USA Cycling sponsors two Talent ID camps where Junior cyclocrossers can learn training techniques and skills while getting the chance to get noticed at the national level. One of the 2018 camps was held earlier this year in Santa Ynez, California. Amanda Nauman, who was one of the guest coaches at the camp, reports back from camp and introduces readers to this year’s attendees.
by Amanda Nauman
Carmichael Training Systems hosted the USA Cycling CX Talent ID Camp August 8-11, 2018 in Santa Ynez, CA. The camp was run out of Dunn School, near the offices of CTS-Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County.
USAC’s Talent ID camps are structured to expose young riders to top-level coaching and give them the chance to demonstrate their skills to the USAC development program.
The four-day Santa Ynez camp focused on cyclocross-specific skill development, testing physiological capacity and potential and building fitness. The schedule included everything from group discussions and presentations on training, nutrition, race day preparations and strategy. Coaches led the group through a review of training data and skills analysis at the end which is also translated to a report card for each rider at the end of the week that is shared with the riders and USA Cycling.
Elite riders Amanda Nauman and Drew Dillman 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 athletes. As a rider who went through the Junior ranks of USA Cycling and joined many European trips, Dillman was an invaluable resource to the Juniors looking to Europe in the future.
The camp kept the young athletes busy starting early in the morning. Two morning runs with footwork drills kicked off busy schedules each day. Thursday morning revolved around a field test effort for data collection followed by an endurance ride with skills focus and start practice. Bike handling, mounting/dismounting, cornering and other drills were implemented that afternoon and we noted areas for improvement that the athletes could focus on in the following days’ activities.
Friday morning started with another power test to collect data followed by more skills practice.
Back in 2005, the Southern California Cross Cup cyclocross bicycle racing series hosted a race in Solvang at the Hans Christian Andersen Park. The park’s numerous cyclocross features served as a base for Friday morning’s skills work and it was great to utilize a real race location. That afternoon everyone worked on more cornering drills and timed sections of the course on the Dunn School campus for the next day’s event.
Saturday morning served as a culmination of all the previous days’ lessons and work. All elements of race morning prep, course recon and warm-up were tested based on what the camp attendees learned throughout the week. It was fun to see the all the pieces of the puzzle come together for the race day simulation.
The data and information going back to USAC on the athletes will be a great resource in the future when World Championship team selections are made. The athletes added a good overload to their training for the season and learned valuable lessons in the classroom as well. It was a great camp and we look forward to building upon this in the future and seeing how the camp aided in the development of the attending athletes this season.
Talent ID Camp Athletes
Aubrey Drummond will be heading into her first season as a Junior 17-18 and 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 when she reaches racing age 18 for that inaugural year.
Alexa “Lexi” Stierwalt will be heading into the top of her age group at 14 years old this season and is gunning for great results and improving on her 9th place at USA Cycling Women Junior 13-14 National Championships in Reno. She will be racing age 17 for the 2022 UCI World Championships as we look to future goals.
Lucas Stierwalt will be facing his first year in the UCI Junior 17-18 category and refined a lot of his skills at this camp following his attendance at the Montana Cross Camp earlier this summer. The Stierwalts are also looking to higher podium steps in the Mixed Team Relay at Cyclocross Nationals after medaling in 5th place in Reno.
Dan English and Sean Strachan joined us at camp from Northern California and their bike handling skills wowed us all. They have goals of improving in their local series as well as traveling to bigger USAC-sanctioned events to better their ranking for National Championship starting positions in Louisville, KY.
Noah Rand joined us from Colorado and entertained us all with his enthusiasm for the sport since he’s only a year into racing. Most-improved would be an understatement for Rand this camp and we know he’ll be at the top of his local series and challenging the podium at the bigger events.
Tayton Parker moves into the upper end of the Men Junior 15-16 category this year and with his added confidence from camp, we’re looking at him to make big moves in the field this season. All the athletes showed improvements and increased confidence which makes us all excited to see how they grow this season.
Last Year’s Athletes
While we have our sights set on the future of this year’s athletes, we want to also point out the results from our alumni of the inaugural year of the development camp run out of Santa Ynez, CA.
Magnus Sheffield went on to win the 2018 USA Cycling Men Junior 15-16 National Championships in Reno.
Wren Powers and Kyle Johnson finished 6th and 14th respectively in their first Nationals in the 15-16 category and have another year to improve when they race as 16-year-olds in Louisville, KY. Teammates from Fresno, California,
Grant Heuring and McKay Kinsey went on to have great seasons in their local series. Heuring won the Men Junior 15-16 overall category while Kinsey finished third in the Men’s B field overall in the 2017-18 CCCX Cyclocross Series.
Zeke van Rooyen was our most improved athlete from last year’s camp and that gave him the confidence to eventually win the entire Junior 15-18 overall category in the 2017-18 Southern California Prestige Series of Cyclocross. We couldn’t be more thrilled to see the growth of this camp paying dividends for the juniors as they progress through the ranks.
For a quick look at the camp, see the Panda’s POV videos below.