We attended the 2019 Women’s Montana Cross Camp and checked in from the Men’s camp, and earlier this month, the USA Cycling Talent ID camps took place in Southern California and Washington. Amanda Nauman was a guest coach as the SoCal camp hosted by Carmichael Training Systems, and she reports on the camp and this year’s attendees.

by Amanda Nauman

Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) hosted the USA Cycling CX Talent ID Camp August 1-3, 2019 in Santa Ynez, CA.  The camp was run out of Dunn School, near the offices of CTS-Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County.

CTS Coaches in attendance were David Sheek, Matt Freeman, Jason Siegle and Noah Voyles, with Kirk Nordgren and Maddison Russell adding staff support. Amanda Nauman and Brandon Baker of the SDG – Muscle Monster Team joined the camp as guests to help coach the riders and offer a wealth of knowledge to the Juniors.

The CTS coaching staff led 21 Juniors through a series of physiological tests and cyclocross-specific practices over the course of three days in Santa Ynez, CA. Earlier this summer, the new cyclocross manager for USA Cycling, Jesse Anthony, offered a supported racing opportunity for the top qualified Junior male and female athletes at each of the 3 2019 Talent ID Camps. USAC will provide staff support, race weekend logistical support and housing for all athletes who qualify for this trip from Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 to Monday, September 16th, 2019 at the Jingle Cross race weekend.

Riders at the Talent ID Camp get ready for a holeshot drill. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Kirk Nordgren

Riders at the Talent ID Camp get ready for a holeshot drill. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Kirk Nordgren

Prior to camp, Jesse sent the USAC qualification standards and scoring guidelines for the three graded tests. In addition to the physical tests, there are five areas of subjective scoring on a scale of 0 to 5 for the following categories: timeliness, sportsmanship, organization, teachability and character.

After check-in and a lesson on the first evening, the following 3 days were filled with activities from 6 a.m. to lights-out at 10 p.m. Sessions focused on skill development, footwork training, racing test events and building fitness. Presentations kept the athletes on the leading edge of training, goal-writing, proper nutrition and hydration, as well as race day preparations and strategy. Coaches will deliver a report card for each rider a few weeks following wrap-up and also send the data to USA Cycling.

Riders got the chance to show off their hopping skills. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Kirk Nordgren

Riders got the chance to show off their hopping skills. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Kirk Nordgren

Thursday and Friday mornings were kicked off with run conditioning and footwork drills. Both riding sessions on Thursday included test events with sprint practice, bike handling, mounting/dismounting, cornering and other drills implemented along the way.

Friday morning introduced riders to a three-minute section of the course for testing followed by a ride to the Hans Christian Andersen Park where three stations were set up for sessioning race features. The history of the park and cyclocross dates back to 2005, with the venue hosting a Southern California Cross Cup cyclocross bicycle racing series race. Friday afternoon included cornering drills and timing the famous “twisty tree section” of the course on the Dunn School campus for the next day’s event.

Young riders work on a cornering drill. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Kirk Nordgren

Young riders work on a cornering drill. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Kirk Nordgren

Saturday morning served as the final test event for the athletes where they were able to put together all the lessons they learned during the previous days’ presentations, tests and drills. It was interesting to see each athlete chose their own plans for the morning of the race and execute the schedules they created.

Everyone rose to the occasion and accomplished individual challenges throughout camp, so it was inspiring to see each rider perform to the best of their ability on the final day.

The Southern California Cyclocross Talent ID camp is scheduled to return in August 2020. Follow Carmichael Training Systems’ website for information about the 2020 camp.

This Year’s Athletes

Aubrey Drummond and Alexa “Lexi” Stierwalt were our returning female athletes from last year.

With the introduction of the Women Junior 17-18 category at the 2020 UCI World Championships in Switzerland, Drummond has her sights set on Europe for one of the USAC Development Camps this year. In addition, Drummond won the USAC-supported Jingle Cross trip in September and will be looking to bring her best in Iowa.

Lexi Stierwalt wowed everyone by winning the sprint test and showing off newfound coordination from the previous year. She will be racing age 17 for the 2022 UCI World Championships as her sights are set on the horizon.

Eleanor “Ellie” Dyas also has her sights set on the 2020 UCI World Championships and is setting up her season to be in contention for the American team along with Drummond. Both young ladies were extremely close all week in the qualification events; 1 second separated them in the field test effort and 2 seconds separated them in the 3-minute test. It was thrilling to see the competition bring out the best in each of them.

Olivia Lawson is going to take these new lessons from summer and apply them towards her goal of placing well at Nationals in December while she’s at the top of the Junior 15-16 category.

