CT team-mates, with victory in sight.
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