The Juniors by Tina Brubaker

Kids Cross is a huge success every weekend at the Cross Crusades, and is part of what keeps cross family friendly. Watching all those excited smiles and grimaces at the start line gives me hope of a bright future for a sport I love. And knowing these kids will grow into junior racers over the years is part of why supporting a 'race' event for the young ones is so important.

Girl power! Tina Brubaker with Hannah Mavis, Sophie Russenberger, Katie Ryan, Ivy Taylor, and Jannelle Holmes.

Girl power!

Tina Brubaker with Hannah Mavis, Sophie Russenberger, Katie Ryan, Ivy Taylor, and Jannelle Holmes.

Bend Endurance Academy has developed a strong contingent of junior women cyclo-cross racers, and each Wednesday I have the privilege of coaching these up and coming athletes. This group talented ladies are not only dedicated to racing on the weekends, but also allot time during busy school weeks to get together and ride, laugh, and train. And each week I look forward to sharing their excitement.

Jannelle Holmes catching air!

Jannelle Holmes catching air!

At practice, much time is devoted to standard cross drills: barriers, run-ups, mounting, cornering, and of course, the dreaded INTERVAL workouts! But lets be honest, having fun with your friends is a big part of why we ride, and part of what keeps the love of cycling alive (for all of us!), so occasionally we head out to the pump track on our skinny tires, move to the grass to work on skids, or find a little drop off and work on jumping -- to keep things fun, push past fears, and eventually, create well-rounded bike racers.  

Brennan Wodtli readying the group for mock start practice.

Brennan Wodtli readying the group for mock start practice.

Fellow Speedvagen racer Brennan Wodtli helps coach the 30 or so junior boys that show up each week to hone their skills. And we all feel a swelling amount of pride when these kids take to the start line on race day. It takes a village to support such an amazing squad of juniors, and we couldn't do it without the efforts of a supportive community of bike lovers. Thanks parents, kids, and volunteers!... and MUCH appreciation goes out to Bill Warburton, who runs the Bend Endurance Academy cyclo-cross team, and Tom Rousculp who puts together the Kids Cross race events every weekend. Thanks, guys, we couldn't do it without you!

It's inspiring to work with such an enthusiastic group of kids, and I encourage anyone interested to find ways to volunteer in your community and help support the future of cycling. 

See you at the races!

Posted on November 7, 2014 .