As the cycling season draws to a close, as races begin to dwindle in number, many young cyclists who have now gotten a taste for racing, and maybe a win or two, start looking towards 2015. There’s no better time than the autumn to start thinking about next year’s racing and how to best train and develop one’s talent with an established, successful team and coaches like those offered by Athletic Mentors and Team OAM NOW. The development program offers guidance within the sport: mentorship, race support, training advice, strategy, technical advice, among other things. “We have the breadth and depth of experience, across all parts of athletic development, to make us one of the best in the business. Not only do we have a substantial track record of fostering some of the best cyclists in the country, but we continue to put our athletes on the podium,” says Cheryl Sherwood, Athletic Mentors’ co-founder and Team OAM NOW director.
Athletic Mentors and Team OAM NOW boast a successful development program with proven results. Previous team members include: Pro Continental riders David Williams and Tom Zirbal, as well as UCI Pro riders Ted King, Larry Warbasse, and Brent Bookwalter. The established and recognized program fosters developing set teams within the pathway to higher categories (Cat. 5 to Cat. 4 to Cat. 3 and potentially the Elite team). The team pathway means a developing rider can stay with the team as they improve, while also interacting with future team mates and mentors. Now in it’s 10th year, the team has been through several name changes, Advantage Benefits/Endeavour, Priority Health, Bissell and OAM NOW, but the consistent managerial leadership, season to season, means the program is consistently funded and staffed. Athletic Mentors has the added advantage of also having high level participants in Road, Cyclocross, and MTB racing to provide needed guidance.
In other words, finding the right program is so much more than training.
It’s about finding the right leadership.
Former Youth Development Participant and current Team OAM NOW member Alex Vanias notes, “Cheryl [Sherwood] and Mark [Olson] have managed a pro cycling team so I knew they were professionals when it comes to managing teams. They also have connections in the pro world. Sometimes it is not just your ability that gets you to the next level, but also about who you know that can help get you there.”
It’s about finding a team that values its members and supports them and their goals.
Youth Development Coach Terry Ritter: “Riders developing within our program learn accountability, self-marketing, and proper conduct consistent with success on any team they may join in the future. The AM program prides itself on providing a full service and professional environment. We do things like sign contracts, have sponsor commitments, hold expectations for rider conduct, and give back to the community by promoting cycling and healthy lifestyles specifically. We have a track record to prove we’ve found talent, developed it, and then had it move on.”
It’s about finding a coach who understands your needs.
Alex Vanias: “My first year as a category 5 racer I won only one race. The next season, on the advice of a coach, I quit running and trained as a cyclist and moved to category 2 in a matter of weeks. The AM coaches are very thorough with their advice. They run tests to find your current level of fitness and form, and will prescribe strength training to work on your weaknesses. As a new triathlete with no previous swimming experience AM has encouraged and coached me to grow as an athlete. AM has done video analysis of my stroke to see where I am going wrong, and worked to find my optimal stroke rate. It’s about me and my goals.”
It’s about finding a team that nurtures a whole-hearted approach to team and training.
The OAM NOW / Athletic Mentors Multisport Team is populated by community-minded people from all walks of life. Although each team member is unique, there are some characteristics members have in common: character, integrity, and a commitment to promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. Cory Stange, former Youth Development Participant and current Team OAM NOW cyclist notes, “For the first time in my cycling career, the team actually wanted to foster my fast finish as well as incorporate it into the plan for overall team success. This mentality of riding whole heartedly as a team and viewing any results team members achieved as a team victory was something completely new to me. It was something I had never experienced: teammates giving up their chances at overall success in order to give the team it’s best shot at winning. This sort of selflessness is rare. It’s not something you see very often on other teams at this level.”
It’s about becoming the best cyclist you can be.
Athletes are always welcome to approach the Team OAM/AM tent at races or apply through the team website here. Team selection process starts in October. We look forward to hearing from you.