Posted by Editoress on 06/28/11
Held at Hardwood Bike and Ski on Sunday June 19th
A beautiful day greeted all the eager athletes for the 2011 edition of the OCA U15 camp. As the "shredders" started to show up, check in and say hi to their friends it was obvious that this was going to be an awesome day.
At 9:30 sharp, the young athletes were given an overview of the day and introduced to the amazing group of coaches and athletes assembled to help them bring their skills to the next level and have a blast at the same time. There were already big smiles seen all around, as the day's riding groups were announced. The theme of the day again this year, FUN, FAST,FRIENDS.
At 9:45 the entire group of athletes assembled for the traditional warm up ride across the training flats and up the hill and then down the popular BMX course. The athletes were laughing and chatting the whole time and watching this big group have so much fun right out of the gate was awesome!
The athletes and coaches assembled into their riding groups after the warm up and set out for the morning skills session on the trails. Some very hungry and happy athletes and coaches made their way back to the chalet at 11:30 to refuel and share some pretty amazing stories of their morning adventures.
Between bites of their sandwiches, and sometimes with a mouthful, we started to hear how many of the athletes had already conquered some of the most difficult pieces of trail Hardwood has to offer, pieces that usually show up in the elite race of the Canada Cup. WOW!!!
Next order of business, the world famous Lunch Olympics. The athletes tackled the arduous four event course with skill and determination. Ah, who are we trying to kid?? It was a crazy, fun event with the bike limbo and bunny hop high jump proving to be the favorites. Who knew that improving your skills could be so much fun. Team Speed took the win in a very close competition and an award was given for best team name - "Team Cole Slaw" took that with two Cole's and one Colton.
The afternoon skill session took off and the athletes were eager to try more new things and encourage each other on to more "hall of fame" accomplishments. We had 10 year old girls riding the infamous "Boneshaker" from the top, others conquering Skid Rock and Batty's Boulder, and ripping up Blue Chip like the pros. The coaches could only smile and shake their heads at the skills and fearless riding.
The gang gathered for one more time for the always popular freezie break, prior to getting ready for the last event of the day, the Big Race. Two groups were assembled to race the ominous Sprockids course. One group did the entire race in their granny gear. It was impossible to keep count of how fast the legs were spinning down the home stretch.
No times were recorded because every one was having too much fun talking to each other and laughing. We all met at the finish area to wrap up the day, say goodbye to our friends and give a special shout out to all the fathers. I don't think anyone wanted to leave!!
Awesome days like this do not happen by themselves. The first thank you goes to Brendan and Mike at the OCA for believing in the value of this camp and all the logistical support in making the day happen. A big thanks to Hardwood Ski and Bike for hosting the day. It's an awesome venue for riding and is one of the longest standing supporters of developing great athletes and citizens in Ontario.
Thanks again this year to Jeremy at Trek Store Barrie and Andrew at Velocity Cycle and Ski in Orillia for providing sponsorship to this event. Take some time to support local stores who support the development of cycling in Ontario.
The young athletes were fortunate to have the help of some great coaches. Chris Wong and Mark Winfield, both from Team Hardwood/Trek, helped the athletes accomplish some truly amazing things. A special shout out to coach Jenny Brown from Reactivated Racing who made the trip all the way from Niagara to help out. If you are from that part of the province and need an amazing coach, you should really get in touch with Jenny.
Last, but by no means least, I would like to recognize a very special group of athletes who volunteered to make this a special day for the kids. Some of the best U23 athletes in Ontario who compete at Canada and World Cup races made it a memorable day for the younger athletes. Thanks to Mitch Bailey, Haley Smith, Elliot Galbraith, Cayley Brooks, Brett Matthews and Peter Disera. It is great when the athletes approach us to help out and give back! Thanks again for taking time out of your busy training and racing season to help these young athletes "shred the gnar".
So, that's a wrap for 2011. Let's use this as a springboard for continued success in our riding and racing season. Team Ontario is going to look pretty awesome in a few years, looking at the way the young shredders were ripping it up here. Coach Mike G. is going to have his hands full, and better do some extra training if he is going to ride with this group in the future.
Stay tuned for this camp next year. We are going to try and make it the biggest event ever!! I hope everyone can share what the young athletes at this camp learned, riding is fun, racing is fun, FRIENDS ARE FOR LIFE!!
The OCA would like to thank Rob Fex for his work on this amazing camp. Rob proves that the culture of excellence is strong here in Ontario. Thanks also to Hardwood for hosting such a great camp.
Report by Rob Fex, courtesy OCA
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