Canadian Cyclist


October 7/08 6:45 am - Cycling BC Youth Team Expands for 2009

Posted by Editoress on 10/7/08

Cycling BC Youth Team Expands for 2009
By Dan Proulx, Cycling BC

Cycling BC's Youth Team program is set to expand in 2009. Building on the success of our school outreach programs and the success of our cycling athletes at the BC Summer Games; the second year of the Cycling BC Youth Team program will focus on developing cyclists throughout the province by providing more coaching and training opportunities.

Talent Identification: School Visits with Future Opportunities
Cycling BC will continue to offer Youth Team clinics to schools throughout the province. Last year, Cycling BC taught competitive cycling to 480 riders. We will be expanding this effort in the 2008/2009 school year by hosting more clinics and increasing the quality of these experiences. We will be incorporating a Talent Identification plan where the most talented riders from each school are invited to work with a Cycling BC coach or local junior program and to attend other Youth Team events in 2009.

Building Junior Programs
Cycling BC will be facilitating the development of weekly coached workouts and training programs for riders aged 13-16 throughout the province. By working with existing junior clubs and by fostering the growth of new junior clubs, Cycling BC will build a development system for young athletes to learn about the sport with peers their own age. Athletes from distant regions in British Columbia will even have the option of accessing training programs from Cycling BC remotely if there isn't a coach in their area. We want to make sure that every young rider in the province has a simple way to access the sport. When parents contact Cycling BC, we want to connect them with a coach and club that can get the kids started immediately.

Youth Team Camps and Racing Events
The athletes who competed at the BC Summer Games will form the nucleus of the Cycling BC Youth Team. In 2009, we will be providing more opportunities for them to get together for racing and training. The Youth Team is another layer of talent identification where the best young athletes are gradually transitioned into the Provincial Junior Team program under the direction of Richard Wooles. The BC Summer Games experience proved that we need a new approach toward youth development. We need racing and training opportunities that fit the interests and fitness level of the athlete. We need to continually develop new events that focus on speed, technique and strategy. We need to make the sport appealing and accessible to all young athletes. It's a new approach. We need something that is exciting and challenging. The races we put into the BC Summer Games really engaged a new set of athletes and parents in the sport. Canadian Sport Center Pacific's Kurt Innes, an Olympian and former National and Olympic Team coach commented "now that we've had this success [with new events at the BC Summer Games] we can't ever go back".

Cycling BC Youth Team Events 2009
• Ongoing coaching– provided through Youth Team Coaches and Junior Club network
• Designated Youth Series Races TBA
• Spring Camp – Penticton - March 15th-21st
• Summer Training Camp – Kelowna - August 4-7th
• Junior Cycling Festival – Kelowna - August 8 and 9 (Ages 13-16)

Building a System of Coaches
We have so many good senior/elite riders in the province that could be excellent coaches. In 2009 we are going to be recruiting new coaches who have racing experience, strong communication skills and a desire to give back to the sport. We want to show racers that coaching can be a viable career option – one that allows them to stay connected with the sport when their serious racing days are over. We want to help new coaches get started. We also want to show them how to make their coaching careers sustainable. We will be looking for coaches who can deliver Youth Team School visits and for coaches who could organize junior clubs throughout the province. If new coaches are interested in taking part in this initiative, they should contact Dan Proulx as soon as possible at

Adapting the Sport
We hope to gain further momentum by engaging riders in a competitive program that allows them to gradually increase their involvement in the sport. In order to implement this, we will need assistance from our racers who have children, from our clubs, community groups and race organizers. It's going to be a team effort if we want to build our sport for the future. Here is the concept:

Ride and Glide Race Series (10 and Under): A series of 5 simple modules that can be taught by a parent, teacher or recreation center. The modules focus on the fundamentals of cycling and incorporate some friendly competitive games based on skill (i.e. Longest glide competition, Obstacle Course, Sprinting, Braking, Relays). This series is designed for riders who will continue to be part of other competitive sports like soccer, hockey, gymnastics etc. At this age we just want them to have a positive first exposure to competitive cycling. Organizing one of these series would be ideal for a Masters Racer who has their own kids and wants to give back to the sport by helping out on an occasional Saturday afternoon. These modules would ideally culminate with a local Tim Bit Challenge – a chance for kids to race and also see what how elite racers ride. KEY INGREDIENTS: SKILL DEVELOPMENT, PARTICIPATION, FUN

Short Circuit Race Series (12 and Under): A series of skill sessions and races held on short loops where kids get to ride/race multiple times in an afternoon (2 hour session). Road events would be held in the parking lot of a recreation center or similar (200-300m loop). MTB events would be held in small parks or trail areas (500m-1000m loop). These events require minimal infrastructure and could be easily organized and run by 1-2 adult volunteers. Cycling BC will provide a suggested format for these events. The hope is that some of our experienced racers will take this opportunity to help get the future of the sport rolling. Ideally, several clubs in a region will each take an afternoon in the spring or summer to host one of these events. KEY INGREDIENTS: INTRODUCTION TO RACING, SKILL DEVELOPMENT, PARTICIPATION, FUN

Youth Development Racing Series (13-16): We want to work with some of our existing criterium and time trial races to create a Youth Development Category for riders aged 13-16. Mountain Biking already has this level available to young riders. On the road, this category would be for new riders and would involve a significantly reduced distance. If the organizer can set aside the time at their venue, Cycling BC can coordinate the organization of the athletes. This would allow a new group of athletes to get started in the sport. Down the road, these athletes and their families will help to build the sport. It's a win-win situation.

We have had young riders show up to road races only to discover that their was no reasonable category for them to ride in. We have even had riders who came out and raced but never returned because the distances were too long and the competition level simply too high. This simple step will create a new avenue into the sport. KEY INGREDIENTS: INTRODUCTION TO RACING, SKILL DEVELOPMENT, PARTICIPATION, FUN, CONNECTION TO AVAILABLE JUNIOR CLUBS AND EVENTS IN THE LOCAL AREA.

How can you get involved in this exciting initiative?
If you have interest in contributing ideas, feedback and time to any of the initiatives mentioned in this article, we need you! Please contact Dan Proulx at as soon as possible. We need assistance in the following areas specifically:

1) Ride and Glide Volunteers.
2) Short Circuit Volunteers for both road and MTB.
3) New coaches who are interested in forming Youth Team programs around the province.
4) Coaches who would be interested in running some Youth Team school visits in their area.
5) Teachers who can coordinate a workshop for educators during a Professional Development Day.
6) Road event organizers who would be interested in adding a Youth Development component to an existing race.

About the Youth Team Director
Dan Proulx is the Cycling BC Youth Coach and has worked with development athletes throughout his coaching career. Last year, he taught 480 kids to enjoy cycling in the first year of the Youth Team program. He also organized the BC Summer Games Cycling events. Dan is a Level 4 NCCP Coach and coached two 2008 Olympians. He was also the team manager for Canada in Beijing.


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