I have never been SO tired and SO excited in my entire life! I attended the USAC Junior MTB Talent ID Camp at Garret College in McHenry, Marlyand and the week left me with smoked legs and the determination to improve my skills. I was very happy to have my girls from RedZone attend, as well as my nearby friend, Angelina Palermo.
To start off, the coaches were awesome! Head coach, Mark Orton of Speed Works Coaching, was so nice and easy to talk to. Camp director, Kristen Dieffenbach, was also super cool and funny. Pro rider, Ryan Fawley, was good at photo bombing our group pictures and he provided us with great tips to improve our skills. And, last but not least, Nick Fischer of Fischer Nutrition, fueled our bodies with the best food all week long and our taste buds were happy too! On Monday, we were given the layout for the week and I was so excited to finally experience a camp where everyone around me is there for the same reason : Their love of mountain biking.
The dorms were HOT. No air conditioning. No relief. No break from the sticky weather. Everyone had a rough time sleeping but my alarm went off at five thirty and we were expected to be down at six for an early morning workout and stretch session. I had dark bags under my eyes but this didn't decrease my excitement on my first day of camp. After that, we ate breakfast and made our way to the field for skills work. We were out there all morning until it was time for a delicious lunch. After lunch, we went on a mellow ride in the town of Accident (yes, that's right...) and got to know everyone a little better. Then it was dinner, afternoon discussions, and lights out at ten.
Wednesday followed the same schedule except we spent the whole day at Davis. We rode "The Moon Rocks" which was so cool and the girls got the chance to ride with Sue Haywood. Thursday's ride took place at Cooper's Rock which was one of my favorites. The last day was quite the butt kicker. At the end of Thursday I knew I was fatigued from the mix of very little sleep, hot weather, and riding twice a day. When I rolled out of bed on Friday morning, I knew I was up for a big challenge. We drove forty-five minutes to Big Bear and it was definitely my favorite course of the week. We were split into small groups and I was a little surprised to find myself with the top three fastest guys... But my stupid ego kept me from mentioning my dying legs and I was determined to show how hard I could push. The pace was fast but I always made up time on the technical stuff. I showed what I was worth when I caught up on the rockiest ups and downs. We were a little over half way done and my quads were burning like nothing I have ever felt before. My climbing became slower but my mind wasn't going to give up. We rode over twenty miles (after riding twenty to thirty on previous days) and my face was completely blank. I told one of the coaches that if I sat down to eat lunch that I couldn't guarantee I would get back up again! That last day of the most technical riding really tested my abilities. I surpassed the line I thought I couldn't pass when it came to mileage and four days of consistent riding. I came out of this camp knowing what I need to work on and how I need to improve. I took all of the coaches' constructive criticism to heart. I can't wait for next year!