For one full week, Daniel Conley lived the life he's always dreamed of.
His glory days were spent at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, Springs, Colo. where the 15-year-old cyclist attended the USA Cycling Regional Mountain Bike Development Camp.
"Going there has been a dream of mine for a long time," Conley said.
A typical day at the camp began early in the morning with breakfast in the OTC cafeteria.
"After that we would cross-country ride and then do uphill courses where coaches measured our power outputs," Conley said.
The power outputs were part of the standardized endurance-based testing that all the cyclists were put through.
"I think I did pretty well on them," Conley said.
After lunch, there were plenty of meetings during which camp teachers and coaches shared tips with the young riders who ranged from 15 to over 20 years of age.
"I learned so much in those meetings," Conley said. "For example. I learned many different ways to do simple things like changing a tire.
"We also learned bike handling skills, how to make certain stops and ways to ride switchbacks."
Lessons on nutrition, training techniques and bike mechanics were also part of the curriculum.
In addition to the camp allowing the Payson teen the opportunity to learn from America's finest cyclists, Conley thrived on the atmosphere of living in the prestigious Olympic training facility.
"We had the chance to watch many of the (U.S.) athletes train and there were times when other (foreign) teams came through to look at the (OTC)," he said. "The week was very inspirational and well worth it."
In all, 26 qualifiers from around the country participated in the camp.
Conley qualified by virtue of his first-place standing in the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona 18-years-and-under Men's Sport Division.
Although the teen is relatively new to the sport, he's built a reputation as an up-and-coming cyclist brimming with potential.
He's dominated the MBAA series the past two seasons winning age/experience division championships. He also won gold medals at the Copper Valley Stage race and the NOVA nationals.
In road racing, he was first in state, circuit and criterium events at the Summit Center Classic.
At the 2007 USA Cycling National Mountain Bike Championships at Mount Snow, Vt., he was third in his first appearance on the national stage.
He also won a platinum medal for riding the 109-mile El Tour de Tucson event in under six hours.
Conley's goal, he said, "is to someday make a living doing what I love to do (cycling)."