The N.Z. U17 Development Team to Canberra and N.Z. Development Group camp was held in Palmerston North 16th, 17th and 18th June. The camp was held in conjunction with the Twin Peaks Tour. The camp was headed up by Bike N.Z. Development Manager, Beverley Chamberlain, ably assisted by Hughie Castle, Bike B.Z. Coaching staff of Lynn Murphy, Lyndon Cooney, Andrew Jamieson. Camp assistants: Don England and Syd Martin. The camp began on Friday with a total number of 27 cyclists: 18 in the Canberra team and an additional Development Group of 10.
The objective of this camp was three fold: To foster the development and value of team riding and how it works. This was practiced in the Twin Peaks Tour and will be the race procedure for the Canberra Tour and into the future. Secondly, team bonding prior to Canberra encouraging a full understanding of solid team culture on and off the bike. And thirdly, the Canberra Team Coaches of Andrew and Lyndon could get to know their teams as individuals and establish a good working relationship to better enable them to identify their teamís strengths and weaknesses enabling them to make the right tactical decisions Canberra.
On the Friday the team members had a very successful interaction session on race tactics and skills. Breaking into groups they were given different race scenarios containing various tactical moves and as a group worked through these both talking it through with the coaches and also drawing the moves on paper. This proved a very worthy exercise and the group got a lot out of it.
This was followed by a ride where some of the moves discussed and learnt were put into place, despite the continual chilly rain!! The camp contained valuable advice on traveling with teams internationally, time-keeping and logistical information. It was very important that this camp be physical and team focused.
Saturday saw the Twin Peaks Tour promising to be a very wet and chilly day but ideal acclimatisation for Canberra where the temperatures donít often get above zero. The Canberra team consisted of: Austen Thomson, Bill Thew, Bradley Aldrich, John Thew, Myron Simpson, Tom David, Tom Scully, Wade Mangham, Maria Carlyle, Emma Peterson, Frances Barnfield, Gemma Dudley, Rachel Chester, Sarah Gilkison, Sequoia Cooper and Suzanne Guilford. The Development Group consisted of: Jed Usherwood, Patrick Williamson, Ash Hough, Simon Honour, Cathy Jordon, Courtenay Lowe, Ellen Fowler, Alice Ross, Lisa Haycock, Jessica Jolly.
A three stage tour: the first stage being 50 km U17 boys and 33 km for U17 girls proved to be a gut-buster as it contained a 7.5 km long climb. Not for the feint hearted! Our teams were given team tactics and we raced the Canberra Team against the Development Group teams. Our major aim here was for all riders to take ownership of the situation and think about what was happening around them, as things donít always work out as planned. It was great to see it all unfolding. There were attacks and counter attacks and I have got to say it was aggressive racing.
The U17 boys was a competitive race and it is fair to say that the work completed the day before on team tactics and attitude really paid off with some good moves amongst the boys. Tom David (Auckland) took an early lead in stage one but top placing was heavily contested by Simon Honour and Austen Thomson. With both teams contesting heavily we were in for some good racing. In the girls race Emma Peterson (Waikato) took the first stage win but KOM was heavily contested by Alice Ross from the Development Group as she launched into a brilliantly timed break to take first climb and placed in the final climb/finish line.
The second stage a 6km timetrial saw the race leaders Tom David and Emma Peterson hanging onto their lead but there were some interesting moves at this point as the timetriallists picked up some lost time, so it was a free for all for the last stage. Before the final stage some team plans were changed and it was obvious that the riders were becoming more aware of what was required and how to respond.
In the final stage of 55 km there was some aggressive attacks made by Patrick Williamson as he chased down breaks being made by the Canberra Team, and then counter attacked by Ash Hough Ė it was their job to look after their leading man Simon Honour. Ash Hough determined to make his mark in the last stage fought hard to secure KOM and gained 2 1st placings to take him into KOM victory and secure a 4th placing in the U17 Boys. Tom David showed his strength by hanging onto the distinctive lead he had established by his time trial to take 1st placing overall. Simon Honour from the Development Group supported by his team mates secured 2nd placing with Austen Thomson coming in 3rd.
At a debriefing after the racing both teams were very pleased with their team efforts over the day and learnt the value of working together to secure a high placing for their team. We are determined as development coaching staff to coach our riders in the art of team riding so they firstly learn the value, understand how to do it effectively and are prepared when moving into the elite.
In the U17 girls race Emma Peterson took a convincing 1st place plus KOM. Maria Carlyle and Frances Barnfield rode a strong tour to take 2nd and 3rd. Sterling efforts from Development members Alice Ross, Ellen Fowler and Jessica Jolly who took 4th, 5th and 6th placings which showed some good team work.
Again the girls teams were very happy with the way they rode and got a lot of satisfaction out of working for team members. The day got colder and rained consistently, but spirits were high, so it was a very good effort by all.
The following day saw all camp members complete a 2 hour ride up and over the some testing hills much to their annoyance! But they did it anyway and again the heavens opened but there was some very good training and the pre-Canberra training had only just begun. We have a strong development system lead by Beverley Chamberlain and we are asking our riders to take the step up and aim for a number of other initiatives in the pipline later in the year.
The Canberra Tour is scheduled for July 7th, 8th and 9th and we look forward to seeing how our teams race. Best of luck to them.
Many thanks to Bev Chamberlain for her top organisation for this weekend.