February 19, 2008 – 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. Hosted at Club Flex, a large gym in Squamish, the riders were divided into three groups rotating through stations set up to assess their power, endurance, balance, agility and mental preparation.
This was an interesting chance for several of the riders who, although they work out regularly, had not had an opportunity to gain feedback on their progress. In addition to this, some of the challenges proved surprising and fun.
All riders were welcome and 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: Richard Wooles, who has coached to Olympic level and came to BC following several years with the UCI brought his years of expertise and egged on the athletes to higher rpms! Aleisha Cline, a legend in the world of skiing and a certified conditioning coach oversaw much of the programming and focussed on nutrition, balance and agility while Shaums March, an awe-inspiring downhill rider and current World Masters Champion, discussed mental preparation and provoked some serious thought about how to approach races. Dave Hord, Manager at Mad March Racing, with the able assistance of a couple of parents, kept the day flowing, everyone moving and on their toes.
Richard Wooles told the riders of the inspiration he has found right here in BCfor his passion of team development. 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. He is hard at work trying to fund raise to cover the costs for all these 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 … now if I can just get that funding in place … we’ll be set!”
The next step will be a bike skills training camp and some selection races. One of the most important outcomes of the day, however, for both the young athletes and the coaches was the chance to meet and get to know one another a bit. “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.”