Devo Wrap: Building bike racers and more

Eighteen U23 riders in USA Cycling’s National Development Program (NDP) opened the road season in an unconventional way. They spent two days in Rosarito, Mexico, where they worked with charitable organizations More than Sport and Homes of Hope to build a house for families in need.

The group poses for a photo at the site of the house they built in Mexico. (Photo by Michael Sayers)
The group poses for a photo at the site of the house they built in Mexico. (Photo by Michael Sayers)

Upon arriving in Mexico, half of the riders shed their shirts for a soccer match pitting shirts against skins. The shirts side won the match. The riders woke up early the next morning, grabbed a quick breakfast at a local coffee shop and reported for duty at the job site.

They divided up tasks of hammering nails (challenging for some to not bend the nail), framing, painting, sawing, hanging dry wall and all of the other tasks associated with building a house. The painters were responsible for painting the dry wall, the exterior and trim of the house and did touch ups.

The group took a quick break for lunch before resuming with the task at hand. When one group needed help, the other groups lent a spare hand until, after two full days of work, they’d built a house.

"I think the key to building the house so quickly was because we worked so well as a team,” Torey Philipp (El Dorado Hills, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) said. “Nobody was slacking off. When we finished one job, we would always look for another right away. I think the house could've been done on the first day if we just stayed a couple more hours."

The lessons the riders will carry into competition will prove to be very important as they continue to grow and learn as cyclists, but the growth they’ve experienced is priceless.

The group performed various tasks to build the house. (Photo by Michael Sayers)
The group performed various tasks to build the house. (Photo by Michael Sayers)

“The day that I think I will remember most vividly in Mexico was the first day on the job site,” Colby Wait-Molyneux (Vancouver, Wash./Herriott Sports Performance-Hagens Berman U-23) said. “Because I really did not know what to expect seeing as how I had never been to the country and therefore had no idea what the area we would be building this house in would be like. We arrived at the house at about 9 in the morning and worked until about 4 in the afternoon doing about as much work on the house as you could imagine (painting, hammering up drywall, framing, electrical work, etc.).”

“Also, as cyclists I think we all know how to put our heads down and work, and that’s kind of what we did as group,” Jeffrey Perrin (Lakewood, Colo./Herriott Sports Performance-Hagens Berman U-23) said. “As I mentioned when somebody needed help with a task or had a question, we would drop what we were doing in order to help our teammate.”

Many riders also expressed a desire to come back to build a house in the future, including Robin Eckmann (Boulder, Colo./ California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized), who might return on his own one day.

“I would definitely come back,” Eckmann said. “It was such a wonderful experience, it will definitely go into the do not forget moments of my life. I am actually thinking of coming back some day with a couple friends and build another house.”

After their two days in Mexico, which did include a dinner trip to a taco shack in Tijuana, the group returned to the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., where they held a week-long training camp to prepare for the road season. The season began on Saturday, when the contingent competed in the Boulevard Road Race in Alpine, Calif., despite odd weather conditions. Snow flurries early in the race yielded to a mix of sun and clouds with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees.

The group posed for a quick group photo before competing in the Boulevard Road Race in Alpine, Calif. (Photo by Michael Sayers)
The group posed for a quick group photo before competing in the Boulevard Road Race in Alpine, Calif. (Photo by Michael Sayers)

The USA Cycling contingent dominated the race, placing eight riders in top 15, including six riders within the top 10 of the final results. Tyler Williams (Shafter, Calif./BMC Development Team) won a sprint finish over David Santos (El Cajon, Calif./KHS-Maxxis-JAKROO). T.J. Eisenhart (Lehi, Utah/BMC Development Team) placed fourth, Ryan Eastman (Petaluma, Calif./Bissell Development Team) and Tanner Putt (Park City, Utah/Bissell Development Team) finished sixth and seventh, respectively, while Eckmann and Perrin rolled across the finish line in ninth and 10th places. Robin Carpenter (Philadelphia, Pa./Hincapie Sportswear Development Team) was just behind them in 11th place, while Geoffrey Curran (Tustin, Calif./Bissell Development Team) placed 14th.

Eamon Lucas (Pacific Grove, Calif./Herriott Sports Performance-Hagens Berman U-23) was in an early, seven-rider breakaway. The USA Cycling contingent chased the breakaway down and then launched to form the final group on the climb of the third lap. Williams, Eisenhart, Eastman and Putt each rode that breakaway through the finish line, where Williams sprinted for the win.

Eric Oien (Escondido, Calif./Monster Media Racing Team-Monster Media) was the next rider in the contingent to finish as he placed 33rd. Tanner's brother, Chris Putt (Park City, Utah/Bissell Development Team) was 42nd. Wait-Molyneux, Philipp and Colin Joyce (Pocatello, Idaho/California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) finished 45, 46th and 47th, respectively. Lucas' race ended in 52nd place.

Miguel Bryon (Miami, Fla./Hincapie Sportswear Development Team), Greg Daniel (Englewood, Colo./Bissell Development Team), Alexandre Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif./Bissell Development Team) and Brendan Rhim (Norwich, Vt./California Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) also competed in the race.

Check out a photo gallery for pictures of the entire experience, from building the house to competing in the race.

Want to be part of USA Cycling’s Development Program? The first step is getting on USA Cycling’s radar. One of the best ways to do this is by attending a USA Cycling Regional Talent Identification Camp. The primary goal of the Talent ID Camps is to recognize athletes who, at an early age, show signs of potential future success in cycling. Receiving instruction from some of USA Cycling’s finest coaches, the camps also provide the necessary framework to improve the athletes skill set thus progressing their talent development. In some cases, the Regional Talent ID Camps assist in selecting riders for international competition and/or a national development camp.

For more information and the full 2014 schedule of USA Cycling’s Regional Talent ID Camps, please click here.

USA Cycling's National Development Programs are supported by the USA Cycling Development Foundation. Support the future of American cycling with an online donation now.

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This Article Updated February 4, 2014 @ 07:15 PM For more information contact: