Aaron’s Corporate Furnishings Women's Team completes their first Team Camp
If a Team Camp in a cold and windy Atlanta, lost luggage, and Lycra clad
photo shoots and training in freezing weather won't stop the Women
of Aarons Pro Cycling Team what will?
The Aaron’s Pro Women’s Team held their team camp on Presidents Weekend in
Atlanta, GA, which despite the lack of any good weather, was a huge success. The
whole camp proved to be a full team effort from the riders and sponsors in
their ability to pull together and be well prepared.
"Since the theme
of the weekend was COLD it was no surprise when we were asked to strip down to
shorts and jerseys for a team photo in front of the big Aaron’s sign in the
Aaron’s Women’s Professional Cycling Team
(shown bundled to stay warm to the left) drove in from Greensboro enjoying the last hours of warmth
while Catherine Powers and Mackenzie Dickey flew in from Denver and Boston,
respectively. Shannon Hutchison-Krupat was able to leave her Orchestra Teacher
post a little early to pick up Catherine. Catherine’s baggage never made the plane in Denver;
taking it all in stride Catherine set the standard for the rest of the weekend that this team was not
going to let anything interrupt their camp! Team Director Jeremy Hutchison-Krupat
picked up Mackenzie from the airport the team packed into the Land
Rover and headed out for their inaugural team dinner.
After an unseasonably warm week of 70 degree temperatures in Atlanta leading
up to the camp, the riders were greeted by a cold and rainy weather Saturday morning.
Undaunted, the team showed they could take whatever Mother Nature threw their
way, as they toughed it out,
slogging through near freezing heavy rains.
Oh no! Not on my new Bianchi!
Everyone felt sorry to abuse their new team Bianchi's so early on! Yet just like Catherine and her luggage, no
complaints were heard as everyone simply took their hot showers, wrapped
themselves in comforters and gripped their warm beverages firmly as they shook
off one of the coldest days in “Hot-lanta”.
The temperatures continued to drop on Sunday as once again the women all
broke their personal bests for riding low temperatures and dutifully got out in sub 30
degree weather to ride, and photo shoots in and around Atlanta and at one of
the Aaron’s Corporate Furnishings stores.
Monday the team was greeted with yet another rainy day as the team went to
the Aaron’s headquarters to meet Aaron’s employees and executives. All were
impressed with the company’s commitment to the cycling program as Aaron’s
jerseys and cycling related items were present throughout the office space. The
team was then shown an internal marketing video that Aaron’s had produced
highlighting the analogous behavior of cyclists and the Aaron’s employees in
their shared determination, focus and ability to work hard. The team was sent
off with a relaxing lunch and discussions of an exciting season to come!
This past weekend I traveled to Atlanta to attend my very first team camp, as
a member of the newly formed Aaron’s Professional Cycling Team. I had been
looking forward to this weekend ever since I had signed my team contract back in
November and now the weekend had finally arrived. Needless to say, I was
determined not to let the predicted weather forecast of cold temperatures and
rains do anything to spoil my trip.
Even if we would be unable to get in a quality weekend of training due to
weather, I knew the weekend held much more in store for me. I arrived in Atlanta
on Friday night and was greeted by my team director Jeremy Krupat. After
countless emails and phone conversations over the past few months, it was nice
to finally meet Jeremy in person.
From the airport, we headed back to Jeremy’s house to pick up the rest of the
team and go to dinner. Although I had seen all of my teammates at previous races
throughout the season last year, I was actually meeting the majority of my
teammates for the first time. The dinner conversation quickly took off over some
delicious chips and salsa, as the girls caught up with each other and began
discussing the latest cycling news.
Soaking in the moment, I quietly sank back into my chair, wide eyed and
grinning. I had been dreaming of joining a professional cycling team ever since
I hopped on my bike three years ago and competed in my first race. Now, in a
dimly lit Mexican cantina in Atlanta, that dream was coming true right before my
very eyes! The dinner was everything I hoped for and more. Sitting at the table
among three of the most talented and well respected riders in the women’s
peleton, I knew I was in good company.
The conversation continued to flow effortlessly, as we all got to know each
other better by admitting any odd quirks that we possessed. After dinner we
returned to Jeremy and Shannon’s home to begin fine tuning our bikes and sorting
through our team clothing.
I could not have been more pleased with our team kits and Bianchi bikes, as
it all looked amazing. I went to bed that night with a huge smile on my face.
Grateful to be apart of this team, I was looking forward to the rest of the
weekends activities which included; rides, photo shoots, and of course meeting
the Aaron’s sponsors who were instrumental in making this all happen.
Team Training Camp – Sunday
After Saturday’s hypothermic team bonding experience, we were all delighted to
see that it was not raining when we woke up on Sunday. Jeremy supplied us with
waffles and (more importantly) real Italian espresso and Scooter the kitten
entertained her adoring fans over breakfast. The weather was, uh, a bit nippy so
we dressed in every layer of cycling clothing we could get our hands on and
headed out the door. For some reason, our plucky young New England teammate
refused to wear a hat, a decision she would regret …
The first stop was Outback Cycles for some team photos in front of the shop.
Back on our bikes, we rode to a park where Jason took action
shots of us riding up and down the same hill 50 times in the 38 degree weather.
Meanwhile, Jeremy and Chad cheered us on from the warm car. By the time this photo
shoot was over, we couldn’t feel our hands and feet so someone wisely suggested
we go for coffee to warm up.
Coffee turned into breakfast, we couldn’t resist the warm grits, hot cocoa
and huevos rancheros … and we really didn’t want to go back outside.
later, the "wait" staff started giving us dirty looks, so we had to move on.
Jeremy and I decided to brave the cold for a 2-hour ride (I had to work off
those huevos) and everyone else headed home. Jeremy proposed that we do the
regular Sunday group ride route and turn around at the “pee stop”. Since I’d
downed about 7 cups of coffee at the diner, I was very excited when Jeremy
announced we were nearing this “pee stop” but was disappointed to discover that
he was actually referring to a few strategically placed bushes …
When we arrived home, we were greeted by Shannon with bowls of steaming hot
chili. Mmmmm! Then it was crunch time. We had to get ready for the afternoon’s
high fashion photo shoot. Girls were whipping out the makeup, the blow dryers
and Mackenzie’s super duper hot iron hair straightening device with a strange
name (the Hot Chi?). It was crazy.
When everyone was primped and ready, Jeremy drove the Hank Aaron’s Land Rover
full of gorgeous babes over to the Aaron’s Corporate Furnishings store. Don and
Elizabeth were waiting for us there to show us around and help with artistic
Since the theme of the weekend was COLD it was no surprise when we were
asked to strip down to shorts and jerseys for a team photo in front of the big
Aaron’s sign in the parking lot. Then we raced back inside to pose in the showroom for
the “Aaron’s Team Board Meeting” shot, the “Look! There’s something exciting on
the computer!” shot and the “Have you read the Aaron’s catalogue lately?” shot.
Candice was happy to comply with lots of toothy smiles for the camera. Finally,
we all posed for individual photos with various office accoutrements. We got a
chance to take a look at some of the pictures from the morning and we all
thought Jason did an excellent job.
We finished off the day with a team dinner at a Thai restaurant. We discussed
race tactics and team dynamics and made big plans for the season.
Follow the Aaron's
Women's Pro Cycling Team on their website.