Sixteen of the United States’ top young cyclists spent the past several days riding around Canandaigua Lake. The athletes came to the area for a USA Cycling Talent Identification Camp based out of Finger Lakes Community College.
It’s the third year Todd Scheske has hosted a camp and the second time it’s been a part of USA Cycling’s national development system. There are 11 other talent identification camps in the country.
“What all the regional camps are trying to do is look for upcoming talent,” said Scheske, a Rochester resident. “We do field tests to find out what their power-to-weight radio is. These kids can then go on to the national camp and they can get selected to the national team.”
This year’s participants included 13 men and 3 women. They were between the ages of 14 and 23 and came from Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, Vermont, Connecticut, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Florida. All of the cyclists came to the camp with racing experience.
Participants arrived on Tuesday and departed Sunday. The schedule included timed rides around the area with power meters attached to their bikes. Josh Detwiler, a 16-year-old from Orlando, Fla., enjoyed his first time cycling in the Finger Lakes region.
“Coming from Florida it’s just a totally different experience with the hills and everything around,” he said. “The weather is amazing. I love riding up here compared to down in Florida.”
Detwiler has only been cycling for two years, but he mountain biked since age 7. Earlier in the year, the cyclist attended another talent identification camp at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. Detwiler enjoyed his time at the FLCC camp and hoped to return in 2014.
However, the camp was much more than cycling. The itinerary included lessons in bike maintenance, training and equipment philosophy, anti-doping awareness, nutrition and yoga. Cyclists also went through contact, handling and balance drills on their bikes.
The coaching staff included former professional riders. Scheske has been racing for 28 years and has been coaching for the last eight years. Canandaigua resident Leslee Schenk Trzcinski, a world champion medalist, served as both a coach and yoga instructor. Legendary cyclist Gordon Singleton came as a guest speaker.
“They are covering the smallest stuff for us,” said Kati Lawrence, an 18-year-old from Pennsylvania. “Like nutrition, you don’t think about what you need to eat. They point out all those small things we need to focus on to make ourselves even the slightest bit better.”
The talent identification camps aren’t the only way to get a shot at the national, as USA Cycling also looks at race results. But, Scheske said the camps are a good way to get noticed. U.S. Olympic cyclists Taylor Phinney and Tejay Van Garderen both started out in the camps.
Page 2 of 2 - Lawrence has medaled (a top-five finish) at past USA Cycling Junior Nationals. She’s hoping to win a national title and eventually become an Olympian.