Amelia Orton of Colorado and Samantha Scott from Idaho are both racing age 15 in the upcoming season and ready to tackle a new category. Both will be traveling to races to better their ranking and will be applying new skills towards Nationals in December. Both young ladies took away the awareness that they’re strong, and honing specific skills will make them even better in the upcoming season.

Shantelle Tupaz was our youngest female athlete and the only one from Northern California. We learned that Tupaz is an excellent swimmer off the bike and it reflects in her fitness. With more experience this season she will also be one to watch at Nationals in December while she’s at the top of the Junior 13-14 category.

Campers pose for a group photo. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Amanda Nauman

Campers pose for a group photo. 2019 SoCal USAC Talent ID Camp. © Amanda Nauman

The men’s roster filled 14 deep with 6 returning alumni.

Lucas Stierwalt, Dan English, Sean Strachan, Noah Rand and Tayton Parker are reviewed in the following section as returning athletes from 2018. All are looking to continue their move on up and have fun supporting each other while doing it.

William Stanford of Colorado and Asher Tilghman of Maryland came to camp wanting to contend in the test events and learn as much as possible because they’re at the top of the Junior 15-16 category. Both have big goals as they age up into 17-18 and learned a lot about what it takes to be competitive in that field in the coming years. It was great to see them be aggressive in the test events and work through the drills effortlessly.

Nicholas Petrov came from Texas and was ready to throw down for the Iowa competition. He ultimately finished third in the qualifications and impressed the coaches with his calm racing strategy. He enters the 17-18 category following in the footsteps of his friend Lucas and it was great to see them motivating each other during camp.

Zeke van Rooyen is a returning athlete from 2017 and looks forward to his first year in the Junior 17-18 category. It’s been incredible to see his progress in the local SoCal Cross Prestige Series (SCPS) and we can’t wait to see where he goes from here.

Diego Perez also frequents SCPS and has an incredible winning streak in the Junior 15-18 field that he’s going to build on. He schooled everyone with the step-through technique and exuded a calm, cool attitude that everyone admired.

Cameron Dominguez, Brockton Smith, Dash Swinfard, and Jonas Woodruff joined us from the Inland Empire of Southern California and learned a lot about the world of cyclocross outside of SCPS. Smith, Woodruff and Swinfard took a whole new set of cyclocross skills back home with them and will light up the local scene.

It was Smith’s first week on his cyclocross bike and he mastered difficult drills that take some adults years to perfect.

Swinfard grew his appreciation for the discipline, following in the footsteps of his dad, and made huge strides with a seventh-place finish in one of the races on the final day.

Woodruff left camp as the cornering master, riding the twisty tree sections with ease.

Dominguez came into camp as an unknown in the Iowa competition because of his focus on mountain biking. As soon as he finished second to Stierwalt in the field test effort, he realized he could vie for the win and eventually took the top step in all three of the following test events. At racing age 17, Dominguez will take on his first big travel trip to Iowa with USA Cycling in September and we’re excited to see him combine his new skillset and strength at the races.

Last Year’s Athletes

Drummond went in swinging last season with some great early results which led her to sign up for her first UCI Elite races in November. Racing age 17, she finished in 8th place at Cyclocross Nationals in Louisville in the Junior 17-18 race.

Lexi Stierwalt had a strong season of racing and capped it all off with an impressive podium finish in fifth place in Junior 13-14 in Louisville.

Lucas Stierwalt faced his first year in the UCI Junior 17-18 category with so much enthusiasm that he ultimately gained a spot on the 2019 UCI World Championship Team for the Junior Men 17-18 category. The Stierwalts are also looking to continue their podium streak in the Mixed Team Relay at Cyclocross Nationals.

Dan English and Sean Strachan went back to Northern California and applied their new skills to their local race series. Strachan was on the podium in every Men’s B race he entered and even took a couple of top 10 finishes in the Open Pro fields in December before heading to Louisville to face the muddy conditions.

English also raced well in the Men’s B fields and surprised us all with a 6th-place finish in Junior 13-14 in Louisville. Noah Rand took his newfound love for scheduling his race weekends back to Colorado and had a huge improvement in his local results from the previous year. He took “most-improved” at camp last year into his season with sixth place in Junior 15-16 at Colorado State Championships and a strong showing in Louisville.

Tayton Parker won most of the Men’s 3/4 fields he entered and continued to place well in the local Men 1/2/3 races later in the season, finishing off with a good effort in Louisville as well.

We’re proud of our 100% retention rate from 2018 to 2019 and it’s been a pleasure to see these Juniors grow into young adults on and off the race course. As some of these Juniors age out of contention to participate in the Talent ID Camps, we wish them the best in their future endeavors.