Don’t you wish you had learned to mountain bike when you were kid instead of in your mid-to-late 20’s? I do! By the time I finally learned to ride, I was already somewhat breakable. So when I was asked to be a guest speaker at Cascade Bicycle Club’s Dirt Camp ’09 a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to help kids learn and hone the skills I didn’t acquire until a more “mature” age.
Led by instructors Kat and Jay Sweet and two assistant instructors, the CBC Dirt Camp was a week-long play date on two wheels at Saint Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington. The curriculum included bike handling and survival skills, covering everything from Negotiating Obstacles 101 to Special Topics: Fixing a Flat.
The camp also featured guest speakers, such as trials rider Joel Moreland, who inspired the camp kids with trick riding and general coolness. The kids took Joel’s energy and intrepid spirit to heart as they themselves rallied over ramps, teeters and small jumps. The kids even practiced manuals! You can check out their accomplishments in filmmaker Jay Sweet’s Dirt Camp ‘09 movie.
My task as a guest speaker was to talk about XC and endurance racing. As a Voodoo Cycles rider, I was thrilled to share some of my racing experiences and teach the kids about the equipment, training regimen and racing strategies that are part of those disciplines. We played a fun game of name-that-racing-accessory: “What’s this? “A tube!” “What’s this?” “A chain-breaker!” “What’s this?” “CO2!” “What’s this?” “Electrolytes!” (Okay, so they didn’t get that one). As it turns out, a couple of them had already jump-started their young racing careers this year at the local Indie Series. Ah, can you imagine how fast those racers are going to be when they’re our age?
All in all, we had a great time together, fixing flats and riding through the park. Then we finished the day with cookies. I tell you, it’s good to be a kid again! Until next time, see you on the trail!