Monday, April 23, 2012

Little Bellas Sea Otter Camp

  Showing our new campers how to clean their drive train Photo: Nic Coury
We just wrapped up our third annual Little Bellas Sea Otter Classic camp.  Sabra, Little Bellas director and founder, spearheaded the effort and was helped by our two fantastic Vermont mentors, Ali Zimmer and Mary Tracy.  Over the weekend, we were lucky to be joined by a diverse and talented group of local female riders that easily picked up the rhythm of our program and helped girls learn how to shred the Sea Otter single track.  Andrea Turner, Mike’s Bike sales and mountain bike extrodanaire, was pivotal to our success over the weekend.  She was our tried and true volunteer helping out every day and making it look easy in the process.  Rachael Lambert, director of Specialized’s global women’s marketing, and Lindsey Voreis, director of AllRide, both rode with the Little Bellas over the weekend and instantly made an impact.  We greatly appreciate all of these ladies because their generosity, time, energy, and knowledge make our program successful.

 The Little Bellas take a knee in our icebreaker game 'waah' photo: Nic Coury
 Over the course of our three-day camp, thirty-four Little Bellas played dab, rode trails, and absorbed the basics of mountain biking.  We hosted our best lemonade social yet with eleven female professional cyclists fielding Little Bellas’ questions and playing games with them.  The Little Bellas got to interact with some of the best cyclists in the world (national champions, Olympians, and world cup winners from Czech Republic, Italy, Switzerland, South Africa, and the United States) and find out what their favorite ice cream is.  The response was overwhelming vanilla so next year we plan to change the lemonade social to the ice cream social with the pros.  The girls found out how these pros got started and how many scars they have.  The Little Bellas cheered on these ladies in the short track and got all of their autographs.

 Photo: Nic Coury
The Sea Otter Little Bellas camp wouldn’t be complete without our venue scavenger hunt.  Here, the Little Bellas picked up as many stickers and signatures as possible, found how what nutrients are in a Clif Bar, discovered what body parts G-Form pads protect, and were branded (paint only) with the red Specialized S. 
There were also some solid runs on the bouncy house.  The girls also learned the names of all of the different bike parts during a Specialized tech talk with Zane Freebairn. Their knowledge was put to the test later and highly rewarded with dot candy.

All in all, the entire weekend was a blast and filled with lots of excitement.  We saw a huge amount of improvement over the course of three days.  Campers went from walking down hills to descending effortlessly.  We saw girls turn from timid campers to pump track experts.  One of the Little Bellas, Chantel, raced the dual slalom while another raced the fifteen-mile cross country course. Even our mentor, Ali, competed in her first national level downhill race and won the Sea Otter expert field. It was a wildly successful weekend. We hope you join in on the fun for next year’s Sea Otter camp.  If you want in earlier than that, you can join us at the Beti Bike Bash in Colorado, Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival in Cable, Wisconsin, or at a number of our Vermont summer camps.
I’d like to thank our sponsors support because they make our camps happen. Specialized/First Gear, Primal Wear Cycling Apparel, G-Form, Clif Bar, Sea Otter Classic, Becker Law, In the Arena, and East Coast Printers

Ride on!

 Lemonade Social with the Pros, Photo: Nic Coury
Signing a jersey after a second place ride in the short track, Photo: Nic Coury