Regional Talent ID Camp in Minneapolis
USA Cycling is hosting a Regional Talent ID Camp in Minneapolis, June 23-28, 2014. The mission of the camps is two-fold: to provide USA Cycling with evaluations of juniors’ talent and give juniors a pathway to develop their cycling ability. The camps are open to athletes racing age 14-21 and not limited to athletes living in the region.
The Midwest Talent ID Camp will take place at The Fix Studio and the University of Minnesota. The Fix Studio is a performance training center designed to provide cyclists with professional-level tools and coaching, including power-based testing and training, motorpacing, and data file analysis via Training Peaks WKO Software. Campers will take advantage of these tools and power meters; athletes who do not own power meters will be able to borrow one thanks to the generous support of PowerTap and Stages Power.
Athletes will be housed in dormitories and take advantage of the meal plan at the University of Minnesota. The U of M is located less than three miles from The Fix Studio, and dedicated bike routes connect the two.
Camp Director Larry Foss is a USA Cycling Level 1 certified coach, who worked as a soigneur for the US Cycling Team at international events including the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, as well as for professional teams, including Jelly Belly, Prime Alliance, Kodak Sierra Nevada, and Kelly Benefit Strategies. Because of his background, Larry is able to give camp participants a glimpse into what professional racing is really like. Foss says, “It’s our goal to support the racers at this camp just like it is a professional training camp. Of course, there will be less total volume, but we will teach riders how to train, race, and recover like professionals.”
Larry will be assisted in coaching by three USA Cycling certified coaches, including his wife Sophie St. Jacques. Sophie is a former professional rider who, after retiring from racing, utilized her degree in Athletic Therapy to support teams in international and professional competitions, including the Olympics. A USA Cycling licensed mechanic will be on hand to address any mechanicals that take place at the camp. Additionally, current U23 rider and former junior national champion Jordan Cullen (Hagens Berman U-23 Development Team) will be joining athletes for some of the camp rides.
The chief purpose of the USA Cycling regional camps is talent identification. All participants will complete power testing using a protocol designed by USA Cycling and replicated at each of the regional camps. USA Cycling will use this information, as well as evaluations of the athletes by camp director and staff, to select athletes for the fall 2014 National Talent ID Camp. Last year the vast majority (80%) of the national camp participants were selected based on their performance at regional camps, showing that USA Cycling has great faith in the information it receives from training camp. Relatively few will receive an invite to the national camp based only on racing results.
The regional talent ID camps are just the first step on the USA Cycling development pathway, which includes national development camps, junior international racing camps, and European residence programs. Recognizing that cycling is traditionally a Eurocentric sport, the program has a base in the Netherlands where selected athletes can stay, train, and race in the aggressive and demanding races that are commonplace in Europe. While an invitation to race in Europe is only available to a select few, it’s important to recognize that USA Cycling views the regional camp as an important first step on the pathway.
While talent identification is a significant part of camp, increasing athlete fitness and skills is the greater goal. Athletes can expect to learn lots and make significant performance gains, whether they are preparing for the remainder of their local road season or nationals. In fact, the camp dates were carefully planned to support riders in the lead up to nationals. Since USA Cycling Amateur and Para-Cycling Road National Championships (includes championships for all age groups: age 9 to under 23), are July 2–6 in Madison, WI, regional camp makes a good final training block prior to the championships.
Unique to the Minneapolis camp is that Function Movement Screening (FMS) will be provided for all athletes. The screening is a short movement test that identifies functional limitations and asymmetries. Based on the results of the test, coaches will provide each athlete with a set of corrective exercises built specifically to address the athlete’s limitations. The idea is to correct problems before they become injuries and address any movements leading to inefficiencies on the bike.
Besides structured training and testing, some on the bike time will be devoted to higher-level skills training and teaching racing tactics. As part of its mission, the camp teaches juniors skills that are not often addressed in U.S. junior cycling. This includes stage race skills, such as receiving hand-ups of water bottles and musette bags from the side of the road, as well as feeding from a car, and using the caravan to get back to the peloton.
Evenings promise further learning off the bike with seminars. Highlights include a visit from Park Tool’s Calvin Jones (who wrote the renowned Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair), a session on recovery modalities, including the opportunity to utilize Podiumlegs, and an information session with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency – USADA.
Part of the regional camp mission is to provide young athletes with exposure to top USA Cycling athletes. Two such athletes, Mike Creed and Jade Wilcoxson, will be joining the athletes one of the evenings for a Skype session including Q and A. Creed is a former pro tour rider and multi-time national champion whose history includes racing for U.S. Postal, Discovery Channel, Rock Racing, and Optum Pro Cycling, among others. Wilcoxson (Optum Pro Cycling) is the reigning USA Cycling road national champion and also represented the US at cyclocross and road World Championships in 2013.
Athletes who are interested in the Midwest Regional Camp can find further qualifying information here: http://www.USA Cyclingycling.org/regional-talent-id-camps.htm. Note that athletes who do not meet the automatic qualification standards may petition the camp manager for admittance. Financial aid for the camp may be available from the USA Cycling Development Foundation’s Edmund R. Burke Travel and Training grant. Grant recipients are selected based on demonstrated cycling potential and financial need. Additionally, the Minnesota Cycling Foundation (MCF) has provided four total scholarships (two for young men and two for young women women) for MCF athletes. For further information on the MCF-provided scholarship, contact Board President Chris Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org.