Barrier practice for the junior racers. Tom Robertson

Barrier practice for the Junior racers. © Tom Robertson

Enjoy Geoff Proctor’s sneak peak into the USAC’s Cyclocross Development Camp for junior racers. Special thanks to Tom Robertson, who provided us with some great photos of the camp, showing off what these young juniors learned while they were there. Just seeing the bleacher running photo is tiring!

by Geoff Proctor

When we were all done with the camp, one rider said he appreciated that the week had been a real training camp. I appreciated that comment. The riders worked hard. The plan is for them to now go home, do some active rest (if they don’t have any big August targets), and begin to build up for the cyclocross season.

We started each day with early morning strength conditioning: running bleachers, doing plyometric stations with power skips, lateral hops, ab work. Late morning entailed specific cyclocross training on a cyclocross circuit and, in the afternoon, we did some big training rides in the mountains.

One of the operatives of the camp was to focus on reawakening the ignition system. Coming off of big road and mountain bike programs, riders seem to need work with this particular system. So, I emphasized explosive power in all of our skills and drills. Those first 10 pedal strokes, those first 5 steps on a run-up and so forth.

Evening sessions included some lecture and discussion on the big topics–planning, preparation, living seriously for one’s sport, and I always dedicated some quality time to watching video and breaking down pro skill and technique.

It never ceases to amaze me how multi-dimensional cyclocross racing is. We could easily expand the camp and add more days. There’s so much to cover. For example, on the fourth day, we worked on bike changes and the nuances of coming into the pit during a race. Often, at Christmas during EuroCrossCamp, I have some juniors who’ve never done a bike change in a race. So, at this summer camp, we went through the protocol. The rules, the reasons, the nuances for changing bikes in a race. Sessions like that are very productive for young riders. In some of their climates, they may never need a change. But, if they plan to race in Europe, they need to be prepared to change often.

I’m very pleased with this first USAC Cyclocross Development Camp. I got the opportunity to spend quality time in a relaxed environment with sixteen of our best up-and-coming 15-17 year olds. They impressed me. These are some strong kids who truly love the discipline of cyclocross. I hope we can do it again next summer and even add a few more days to the camp.