Twenty-one keen riders responded to the call for riders by Cycling BC's Provincial Head Coach Richard Wooles. Sixteen young downhillers came from Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Fort Langley, Whistler, Vancouver and Squamish to attend a camp for some assessment and discussion. Riders were divided into three groups rotating through stations set up to assess their power, endurance, balance, agility and mental preparation.
They ranged in age from those just starting out to those who had some national and international experiences under their belt. They were treated to a full star line up of coaches including Wooles, who has coached to Olympic level and came to British Columbia following several years with the UCI; Aleisha Cline, a legend in the world of skiing and a certified conditioning coach; and Shaums March, an inspiring downhill rider and current World Masters Champion.
Wooles told the riders of the inspiration he has found locally for his passion of team development. He said he has been blown away by the extraordinary wealth of raw talent. He hopes to build the best cycling team in Canada covering every discipline and is hard at work trying to fundraise to cover the costs for all the disciplines, including downhill.
"This kind of opportunity is what it's all about," said Wooles. "Everyone - professionals, parents, volunteers, businesses like this club - coming together for the good of the kids and the future of the sport. It is very encouraging."
The next step is a bike skills training camp and some selection races. One of the most important outcomes of the day, for both the young athletes and the coaches was the chance to meet and get to know one another. "Now, when we are at races, we will not just be faces under the helmets and times on a result sheet," said one rider. "I really appreciated this chance. Not just to meet these coaches and try all this stuff, but to be able to recognize some of the other riders at races and have them to talk to."