Monday, November 30, 2009

OH Junior!!!

When I was in Chicago this summer at the USA Cycling Cat. 2 coaching clinic I met one of the other coaches who trained junior triathletes. He was quite loquacious, but the one thing I remember most was that he could always tell children who trained (especially ran) with their parents. He could pick them out because they ran slow.

Sean Gilbert put that comment into perspective tonight when he said that we've got plenty of time to get slow. Kids should be fast, run, run free...ok digressing.  The junior triathlete coaches words have rung loud and clear in my ears ever since the clinic. Younger athletes shouldn't be de-trained to ride 4 slow hours. It makes a lot more sense for them to put on that junior gear and be fast in shorter, age appropriate races.

Then I am talking to Jason Halloran before the Chagrin CX race and get this exciting email from Tom Humphrey who is director of the Spin/ RR Donnelly racing team. They are looking for a coach for their junior development squad of 5 riders. All under 18 years of age. The plan is a great one. Develop young local talent with the support they need from parents, coaches, bike shop and of course sponsors. Develop them to first be fast young athletes who can race their bikes, prepare them for collegiate success (and possibly some scholarship money at cycling friendly universities) and finally prepare them to be Cat.1's for teams like RGF and hm, hm, Carbon Racing to pick up for regional racing.

I can reflect back to when I got started racing in college. I hadn't ridden a bike since elementary school. I dont recall owning a bike in junior or senior high. But one day I borrowed my room mates Nashbar road racing bike with Suntour (it looked so amazing to me then). He slammed the seat down into the frame and I rode and rode and rode. Then a friend gave me this behemoth steel bike with cantilever brakes that was easily 8cm too big and I rode and rode that bike. Further and faster by the day. My point of all this was in my day there was no collegiate racing and I certainly didnt have a coach. My coach was the Lemond book!! I basically got fast, fast and eventually dug myself a crater from over-training I never got out of it till I quit racing and riding in 1992. All lessons learned and to be applied later. Sure it sounds like the "I never made varsity, but my son will!!" sort of thingy, but I assure you it is not.

So I do my best to contain my raw enthusiasm to just have the chance to coach the team. I fret for weeks then I hear Ive got the job. I am now waiting for the first meeting where I explain my dastardly plan to the sponsor and parents. Brooo, hahaha (think adult Goob in The Robinsons). OK, my plan isnt dastardly at all, but thanks to a loquacious coach from Illinois I have a solid direction to go in and I cannot wait to start.

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