A look-back on the first season...
This year marked the first year for the Canadian Enduro Development Team coached by Blueprint Athlete Development (Joel Harwood). Being the first-year, it was kept laid-back, low-cost, and about creating a foundation for these under 21-year-old athletes.
What started as a chat between Ted Morton and myself (Joel Harwood) about Canadian racers quickly morphed into a hectic 18 months of planning, rider interviews, training camps, and racing across all of Canada, into the US, and even Europe.
Our initial team
selection included ten under-21 racers. Throughout the season, we also invited a number of 2018 team prospects and training partners to our camps, for pre-rides, and met a ton of great people along the way. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall the team worked on all facets of riding: strength, conditioning, flexibility, race tactics, bike skills, you name it. Anything that could put the riders in a better position to learn, be successful, and have fun. In addition to racing Canadian National Enduro Series events, the athletes appeared at select cross-country, downhill, BMX, and slalom races. Elliot (Jameson) even made an appearance at the B.C. Road Championships, but we were disappointed he didn’t run flat pedals and baggy shorts…
It's all about the ride
The expectations for the crew were pretty high from the get-go and I’m pleased to say that not only was the progress of the racers impressive, but their attitude, humility, and maturity were just as outstanding. Regardless of the success or failure, the group remained positive throughout the season and kept things fun, even with the internal pressure of knowing they could achieve category wins and overall results that were competitive with elite racers. Anybody who has seen these riders at an event or in the community is no doubt inspired by their pure love of riding, not to mention how fast they’re going.
As you’re reading, you might be wondering how the team did… while we spend our season focused on process and letting outcome take care of itself, it’d be hard not to call our first season an overwhelming success. I can’t count the number of podiums between the crew, but what I think speaks to the group more is the fact that they’re so motivated and stoked at all times.
Big thanks to the CNES, OneUp, and Blueprint for taking a gamble on supporting a new program. There is no doubting the potential of the riders, but it still takes hard work, perseverance, and a significant financial investment – each of which was easier with the help. Tourism Kamloops also deserves a major shoutout along with the Plaza Hotel for making our Spring Break Camp a huge success. Big White was also extremely supportive of the group and we can't wait to get back to shred Rake and Ride. The support isn't about getting free product, it allowed the posse to focus on their development rather than equipment or accommodation, the importance of which cannot be overstated. It also speaks to how much potential the supporters see.
We already have big plans for 2018. The momentum from this season will surely push the team in the right direction. We're always looking to provide more racers with the opportunities to succeed, earn team spots, and to attend training camps. Selection criteria for 2018 can be found here
, and athletes looking to join are encouraged to reach out to me at joel[at]blueprintathletedevelopment.com.
See you on the trails,