Report: Alkmaar 2017 Girls Track Camp Fri 10th – 12 November 2017
Biggest ever group travels to the Netherlands
Cycling Ireland’s Youth Development Programme continues apace following last weekend’s successful trip to the Alkmaar Velodrome in the Netherlands.
A record 24 riders representing all four provinces attended the camp which focused on track activities at Alkmaar and which also contained a variety of other activities which have become the hallmark of Orla Hendron’s Youth Development get togethers.
The riders, ranging in age from 13 to 16 enjoyed a three-day itinerary presented by Neenan Travel with event administration delivered in exemplary fashion by Genevieve Sheridan. The riders also benefited from the assistance of local coach and a great friend of Irish cycling, Herman Schenk.
After the short flight to Amsterdam, the riders emerged from a luxury coach at Alkmaar and were quickly ushered into track action. The riders were up on the boards for two hours including those for whom it was a first visit to an indoor track.
Herman kept the whole group together on the track rather than splitting it into sessions so everyone could make the most of the time available. He introduced team pursuit training to the drills and then later divided the group into pairs to practice making changes and learning how to use the entire track.
Saturday’s second day began with a brief recap of the Friday riding before Herman introduced Madison training which proved especially popular with the girls. This was followed by a dress rehersal for the climax of the weekend’s activity, Sundays racing.
After the velodrome the group went bargain hunting at the local market and to the every popular HEMA shop.
In a change from the norm, the group went out for dinner to a local pizza restaurant which was went down especially well with the girls who were well fuelled for the next day’s racing.
For Sunday’s track fare, Herman organised a group of local racers to provide experienced opposition in a full Olympic Omnium in which the riders were split into three ability groups to ensure the best possible racing experience.
Orla Hendron adjudged the trip an unqualified success and looks forward to further immersing her group in a complete experience of cycle racing in all its forms.
“This was a really great event and it was particularly heartwarming to see so many riders from all corners of the country making the trip” said Hendron.
“The skills and experience gained this weekend will stand them in good stead for the battles to come and the terrific bond developing in the group is a really positive step for the development of women’s bike racing.
“Once again, there was a terrific team of volunteers which helped make this event possible with Gen Sheridan, Alan Neenan and our host Herman Schenk once again providing wonderful support.
“Naoise Sheridan was also a great help. She’s come up through the ranks from the very early days of the Talent Team and is now passing on her knowledge, not only is she taking the time out to pass it on she is very good at doing so.
We’re also very grateful for the assistance of Edel Brennan who has been with us since the start.