The bus rolled into Camp Olympia with 23 athletes from across Ontario looking forward to a great week of camp and cycling in the Muskoka’s. We unloaded, had a snack and it was off to find out where the cabins were that each camper was staying. As it turned out, the group was split up amongst the other campers by age groups. This had cycling athletes staying with athletes and campers from football, basketball, sailing, magic and others. We had a fantastic crew of coaches for the week that included Andrew Randell, Catherine Harden and Brayden Kozman.
Each day we had three, two hour sessions that were devoted to cycling. The rest of the time, athletes were given free time with their cabins. This time was often used for group activities such as high ropes, swimming, zip lining and a long list of other activities. Meals were served either in a large cafeteria where you were able to eat as much as you wanted or outside when the weather permitted.
We spent a fair bit of time working on group riding skills, such as pacing, riding closer, bumping bars and tires, and lots of practice on the grass fields. These practices led to a significant increase in how tight and efficient the group rode as a pack. We also played a number of games that help develop bike control, balance and that were just downright fun. Games like limbo, bike soccer and just about everyone’s favorite, the BOX game! The box game is where everyone is in a box that is marked off by pylons and the objective is to be the last rider standing, there is no contact, only strategic track standing and blocking. Everyone had a blast and there were lots of laughs every day.
We had several sessions that were focused on developing some of the softer skills in cycling, such as a kit washing session and flat tire repair and change. While not glamorous or sounding all that exciting, we had fun and learned some new skills to take out on the road while we ride and travel!
During the week the athletes completed several time trials on a spectacular road just outside of the camp. It was freshly paved, twisty and rolling, perfect for practicing time trial skills! The athletes completed 1km, 3km and 6km ITT’s during the week, learning about pacing and how to practice cutting the corners in a course.
There were a couple of days that we went out on longer more adventurous rides that took the group into the Lake of Bays area and pushed everyone physically, as these roads are hilly and challenging. On one ride the skies opened and it rained harder than most had ever ridden in before! By the time we got back it had started to clear and everyone was all smiles and there was not a single complaint about riding in the wet! On another ride we rode over a short gravel section that was not only loose, but rough and hilly! Again pushing everyone to new limits of what they thought possible to ride. At the end of the week, the challenges we faced on the road were the highlights of the camp for many. We all learned a lot, had a tremendous amount of fun and made a lot of new friends. Everyone involved would like to thank the Cycle Solutions crew and the Hoss Cross Festival as they contributed a great deal to help make this camp possible.