BEST 5 DAYS OF MY LIFE! Thats all I have to say…………………. Naw, just kidding :) So I will start from the very beginning. I warn you, it’s a very long story.
I got an invitation to the camp at the end of August saying that because of my OUTSTANDING :) performances, I had been invited to the Olympic Training Center for a National Talent Identification Camp. The excitement didn’t really hit me at first cause I wasn’t sure if it was true. I’ve been dreaming about being invited to this camp since I was….13? Then when I realized its importance I flipped out and called my best friend, Addyson Albershardt (a.k.a SON), who lives in North Carolina and she told me that she had got invited too! We counted down the days until we got to see each other and our fellow junior friends. I’m pretty sure I packed and repacked my bag 5 times so that it wouldn’t be over 50lbs..haha.
Thursday morning I woke up at 4:30 am because my flight left LAX at 7:18 am. I felt kind of bad because it was my dads birthday and he had to drive me to the airport, plus I hadn’t gotten anything for him for his birthday (I know I’m a terrible daughter), but he said me being given this opportunity was the best birthday present he could have :). So I got all checked in, had to pay $125 for my bike and bag, went through security, waited for about half an hour, boarded my plane, and then I was off! Flying to my long awaited destination. I was the first to arrive (for the shuttle I was taking) and waited about 30 minutes for SON to show up. She was so funny, she thought it would be cold and dressed up like she was going to the snow…hahah. We talked the whole way to the training center, just catching up. (She didn’t know this but when she got off the bus she forgot her helmet bag, which had her helmet, money, jacket, and hat in it). First things first, we got our key cards that would allow us access to everything we needed access to, explored the cafeteria which had DELICIOUS food, put all our stuff in our rooms (Addy and I didn’t get to room together :( but I got to room with my new Team TIBCO teammate, Somersby!), and then we went to build our bikes! I brought my road and track bike because there was a day that the girls would be doing some pursuit work on the track. Then we had a meeting in the aquatics center with Mr. Benjamin Sharp who welcomed us and then told us to hurry and get our bike stuff on cause we were going for a ride! Everyone got ready and met down in the parking lot where the USA Cycling trailer was except that Addy couldn’t find her helmet! :o At the time, we figured someone had stolen it because there was money in it and one of the coaches, Renee Eastman went to a friends house and borrowed one. We road Cheyenne Mountain Highway which would be the site of our field testing the next day. Then it was dinner time and after that a 3 hour discussion on time trial efforts and information on USADA. Everyone was toast after that and went to bed, setting our alarms for a wake up call at 6:30 am.
Friday morning I was exhausted but excited. We went to breakfast, dressed warmly for our ride and headed off to the time trial. The first one was 1k and a 1/2…I think? I went out maybe a little too fast and didn’t blow up at the end, but I definitely didn’t speed up. The second one was about 3 miles, all the way to the top. You want to know my favorite part of that one? The steep switch backs at the top, I know I’m a weirdo. After that I was seriously fried, I almost fell asleep during lunch. We had a 2 hour discussion on collegiate cycling and nutrition and then 2 hours of Mike Heitz’s Mad Skillz! I was so excited because the drill where you have to pick half tennis balls up off the ground, well I actually DID! TWICE!! haha.. After skillz practice we went to the bike wash where the mechanic, James Stanfill, showed us how to properly clean our bikes, dinner was after that, and then 2 1/2 hours of discussion on how to be professional, how to ride in pacelines and echelons, and how to work your way up the ladder in terms of the national team. Quiet time started at 10 pm.
Saturday started out the same but instead of time trials we worked on our paceline and echelon skills for about 3 1/2 hours. I’m pretty sure I had a grilled cheese sandwich and sweet potato fries for lunch that day. Instead of doing more skillz with Mike, all 6 girls went to the 7-11 Veledrome to work on our pursuiting. SON and GRAND SLAM (Addy and Jacqueline) had never ridden the track before but totally KILLED IT after a couple laps. Then we did a few drills to get used to what a pursuit feels like. I have to say, SON and I are awesome pursuit partners. We’re totally excited about the team pursuit at junior worlds next year! Now all we have to do is practice. Dinner was after that and then we had a couple hours of down time, which was much needed at that point. Another 2 1/2 hours of dicussion on caravan feeding and race tactics and then it was lights off.
Sunday we woke up at 7 am, ate breakfast, and had a 2 hour meeting. It was VERY relaxing, let me tell you. We worked on some more skillz, this time it was to prepare us for feed zones. Then we had lunch and a 3 hour endurance ride. We were supposed to practice leadouts and sprinting but it was SO windy, too many people were getting blown around. Especially me because I was one of the lightest people there. After dinner every rider had an individual meeting with 2 of the 6 coaches at the camp. I was scheduled to meet with Renee Eastman and John Heidemann. They were really awesome people and I’m so glad to have met/worked with them! All they had was good news for me :). They told me I won both of the uphill time trials and that if I just kept doing what I was doing that I would go far! :D I was so excited and happy and kept thanking them. They told me they appreciated my good manners :). I got a couple more hours of down time until bed so I packed up my stuff and hung out with my friends cause it was the second to last day and I would miss them all TOO MUCH! :(
Monday was probably the craziest morning. I got up at 6:30 am because I thought that would be enough time to get everything prepared for my departure. I had 1 hour to pack up the last of my things, eat breakfast, get my 49lb bag to the baggage room, get ready for my ride, and meet at the trailer. WOOH! That was a close one..hahah. But jeez was that ride GORGEOUS! We rode through the Garden of the Gods, it ended up being about a 2 hour ride. By this time I was really bumming cause I didn’t want to go home :(. Too many fun things had happened and I wanted them to keep happening! I’m pretty sure everyone else who went to the camp can agree with me. So we got back and I packed up my bikes, took a shower, ate lunch, and said bye to my best friend :(…… I don’t know when I’ll see her again. My shuttle didn’t leave until 5 o’clock so I had 5 hours to burn. I was so tired though, I just hung around in the lobby and took a nap on the couches.. heheh. By the time my shuttle came there were only 5 people left; me and 4 boys. We had some interesting conversations that I don’t feel like repeating but they were entertaining, thats all you need to know ;). hahha. They were the people I spent the last couple hours with and the last people I saw before leaving one of my favorite places in the whole world :(. OH! And one of Addy’s friends found her helmet bag on the shuttle while he was headed to the airport.. HAHAH. She felt smart ;). I miss camp already and I hope that I go back again next year or at least see all those people one more time before we all become SUPAH STAHS! :D
P.S. This took me forever! But I hope you can tell that I had fun :) Also, SON and I gave everyone nicknames. My nickname turned out to be Ricky Bobby because I have two first names just like him..hehe