This past weekend, the CLIF BAR Development Cross Team had it's pre-season Start Global Cooling Training Camp. This camp is where the kids not only get their uniforms and bikes, practice skills and prepare for the race season - they also prepared for a season spent making a difference with the team's sustainable cycling mission.
This season the team is rolling out a new look, many new members, and an even greater commitment to demonstrating sustainable cycling team operations and educating our members and the cycling community about sustainability issues.
Let's start with the new look: thanks to a brilliant design layout from Le Sensation American and slick production work from Pearl Izumi, we were able to pull off a look that combines Clif's signature red, eco-messaging green, fast-looking white, and cross-appropriate black - all without ending up looking too Christmas-y, or Italian flag-ish.The kits go pretty well with our green Salsa Chili con Crosso frames, green Chris King headsets, and bright green Crank Brothers pedals. The best part about the design is we now have Start Global Cooling text on our sleeves to back up the top tube stickers - this message should be the most visible aspect of our bikes and uniforms when we're racing.
The team has grown again, adding many new members to help round out the American Cycling Association's junior cyclo-cross development programs. We've added three young guns in the 13-15 age range to bridge the gap between the ACA's Mudskippers team (8-12) and our traditional 16-22 group. Also joining on this year will be 9 new members coming from road and MTB backgrounds, some with much 'cross experience and some rookies.
The crew of 17 kids will be captained by veterans Brady Kappius and Daniel Summerhill, who jumps up to the U23 category after winning the silver medal at last year's Junior World Championships. The team will be contesting a full schedule of races in Colorado, the USGP Series, and Nationals - as well as sending kids over to Belgium this winter for Geoff Proctor's Euro Cross Camp.
During our training camp gathering, it was time to focus on the team's sustainable cycling mission and get everyone off to a good start on learning and participating. We started camp by volunteering at the Friday afternoon harvest with the Cultiva! Youth Project, picking, cleaning, and preparing vegetables for the Boulder Farmers' Market. Our homegirl Jen from Eco-Cycle joined us for pizza and explained the concept of Zero Waste and how the team is going to work towards Zero Waste operations as well as help make some local races and the USGP Series Zero Waste events.
After a cross skills clinic on Saturday morning, the team convened on the Farmers' Market for lunch and a local produce shopping experience. Saturday night the team was special guests of Eco-Cycle at their national gathering for progressive grassroots recyclers, where we toured the Center for Hard to Recycle Materials and listened to several inspiring speakers talk about Zero Waste and the problem of methane produced by too much organic material in landfills.
On Sunday, the team hammered each other in some practice races, and then rolled up to Fort Collins to check out the Rocky Mountain Sustainable Living Fair. I got to meet Bambi the Jersey cow, and we all took in demonstrations on alternative-fuel vehicles, solar power, straw-bale construction, wind turbines, organic farming and more.
That was pretty much it for the weekend. After all that with 15 kids in tow, I was thankful to chill on Sunday night with my lovely wife (who still likes me after the weekend's Cross Team invasion) and cook up a tasty dinner with all the local produce the kids bought at the farmers' market. I'm really looking forward to getting the cross season started to see how much these kids learn along the way!