Mudiiita Cross Camps
I thought to start the new year with a blog and a recap of the Mudiiita project so far would be the perfect way to throw some positive vibes into the new year.
When I started to think about the Mudiiita project and ways to use my experience as a bike rider to help the next generation I always had a thousand ideas running through my head. As with all things, ideas changed and evolved from how I had first imagined. Listening to what riders wanted and needed compared to the ideas I first had helped me realise that what I first imagined wasn’t exactly the best idea. After many conversations and some great feedback from riders, family members and coaches I came to realise young riders didn't necessarily need a fancy team or a cross clinic in the summer to help them make the next step. What they needed was experience, mentoring, face time with riders at the top of the sport and opportunities to race in Europe to give them a taste of top-level cyclocross. These were the things they saw as the things that would allow them to grow and develop, things started to develop and after some conversations with the current national cross coach we started to share ideas on how we could work together to make a positive impact.
I sat down with Matt Ellis (The National Cross Coach) and listened to his ideas, we then started to come up with some plans and ways in which we could help one another to provide junior and u23 riders with well organised, structured and enjoyable experiences through the season that would help them progress.
We planned to organise 3 key cross weekends. The first would be a training weekend, a few weeks before the season kicked off. It was in Matts words;
“An old School approach of hard work, getting a large mix of young riders as much time on the bike as we could”
This was a perfect way to get all the riders together and give them a jam-packed cross weekend full of fun, hard work and time to pick the brains of all things cross from me and guest rider Ian Field. We discussed everything from offseason preparation, rest periods, nutrition, tyre pressures, tyre choice, course preferences, goal setting and mental strength. I personally found this very rewarding, being able to mentor and give vital information to help these riders is something I could see myself doing more of in the future. It's not easy to combine being a full-time athlete with a project like this all by myself so having that extra help from Matt with these weekends has been great.
After the first training camp, we then had planned 2 Race weekends over in Belgium. For a lot of riders involved the first weekend was they're first ever trip to race in Belgium and the first time most had ridden for GB. We wanted to make the weekend as enjoyable as possible whilst giving them maximum exposure to what life is like at the top of the sport. These kind of trips are critical to young riders and I feel giving them these experiences will be a huge step in their future careers.
All 3 Mudiiita / GBCT weekends exceeded all of our expectations and for me personally, it was super satisfying and more than worthwhile to put the time in to make them happen. Hearing from the riders what they gained from them has been pretty inspirational and I’ll be sharing some of their stories with you on the Mudiiita instagram page over the following days!
Once again, thanks so much for all of your support and of course if any of you reading would like to help support us in any way in the future in making these weekends go forward again then we would love to hear from you!