I just wanted to share with you my positive experiences this past weekend at the AthletiCamps Race School. I usually don't do this, but in this particular case, I felt the need to share, mainly because of the importance of a program like this and how it can lead to more success, excitement, and SAFETY in our racing.
Bruce Hendler, owner of Athleticamps has put together a very unique "race school" up in the Sacramento area. I am not sure if you are familiar with his background and company, but I would urge you to check it out on their website. Good stuff.
As we learned this weekend, there is a real need for this type of complete service in NorCal and cycling in general. The focus of the camp was not the physical side of the sport, but more the skills, strategic and tactical side of bike racing. As Bruce puts it, if bike racers spent half as much time focusing on the this side of the sport, as they do the physical, they would have more success and the sport would be more exciting at all levels, because everyone's tactical IQ would increase.
Bruce has recruited a great group of instructors, whom most of you probably recognize. Larry Nolan, Kevin Metcalfe and Kurt Stockton. Along with Bruce, each brought a unique perspective to the weekend. For those of you whom do not recognize Kurt's name, he a a former US PRO champion (I think in 1990) and was recent owner and director of the Sierra Nevada professional cycling team. Having Kurt's insights for a team director's standpoint was pretty amazing. All four of them were so approachable and so willing to share their knowledge.
The major difference here was that basic and advanced skills are important to learn or relearn for all levels. As Kurt mentioned, alot of professionals should be practicing these skills. But what was unique, was how they linked those skills into the strategic and tactical side of the sport and how we literally practiced them in drills and ultimately in a mock race situation (as our final exam.) The Mock race was planned out perfectly given that most camps or clinics have different levels of athletes. The race was designed for different levels and it worked, allowing each student to have an impact and see benefit.
The organization was great, the food was great, all my fellow classmates were engaged and asking questions from a staff that has more racing and coaching experience that I can count. The heat this past weekend was taken very serious by Bruce and he made sure that everyone was good to go, had plenty of water and ice and even had our afternoon meeting in the hotel pool!
I will go back, because you can never get enough of this stuff and I can already see the value in it, not just the rest of the year, but in analyzing past races. Just putting myself in that environment was useful and there isn't much of this available to us. I loved that we did two back to back complete days, as it was quite intensive. Each day was 10 hours and the time just flew by.
I just wanted to share this with the email list...I highly recommend you check it out, as the next session is the end of September. I can also see a huge benefit of getting a team to do this. After all, cycling is a team sport and very rarely do teams get an opportunity to do something this intensive.
Team Bicycle Trip