A rigorous training session topped the agenda on 1. FSV Mainz 05's first full day at the impressive U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs on Sunday.
The high altitude and sweltering heat certainly take some getting used to, but Mainz coach Martin Schmidt is optimistic the taxing conditions at the club's stateside summer base will pay off in the long run.
"The thin air is a factor because it is so dry, even though it does make the heat a bit more bearable," Schimidt explained. "Jet lag is also a factor, but after one day the players will be acclimatised, and then it will no longer be an issue. "We're putting a huge emphasis on endurance and fitness during this training camp. It is also a test of the players' mental strength, to be able to keep fighting without giving in."
When it comes to boosting morale and putting noses to the grindstone, the Mainz camp could do worse than take a leaf out of the resident Academy Cadets' book. The Air Force trainees could be seen running laps of the training pitches, carrying assault rifles and backpacks, and singing military hymns at the tops of their voices.
The Mainz players were not quite as vocal following such a strenuous workout in the 30°C heat, but the unity within the squad was plain to see once they retired to their Lodge at the Flying Horse retreat later in the day. Some took a dip together in the immaculate outdoor pool, whilst others lapped up the picture-postcard surrounds and Rocky Mountain air.