A day in the life of the QLD XCO Academy


The AusCycling Development Academies continue to build momentum across the country with the latest cross-country program delivered in Queensland.

Head coach of the Queensland XCO Academy program Anna Beck explained what was involved in the latest camp held in Brisbane.

Teenagers are a tough crowd, but as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. I am fortunate enough to be given the QLD XCO Academy program to nurture as my own ‘baby’, and the first session was held on the 27th August.

The group of 11 athletes were all selected for the Academy due to their commitment to progressing within the sport. With several coaches going through the initial applications to see who would make the cut, we have a very enthusiastic and experienced group that are super keen to progress and stretch their skills and knowledge of bike racing.

Starting at the Gap Creek trail network, we first discussed and executed a dynamic warm-up consisting of activation, dynamic movements then layering a cardiovascular component (warm-up ride).

Being part of the recent NSW Academies combined camp at the AIS, I had gained some great experience from revered strength and conditioning coach Ross Smith and was keen to pass this information on to our group.

The next part of our session was skills assessments using the Competitive Rider Journey document, available on the AusCycling website. As anyone who has raced at a high level can tell you, the start of a mass-start XCO race is crucial, and a European race start is simply another level.

QLD XCO Academy Riders

We worked on race starts in a group and shared some hints and tricks to more effectively use the start to position yourself well for the rest of an XC race.

From there, we worked on low speed skills adding layers of complexity and challenge, then took to the trails for a session on using pressure to corner better and maintain or gain exit speed. The kids were vibing: they had never brapppped so hard!

QLD XCO Academy Riders

Having a group session is a great opportunity to add in some physical stress, and so we had a mock race on trails and a time trial. It’s so very hard to keep switched on and motivated if trying to ride on the limit by yourself, so making use of the group environment was key.

It had been a big morning of learning and being challenged and allowing kids to take the pressure off and allow the information to synthesize is super important.

So a short trail ride down a crowd favourite was in order, followed by a cruisy warm-down commute along the bike path to AllSports Jindalee.

After a short lunch break (food is fuel!) the academy athletes and parents were treated to an injury management and training load management session by head AllSports Jindalee physiotherapist Cameron Schembri, and Exercise physiologist Hayden Kitchin.

QLD XCO Academy Riders

We learned about injury screening and management, the importance of mobility and recovery, and some hot favourite activation exercises from Cam.

It was a great day full of fun challenges and collaboration, and it couldn’t have been done without the support of AllSports Jindalee and DH Academy rider Bailey Meares assisting and helping with the brap.

For upcoming sessions, we have some great things planned including a roundtable from athletes who have been racing at a higher level and some nutrition sessions. Stay tuned for more academy updates.

For more information on the Australian Development Academies head here.

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