“Houshang has been a vital element in what has allowed me to experience steady progression each year of my career.”
- Svein Tuft
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PacificSport NCC Helps with Sprockids Training

March 31, 2005

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Led by the non-profit Sprockids Program Development Society, the local Squamish Mountain Bike Community hosted this popular annual youth camp. The camp was filled to maximum capacity with 50 teens aged 14 to 18, who had traveled from schools all over the Province.

A special offering of the CCA Sprockids Leadership Training took place in conjunction with the camp. Sprockids program founder Doug Detwiller taught 19 participants in the Sprockids Certification Leaders Camp.

Popular Freerider Wade Simmons was amongst the group taking the course, as a keen supporter of getting kids on to bikes. Coach Doug was a good sport in "teaching" Simmons (also an accomplished DH racer and BMX rider) his instructing skills for kids.

All 50 of the invited teenage Mountain Bike riders showed up ready to rock on Friday night. The majority of the campers had been invited after placing within the top 5 in their category at the BC High School Championships. A few additional riders come along by request and recommendation by coaches and teachers.

Following a welcome BBQ, they headed to Corsa Cycles for a brief "how to" on bike maintenance and race preparation. After the basics and a few practices, a tire changing relay showed who was actually paying attention.

Saturday morning the campers were greeted by National Team Pros and Olympians, Alison Sydor, Lesley Tomlinson, Chrissy Redden and Kiara Bisaro for the first ride. Joining them, were Matt Green, Freddie Bussieres and Kevin Calhoun from the Rocky Mountain Business Objects team, and some great local leaders from the Corsa and Tantalus bike shops.

Home of the Test of Metal Epic Race, the Squamish trails are flowing, well maintained and technical. The ride covered the first half of the Test of Metal course, which combines road and off-road climbing, and a tough hike-a-bike into some great rolling singletrack.

It was the unanimous opinion the Pro riders that there was abundant talent in this group of High School riders. After a quick lunch at Howe Sound Secondary, the riders spent an afternoon packed with athlete development activities.

New this year, were a number of guest experts to host off-bike segments of the camp. Three Groups were put through their paces in a Core Strength and Conditioning session taught by Anthony Findlay of Level 10, who works with a variety of professional sports teams. Small ball release massage techniques were practiced to feel the value of keeping flexibility and movement at a maximum for performance. There was wattage and power testing with Houshang Amiri, head coach from the PacificSport Victoria National Cycling Center, and Gary Jackson, MTB Development Coordinator from Cycling BC.

Houshang demonstrated the concepts of the SRM testing bike and software, and explained the value of this information in athlete development, feedback and growth. Gary Jackson taught about training zones and macro/micro cycles of training.

The evening kicked off with a session on Mental Fitness taught by Karen MacNeill, sport scientist and ex National Team hockey player. Karen's concepts were fresh and interesting. Even Alison Sydor commented that she had some great new ideas. Special guest Roland Green made the trip across from Victoria, to join the rest of the Olympians for a question and answer session, trivia games and video. Tired campers and coaches headed home at 10 pm.

In true "Wet Coast" style, the rain pummeled down throughout the night and caused a massive slide on the Sea to Sky highway access, preventing a number of the Pros from returning for Sunday's ride. Local Search and Rescue co-ordinator Paul Kindree helped gather extra leaders to keep the rides going. Despite of the rain (and very low snow line), the groups had another great ride and came back "good and tired" from their adventures. A wrap-up talk on athlete progression and the training centers finished the weekend.

The Squamish venue is ideal. Halfway between Whistler and Vancouver, it has a very strong MTB community and is promoted as one of the World's recreation capitals. In addition to awesome mountain biking available to all levels, there is also great climbing, hiking and water sports in the area. The Local High Schools - Howe Sound and Don Ross - are very supportive in providing facilities and manpower to help make the camp happen, and the Squamish Hostel turned away other guests for the weekend to make room for the students. The Squamish Off Road Cycling Association and Bike Shops helped out with ride guides and technical support. Dave Heisler of Corsa Cycles even arranged a moving van for bike storage all weekend!

Camp organizers Sam Scorda, Chairman of the BC High School MTB Commission, and Sprockids Society Director Lesley Tomlinson were happy that the 8th Annual Camp was once again a great success.

Thank you's to:

The Sprockids Society: Sam Scorda, Doug Detwiller, Alison Sydor, Lesley Tomlinson and Claire Bondi
Howe Sound Secondary: Peter Hotston and Evelyn Carson
Test of Metal Organization and Cliff Miller
School Districts 44/45 and 48
Squamish Hostel
Corsa Cycles and Dave Heisler
PacificSport Victoria National Cycling Centre for sending National Team athletes, Chrissy Redden, Kiara Bisaro and Freddie Bussierers, and coaches Tracey Sheppard and Houshang Amiri.
Cycling BC and Gary Jackson.
SORCA for all the local support of the riders Community of Squamish

Lots of great attitudes from 50 teenagers

Photos by Warwick Patterson

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