Sunday, May 5, 2013

Little Bellas Sea Otter Camp

We have just wrapped up our best Little Bellas national camp yet.  The Little Bellas program keeps picking up momentum in pockets all over the country and the Sea Otter Classic is one of the most vibrant.  It's always kicks off our national camp tour in fine form and sets a high standard for the rest of the camps.  Sea Otter camp was completely full and we had forty girls riding bikes over the weekend.  This year, we were joined by a great crew of Vermont mentors; nordic ski racer, Mary Stewart, mountain bike racer, Kim O'Connell, and cyclocross stronghold, Joanne Grogen.  The camp couldn't have been this successful without the hard work from these Vermont mentors, but also from the amazing contributions from our California volunteers, Andrea Turner and Brianne Spiersch.  Of course, the standing ovation goes to the program director, founder, and my sister, Sabra Davison who ran the show at Sea Otter and somehow manages to keep all the logistics, details, and girls' names in her head.  It's honestly very impressive.

The camp started on Friday morning with the Little Bellas got to know each other through the unique game of 'waa'.  Then, they learned balance on their bikes through many games of dab, rode some technical, rocky single track on the hillside, became technical bike experts with the Specialized tech talk, and took the venue by storm in the scavenger hunt.  No Clif Bar was left unturned in the hunt, and some of the Little Bellas were even able to spot the Sea Otter mascot.  On Friday, the girls lined the short track course to cheer on the ladies, and, later on in the day, they were able to meet these same pros at the lemonade social.  At this year's lemonade social, we had the biggest collection of elite talent topping out at fifteen pro women attending.  There has never been this many world champions, national champions, and Olympic medalist in one spot besides a start line, and they were all gathered for the Little Bellas.  We had Olympic bronze medalist, Georgia Gould, downhill World Champion, Tracy Moseley, four time Olympic, Katerina Nash, Marathon World Champion, Annika Langvad, and two time four cross World Champion, Anneke Beerten just to highlight a few. Each pro woman answered Little Bellas questions ranging from, 'what's your favorite color?' to 'where in the world do you want to ride your bike?' (The best answer to that question was from Teal who picked Florida out of all the exotic places to ride a bike).  The world's best signed each of the girls jerseys, and the Little Bellas' parents gasped when they saw the collection of names their girls got to hang out with.  It never ceases to amaze what a classy group of women these are.  Each and every female pro has a chaotic schedule running from race to appearance, but they all managed to carve out an hour to inspire the next generation.  It was truly incredible.

The girls also got to go up on the announcer stage to cheer on the pro ladies for the cross country start the next day.  This was the best welcome I've ever received rolling up to the start line.  Is it possible it could have been louder than the Olympics?  It's impactful the amount of noise twenty girls can make.  It inspired me to grab the hole shot once the gun went off.  We already have little bellas signing up for next year so I think we did a good job getting them hooked on mountain bikes.  Everyone is still buzzing from the experience.

Photos are worth a million words, and these great images by Nic Coury are worth two million.  Please check them out here on the Little Bellas website.

The camp is absolutely not possible without the support from Specialized, G-Form, and Primal.  G-Form keep the girls protected from a couple of tough learning crashes.  Primal created this year's jerseys from a design from one of our own Little Bellas in our design the jersey contest. Clif Bar provided the snacks.  Skratch Labs keep us hydrated under the hot sun. Eyedentity Graphics made us, as always, a fantastic banner.  Cat's Tongue Towels gave the girls towels to clean their bikes with at the end of the day.

THANK YOU!  Let's keep inspiring the next generation of shredders.  This is what the good stuff in life is about.

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