Although velocb already did a great job over covering the Cycle Smart camp here http://velocb.blogspot.com/2009/08/notes-from-veldrijden-camp.html, I thought I’d approach the recap from a slightly different perspective.
As I mentioned in my previous post, Adam and Alec are a wealth of knowledge. At the risk of repeating myself from previous posts, time and money spent with them is far more beneficial than money spent on trick wheels, carbon bits or bling. Their knowledge is money in the bank.
Having attended last year’s camp, I more or less knew what I was in for. I attended last year’s camp with one goal in mind; learn how to remount without a stutter step. Obviously I learned a lot more, but at the end of the weekend I was only able to absorb so much information. Being relatively new to CX, or at least very uneducated, my head filled up quickly. Having said that, I was definitely able to take most of what I learned and practice and apply it. Short of almost losing a nut in the Albany last year, my remounts were even solid. Adam assured us that even Sven Nys catches his shorts on the seat now and again. (Brief aside, at the end of the Albany race I literally had to go into the bathroom after the race to make sure both of my boys were still where they’re supposed to be. Gotta love ‘cross.)
This year I went to the camp with a new set of goals. I wanted to improve my speed through the barriers, and I really wanted to learn how to drive my bike. Again, I still need to practice what I’ve learned, but done and done. I’ll spare you the details, mostly because if you want them you should either pay Adam yourself of buy me beer, but the tips he provided on handling were priceless. Although I’ll have new wheels and tubulars this year, I was railing muddy turns on a set of 4 year old Michelin Muds. People used to ask me how I liked the Mud’s. My standard response was “They’re great, but I never know when they’re going to let loose and sometimes I end up pedaling myself into the ground in a turn.” Turns out it wasn’t the tires that were unpredictable.
Not only did I get more out of this year’s clinic because I was ready for more, but amazingly, Adam literally knows more. Adam went to Belgium last year to mix it up in the motherland and came back with a few more gems. He also modified his handling style on the road bike this year trying to improve his descending skills. That change readily translated to ‘cross. Point is some people can get through races with raw power or better riding through chemistry. Most of us, Adam included need to actually be better at technique and use our minds to go faster. The fact that teams continue to seek out Adam as a professional rider is a testament to his talent. The fact that Adam continues to be a force on the road and ‘cross circuits is a testament to his talent. It would be very easy for Adam to sell out and take his business to the next level, but it’s clear that he still very much enjoys racing, learning and sharing his knowledge. Only two hours into our clinic I overheard a woman tell a friend that she had just attended another clinic a couple of weeks earlier. That person was also a professional, and arguably more successful as far as current ‘cross results are concerned, but she said that she’d already gained more in the first two hours of Adam’s clinic than she had at the other clinic all together. I don’t write that to slam the other clinic, it’s simply a matter of Adam taking the finer points of ‘cross to the next level and then translating that experience to people like you and me.
Bryan Blake was the only other local CX’er to make the trek to Mass this year, and I’m sure he echo’s my sentiments. If you’re serious about your ‘cross, plan ahead for next year. Not only will Adam continue to teach what he’s been teaching, but I’ll bet you a set of Fango’s that he’ll have something new as well.