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Standing in the pouring rain in Austin Texas during the 2014 USA Cycling Cyclo-CX National Championships, watching the junior races I was filled with such pride and joy. It was a complete mud bath but it didn’t deter any of the Colorado juniors at all. Many achieved great results but more than that they all finished with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. It was a very hard race.
It was hard not to notice the community gathered to support these young racers and the camaraderie between the youth. The young racers were supportive of each other regardless of the team they were on. They cheered for each other and congratulated each other at the finish. The Tri Velo Series camps cannot take complete credit for their wins but it certainly played a role in the success of the day. And I was so proud of helping build that community along with the coaches, the junior teams, the parents, and the racers themselves.
Tri Velo Series is about taking that success and spirit to the next level, providing more opportunities to encourage youths to join the ranks of junior cyclists and to provide resources for those junior cyclists that are ready to take it to the next level.
Tri Velo Series grew out of the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC)’s tremendous junior development program. Beginning with the leadership of Beth Wrenn Estes and Fran Summerhill, and continuing through the many leadership changes, BRAC has been dedicated to the Jr. Development Camp program, and it subsequently grew and became well known in the local and cycling community.
Tri Velo Series set out to accomplish the following goals before the end of 2017:
- Offer Road, CycloCross and Mountain Bike Camps
- Make the Rocky Mountain Jr. Cycling Challenge a nationally recognized Junior Stage Race
- Serve as a resource to juniors and parents
- Make cycling accessible to everyone by providing scholarships
It is important to get juniors on bikes – recreationally and competitively. It is good for the juniors and it is good for the sport.
Some of the highlights:
- A 9 year old came to mountain bike camp with a BMX bike and just regular shorts & tshirts. He is a child of a single hardworking mother of 3 who struggles to make ends meet. He was surrounded by youth that had mountain bikes and cycling attire but that did not deter him. With great determination he joined in on all trainings with a smile on his face. At lunch we presented him with cycling clothes and he just beamed with excitement. There was a noticeable improvement in his cycling that afternoon. At the end of camp we presented him with a bike – a real mountain bike! He was so excited and he has been riding trails every day since he got home!
- Another young cyclist started with the camps at age 7 and now is frequently seen on the top podium. He has sensory processing disorder and cycling has helped him focus. In his words: I liked riding my bike all weekend with new friends. I love to ride my bike all the time. Riding my bike helps me be calm and work out my energy when my body needs something to do
- Many of the campers have become National Champions at Cyclocross, Mountain Biking and Road Racing! So cool!
- Hannah J. called from Oklahoma about camp. No one would let her participate because she wears a backpack with a G-tube – it is like a feeding tube that pumps a dextrose solution directly into her stomach. Other organizations felt it was too dangerous but we said come on! Hannah is now an active, successful racer because we gave her a chance!
As they say: Win Win!