A recent cyclo-cross camp in Winterpark, Colorado hosted 147 children between the ages of 8 and 17 for its annual free cyclo-cross training camp. The camp, put on by the American Cycling Association, and headed up by coach Scott Meares, was a three-day weekend of skills training held at the Snow Mountain Ranch. The camp, held annually, has become so popular that attendance was limited. The graduates of this program have gone on to great successes - Daniel Summerhill learned his skills from the ACA camp and took them to a silver medal at this year's World Championships in Belgium.
Meares called the camp a "boot camp" for cyclo-cross. "We start with the fundamentals. This is where it has to start. It doesn't matter how old or how good you are. With enough practice the skills become automatic, and that makes riders faster. After teaching basic mount/dismount techniques, the riders progress to barriers of varying distances and configurations. Later on, they hit the obstacle course, which combines obstacles to simulate race situations."
Finally, the riders are taught advanced skills such as power slides, bunny hopping and wheelies. "We teach them what it feels like to be in that situation - a powerslide - when they're going to lose traction and how to not freak out."
The weekend finished off with races where the riders could show off their new skills.