At age 14, John Paul Amalong of Constellation Cycling was one of the youngest attendees at the 2017 Montana Cross Camp. However, the Chapel Hill, North Carolina resident was not awestruck by the experience and made the most of his time in Helena competing against some of the top young talent in the nation.

Despite being one of the young guys, Amalong caught Proctor’s watchful eye during the on-the-bike drills. Here, he got a shout-out from Proctor during one of the start drills.

And got some help from the head coach during the bike exchange drill.

Geoff Proctor has campers ready for anything, including the rare-but-useful shoulder bike exchange. 2017 Montana Cross Camp © Cyclocross Magazine

Geoff Proctor has campers ready for anything, including the rare-but-useful shoulder bike exchange. 2017 Montana Cross Camp © Cyclocross Magazine

Cyclocross Magazine sat down with Amalong to talk about his experience at his first Montana Cross Camp.

Interview with John Paul Amalong at Montana Cross Camp

Cyclocross Magazine: I understand you’re one of the youngest guys here?

John Paul Abalong: Yes.

CXM: How old are you?

JPA: I am 14.

CXM: Was it intimidating or surreal to be next to some of the top U23 talent in the country?

JPA: A little bit of both. It was definitely very exciting.

CXM: What motivated you to come to the camp?

JPA: Last year I watched the highlight video of this camp and it was just, wow, I really want to do that. It’s been one of my goals.

CXM: Did it live up to your expectations?

JPA: Absolutely.

CXM: What was the biggest takeaway?

JPA: Cyclocross requires a lot of things. It requires more than just being able to ride fast for 20 minutes or half an hour. I learned that there are so many skills that you have to build for cyclocross.

CXM: Will you incorporate any of them into your regular training?

JPA: Definitely.

CXM: Which ones?

JPA: Running up stairs. I’m going to find a big hill to sprint up. Then also some of the other off-the-bike exercises.

CXM: Did you do any running last season when you were doing ’cross training?

JPA: Not really. I had done very little. And I hadn’t run before this camp this year either.

John Paul Amalong. 2017 Montana Cross Camp © Cyclocross Magazine

John Paul Amalong is from North Carolina, but felt at home on the steep gravel climbs in Montana. 2017 Montana Cross Camp © Cyclocross Magazine

CXM: You’re from North Carolina?

JPA: Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

CXM: At your local races do you do a lot of running in them?

JPA: Not really, no. In fact, our most local course there is no running besides the barriers.

CXM: But then you go to something like maybe Hartford or a muddy Asheville and it’s kind of a shock to your system?

JPA: Absolutely, yeah.

CXM: How would you describe Geoff Proctor?

JPA: He’s excited. He seems happy to be here, but he’s also focused and keeps you on track. He’s pretty much the optimal coach.

CXM: Would you hope to come back to camp?

JPA: Absolutely.

CXM: Besides cyclocross what else do you do?

JPA: I do the occasional crit. I train on the road. I did do some mountain bike races.

CXM: Is that big in North Carolina?

JPA: This is the first year, but it’s getting much larger. There were over 300 participants signed up this year.

CXM: What’s your biggest goal for the season?

JPA: Top five at Reno.

CXM: Well good luck and thanks for your time.

JPA: Thank you.

View more photos from Montana Cross Camp and Cyclocross Nationals and see all our coverage from the 2017 Montana Cross Camp