This year USA cycling for the first time is holding a camp to select a team to race at the Tour de L’Abitibi. This is a race held in the Quebec region of France in late July and it is the biggest race for 17-18 year olds in the Western Hemisphere. The race is an international affair with national teams from all over the world attending. Such as France, Spain, Italy and Kazakastan.
The camp this year for selection is being held in Flagstaff, Arizona this week. I drove Donovan up to attend and to take his chance. Just to have the chance is tough you have to be at least a cat 3, apply and get asked to attend. This year there were only 24 spots. Kids are coming from all over the country. Donovan’s roommate is from South Carolina.
At the camp a typical day has the riders doing some sort of TT effort in the morning, then a skills practice in the afternoon or a crit. This is the first time they are doing the camp in this way. El Grupo is very excited to have helped Donovan have the chance to compete with the best in the country. The best of the best are here so being in the top 12 to get a shot at the race is going to be hard.
Yesterday was the first test. It was a 1k uphill super steep time trial. Donovan did the best he could and is satisfied with his result. We know that Donovan’s forte is on the long flat time trials so he is trying to stay close on these climbs so that when the long TT’s come he can move up fast.
The afternoon drill was a race simulation skill. The riders were to pretend that they have flatted and then they have to pick there way through the race caravan of cars to get back to the group. Donovan was very pleased with how he did in this drill. He said that he had no problem doing it and felt like he excelled in comparison to the others.
Here is a video that in the first minute you see a rider doing just this.
Today the early morning time trial was a 5k steady uphill effort going up to the ski resort or Snow Bowl. Again Donovan said that he did the best he could and was satisfied with his result.
Then the skill this evening was to go back to the race car and retrieve 8 water bottles, stuff them in your jersey, then get back to the group and hand them out, after you have launched off the car with the help of the last water bottle. Again Donovan was very pleased with his performance in this and feels like he excelled.
Here is a video to show this. Watch how long it takes for the rider to let go of the water bottle.
So Donovan is off the a fine start with his strengths still to come. Go get up kid.
I will be posting about his progress every day from here till the end.