I'm back from my third year at Adam Myerson's cyclocross camp. It seems like every year I learn more. There was never really a question about whether or not I was going this year, but I did wonder if I'd get as much out of it this year as I did last year. In short, yes I did. Possibly more. Early on the first day I decided I would count the number of times I learned something new or picked back up on something I'd forgotten or been doing wrong. Less than an hour into day one I was up to three game changing items and I decided that it would be pointless to keep counting.
Before I get into the camp itself, it's worth restating, as I've done on more than a few occasions in this blog, that people should be going to this camp. It blows my mind that people would spend money on expensive new bikes, tubular wheels, sealed cable systems, etc. without taking the time or money to go to Adam's camp first. Perhaps I should have posted this entry before Adam's camp, but I promise you that his camp will make you faster than any piece of equipment you could buy. The seconds per lap you will pick up with better technique and strategy will far outweigh any equipment benefits you could gain.
As an example, Bryan Blake and I both attended last years camp. I had my best season ever, won a race and got my Cat 2 upgrade. Bryan also had his best season ever, and lots of people noticed. In fact at one point I was talking to a mutual friend and he said "what the heck happened to Bryan Blake, I used to drop that guy all the time, now every time I turn around he's right behind me." It's worth mentioning that Bryan not only went to the camp, he also became a Cycle Smart client. Before anyone accuses me of being a paid spokesperson, I not only paid for the camp, but I also bought Ommegang as a gift for Adam. The least I could do is buy the guy a beer!
Back to the camp. Adam moved back to a two day format this year which was great. Two days really gives everyone time to dial everything in and then practice it again the next day. In fact Adam even managed to have the weather be sunny and dry on Saturday and wet and muddy on Sunday. The man has skills. The weather changes were dumb luck, but being able to practice the techniques in both conditions was invaluable.
As a bonus this year, Jeremy Powers was there for half of the day on Saturday and all day Sunday. Jeremy offered great advice, was pretty damn funny, and watching him bunny hop the barriers in person was really cool. He also brought some give aways from his sponsors. I missed out on the free Zipp 303's, but you'll need to see my sweet new Cannondale. I'm pretty sure he said I could keep it . . .
The camp started Friday night with a low key gathering at a local shop. There was a lot of informal discussion about bike fit among other things. It's always interesting to hear a pro's perspective, and Adam in particular has spent A LOT of time thinking about the subject and experimenting with his own bike fit.
Saturday the training really started and Adam, Jeremy and Al Donahue worked with us in groups. All three of them provide their own unique perspective which was really interesting. In addition to mounts, dismounts, barriers, carrying, etc. we also got to work on some bumping drills. If you and I are on the last lap, coming into the final turns side by side, trust me, you'll wish you had gone to camp! Saturday night we went back to the shop, ate some good food and drank some of Belgium's finest while Adam gave a presentation on training for 'cross.
Sunday brought rain, more practice, and lots of sliding in the mud. We worked on starts, held a little race and then regrouped for some Q&A. Unfortunately I needed to head to Long Island for an early meeting Monday, but at least Jeremy Powers gave me some Sport Beans before I left.
I could go into a lot more detail on the camp, but those are Adam's trade secrets and you should just go. One of the things that really sets Adam apart from some of the other pro's is his ability continuously refine his techniques and strategy. Adam has admitted that he doesn't necessarily have the power numbers as some of the other pro's, but he's found ways to hang in there by using his brain as much or more than his body. That doesn't mean that he isn't on his bike 20-30 hours a week, but I suspect that his ability to use his mind is what has kept him in the game.
Some of the best athletes in the world have no idea how they do what they do. Great race car drivers or ball players typically make lousy instructors or coaches because they have no clue how they win. A guy like Adam does, and that has made him a great teacher. Hopefully next season I'll remember to re-post this before Adam's camp, but I guess it's fine with me if you don't go. That definitely increases the likelihood of my kicking your A$$ on the 'cross course.
See you at the races . . .