Juniors gathered last week at Sonoma State University for USA Cycling's annual West Coast Junior Development camp. Twenty-two riders were invited to attend after demonstrating talent and commitment to the sport of cycling over the last twelve months. Claire House of Occidental, CA directed the camp with assistance from head coach Michael Engleman and assistant coach Robert Fuller.
The riders were challenged daily with field tests, time trials, racing and endurance rides. An overall placement similar to a stage race format was implemented to rank the riders. This scoring was designed to assess ability and experience which would then help determine selection to the endurance camp at the Olympic Training Center in July and/or placement with the national junior team at Canada's premier junior stage race, the Tour de l'Abitibi.
To supplement the time spent on the bike the campers attended lectures on various race related topics. The guest speakers included USCF official Tom Simonson, track coach Farid Abraham, sports psychologist Carrie Cheadle and veteran mechanic Ian Sherburne who provided first hand information regarding pro rider etiquette while buttressing the overall activity of the camp.
The riders, who come from Alaska, Nevada, Texas, California, Washington and Oregon, demonstrated a wealth of ability and maturity impressing the local pros from the Victory Brewing, Colavita-Cooking Light, and Maguire teams who all volunteered their time to ride with the campers. "What a great group of riders all of whom seem amazingly accomplished for being so young," said Colavita-Cooking Light's Sarah Tillotson. "It will be fun to see how far these guys go in the sport."