Media Camp Day 1 - The Set-up
Nestled in between Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland is the mountainous region of Voralberg in the western part of Austria. With many peaks sitting above 2000m it makes for a popular winter ski resort but when the mercury rises and the snow melts the beautiful Alpine scenery is exposed for cyclists of all types to enjoy.
For Shimano this year Voralberg is the perfect location to invite the media to test its new Ultegra (R8000-series) Di2 and disc brake components.
As the Shimano mechanics put the finishing touches to the demo fleet - comprising some of the best bikes from the World Tour teams - our ride guides head out to give the routes one final check. Or so they say. With roads like this you'll find any excuse to ride...
Tomorrow journalists from some of the most popular cycling websites and magazines will descend on the Voralberg to put these Ultegra components through their paces. The routes have a mix of short steep climbs, long steep climbs and hair-raising hairpin descents. It’s a dream cycling location…
Media Camp Day 2 - Into Action
Today several months of planning come to life with the arrival of our guests. Motorways, airports and travel stresses are quickly forgotten as soon as room keys are dished out, suitcases are unpacked and riding gear is donned. We have some time before dinner so everyone has the chance to set up their bike to their liking and head out for a quick spin.
Before giving everyone a chance to get to know each other we give a quick re-cap of what Ultegra is all about.
Product Manager Tim explaining some of the tech features you can expect in new Ultegra, such as Synchro Shift, Ice Tech Freeza rotors and Shadow rear derailleur designs.
Meanwhile Brand Manager Erik tells us how the development of new Ultegra focused on allowing more concentration, greater customisation and ultimate control. We'll find out exactly what that means over the next few days.
Media Camp Day 3 - Let's Roll...
Yesterday gave everyone a chance to stretch their legs but today is when the real riding starts. Coffees are steaming, legs are gleaming and bikes are shining. We're pretty much ready to ride.
Rudy and Erik kick things off with a 70km ride towards the town of Bregenz. There are some 30-minute climbs on today's route, but the real fun is saved for tomorrow!
Whilst half the group are riding the other half are looking in-depth at the tech behind new Ultegra. Tim, Rob and Iino walk the editors through the simple set up of Ultegra's Di2 components. Simply plug and play!
The editors also get the chance to check out the customization options that Ultegra offers. Through E-TUBE anyone can change shift speed, button operations, Synchro Shift settings and more. And all the most useful features are available via the iPhone and Android phone apps.
It's all change in the afternoon as Ben and Carola take on guiding duties. Last one to the coffee stop is a rotten egg!
Media Camp Day 4 - Putting the Ow into Au!
Our base for these days in the Austrian Alps is the Au, a small village sitting either side of the main trunk road through this section of Austria. All around us are famous skiing destinations - Damuls, Lech - and mountain passes - the Furkapass and the Hochtannbergpass to name a few.
Whilst the destination of a town in the valley offers the chance for amenities, in this part of the world it also means that everywhere is up from here.
The cable cars hang dormant above our heads as we wind up towards a mountainous plateau. The sun beats down as beads of sweat roll down faces and off the end of noses. The smooth tarmac shines with a slick residue.
After upwards of 3000m of climbing in recent days, already the riders are grateful for their compact chainsets with 11-30 cassettes. It’s all downhill from here though with an exhilarating 17km descent giving the perfect opportunity to experience the control and confidence new Ultegra rim and disc brakes offer.
With more than enough kilometres in their legs and the sun creeping behind the jagged Alpine peaks, we have to draw this media camp to a close. Our guests need to put pen to paper and share their thoughts about the media camp.