At Early Friday morning, Steve Ley, Tim Richards, and myself all loaded ourselves, our camping gear, and our bikes into my large van and made the 6 hour trip to Durango, CO where we spent 2 1/2 days participating in the Durango Devo Secret Sauce Coaches Camp.
Durango Devos (https://durangodevo.com/), is one of the most successful mountain bike programs in the country, and they have a unique approach to mountain biking and mountain bike coaching that has produced extraordinary results over the past 15-16 years since they were founded. Just in Durango, they serve now more than 650 different kids each year across dozens of programs and teams from ages 3 to 19.
At the camp there were coaches from mountain bike programs (mostly development programs and not NICA teams) in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and of course, ourselves from Utah. The Durango Devo founders, coaches, and other leaders provided full days of training and fun riding in the Durango area.
We got to camp in the Clear Creek campground, which was beautiful, and although it meant 'hobo' showers for 3 days, it felt great to sleep outside in the forest in perfect sleeping temperatures.
We did a group ride on Friday night that was super fun and challenging, exploring the trails right around the town. We got to see some of the amazing terrain they have and experience some pretty steep up and down.
On Saturday, we split up into groups to learn techniques for coaching their athletes. One group focused on jr high and high school ages, and the other on younger kid groups. Their coaches showed and ran us through drills and exercises they do, talked about how to adapt and coach them to different situations, and let us try everything. Every thing we did had some new approach or sparked new thoughts for us on how to improve how we coach our riders.
Also Saturday, we spent time training how to deal with different scenarios, bike maintenance, what to carry while riding as a coach, and other strategies/techniques for running a mountain bike program. We ended the day shuttling narly downhill trails (ask Tim and Steve about them), and sitting around talking while eating hotdogs till late.
On Sunday, we repeated Saturday morning, but swapped with the previous day groups. Then, we closed with Q&A with the Durango leadership.
Overall, to experience Durango was fantastic, from seeing the culture of their group, their approach to mountain biking and coaching, and learning so many new ideas and techniques, and of course, meeting a bunch of new awesome people.
Most of all, the experience is eye-opening and inspiring. Tim, Steve, and I spent not only a few hours Saturday night talking at camp till nearly midnight, but we also talked all the way home to Eagle Mountain about all our ideas/plans for how to incorporate what we learned into our own program. We are very excited to share with our other coaches and leaders, and of course, implement our ideas to improve the rider experience!
View of our campground area.
Top of our Friday evening ride.
Saturday afternoon training session/discussion time.
Durango to the left below there. No shortage of amazing views there!
View from the road up to the downhill. And one of the few places on the mountain I had cell service.
Sampling the local cuisine! Tim found his new favorite rootbeer!