Vail Junior Cycling Club will cater to year-round athletes
VAIL, Colo. (Dec. 14, 2018) — In an effort to take local mountain biking to the next level, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) is pleased to announce the formation of the valley’s first full-time training and competition program for dedicated cyclists: the Vail Junior Cycling Club, as registered with USA Cycling.
While SSCV has for a number of years offered a part-time (May to October) program for competitive, high school-aged riders, this new program will cater to the year-round needs of dedicated athletes and enable them to compete and properly prepare for the Union of International Cyclists (UCI) and USA Cycling race calendars, including the national championships in Winter Park, which had not previously been possible through the part-time program.
The new program, which begins in mid-January and will be offered to athletes aged 14 and older, will focus exclusively on cross-country mountain biking, but SSCV staff is open to the possibility of expanding to other cycling disciplines in the years to come.
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail formed its mountain bike race program seven years ago as an off-season supplement to its wintertime snowsport programming. What started with seven athletes looking for a fun way to stay in shape over the summer has grown to almost 50 racers competing on behalf of three local high schools: Battle Mountain High School, Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, and Eagle Valley High School.
“When we started the mountain bike program several years ago, we never could have imagined how much it would grow in such a short period of time,” said SSCV Mountain Bike Director Dan Weiland, who also leads the club’s Nordic program. “As the team grew and athletes became more and more competitive, we started to realize that we weren’t fully meeting the needs of the dedicated athletes for whom mountain biking is a top priority. Programs such as this are offered in powerhouse mountain-bike communities, such as Boulder and Durango, and we hope to elevate the Vail Valley to meet those demands.”
While Eagle County certainly has ample population, athleticism and enthusiasm for the program to thrive, the local climate does present a challenge compared to more low-lying mountain communities. It’s a challenge that program staff, including Head Coach Miles Gentry, is prepared to effectively address.
The program, which will be facilitated through the Minturn Fitness Center and SSCV facilities, will consists of four to six cycling sessions per week, plus two strength sessions per week, in addition to cross-training possibilities with SSCV’s Nordic program.
Outdoor cycling on dry surfaces is possible in the valley often eight months or more out of the year. Within a day’s drive, the season is even longer. To meet the daily training needs of these athletes during winter periods, the program will outfit each athlete with an internet-enabled indoor power trainer, the results from which will be analyzed by the head coach on a daily basis. Combined with Nordic cross training, the potential for fat bike training, and the opportunity to travel to warmer climates, these athletes will have everything they need to be fully prepared for the competitive cycling season ahead.
“We’re going to be focusing on athletes who are looking to take their cycling careers to the next level,” said Gentry. “This program is for riders who are looking to build up international points at the UCI level and improve their rankings within the USA Cycling system to get better positions for club teams, college teams and even become candidates for USA Cycling national teams.”
These athletes will also race in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s (NICA) Colorado High School Cycling League, which has become so popular among local riders of various abilities. Athletes will be encouraged to participate in other sports, as well, including SSCV’s full-time snowsport program offerings, such as alpine and Nordic.
On tap to lead the coaching efforts, Head Coach Gentry graduated from Appalachian State in 2011 with a degree in exercise science. He specializes in endurance-based sports and oversees all metabolic and cardio testing for SSCV athletes. Gentry’s credentials include all of the following: certified USA Cycling level 2 coach, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, NICA Level 3 coach, Training Peaks Certified Level 2, and USA weight lifting certified coach.
Gentry will also be supported by local mountain biking legend Jay Henry, who will help coach the program, along with Weiland as its program director. They’ll be joined by SSCV mountain bike coaches Mark Nelson and Christian Kloser.
Parents and athletes interested in learning more about the Vail Junior Cycling Club should attend an informational meeting at the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. or contact Gentry at firstname.lastname@example.org.