This is not your average summer camp story. Casey Williams of Big Bear City is crossing the Big Pond for two weeks as one of eight juniors participating in a USA Cycling Association cross country mountain bike camp in Europe.
Williams, 16, is a past U.S. cross country mountain bike champ and current bronze medalist at the California State High School Championships. This will be his first foray onto the world scene.
“It’s going to be super fun,” Williams says. “It’s going to to be cool to go out and see all the different cultures.”
Getting to race in World Cup and European Cup cross country mountain bike events are also at the top of his summer camp list of things to do.
Racing just seems to come natural for Williams, who finished in a virtual tie for first with Cody Phillips of Monrovia in the Category 1 men 17-18 division at Big Bear Shootout May 22. After five races Williams leads the Kenda Cup West series by 26 points over Ryan Odle of Cherry Valley and 70 points over Keegan Swenson of Park City, Utah.
Williams, who rides for Bear Valley Bikes, was unaware of the standings. “I haven’t been fully in the scene,” Williams admits. “I’ve just been going and going.”
It makes sense that he would be unaware of the point standings. Winning isn’t everything for Williams. “Doing my best and having fun is what it’s all about,” Williams says. “As long as you try hard and do the best you can, that’s all that really matters.”
Well, that and turning pro. “I want (World Cup) to be part of my normal racing schedule,” Williams says.
This trip to Europe is a crucial step in a dream supported by his parents, Roger and Kim. “Casey has been really blessed to have this opportunity,” Kim says. “He’s going to have a lifetime of memories. This is entirely paid for and funded by Mom and Dad. We were willing to do this because he’s really serious about going pro.”
Casey is the oldest of seven Williams kids home-schooled by Mom.
Kim says she’s not as worried about her oldest son’s first trip abroad as she thought she would be. “We’re going to miss him,” Kim says. “Casey is my right-hand man. He’s the man of the house when Dad’s away, so I’m going to notice him being gone. But he’s determined to go pro, and I believe he can. He’s dreaming it and doing it.”