Outdoor cycling season returns for 2019 with three programs that are all designed to encourage youth participation.
A new Island Youth Road and Track race series has been created to offer additional race experience to youth cyclists ages nine to 18. This is in addition the established programs such as the six-year-old Fast Track youth development program at the Greater Victoria Velodrome, the South Island School Bike League, as well as the Tripleshot youth club (9 to 17).
The Island Youth Road and Track series has events up and down the Island every few weeks. The next race is April 27 in Comox. Kids can use any road bike, or a cyclocross bike (with slick tires, not cyclocross knobbies). It’s actually the first race as the April 6 event was cancelled due to high wind while snow and ice cancelled the March 10 race.
“We have coaches at the younger levels to help kids adjust to pack riding, which is one of the bigger challenges for kids to learn,” said Lister Farrar, who coaches with Fast Track and Tripleshot.
The Island youth series partners with several clubs and cycling stores, Comox Valley Cycling, Cycle Therapy in Duncan, mid-Island Velo in Nanaimo, Tripleshot, the Victoria Wheelers, the Greater Victoria Velodrome Association and Broad St. Cycles.
“Each have offered us their traditional circuits and relationships with the community that are needed to host races, and we’re able to access those,” Farrar said.
Kids can start with the Island Youth Road and Track Series (Islandyouthroadandtrackseries.ca) at eight or nine years old.
It will have some track events which overlaps with the already-successful Fast Track youth program at the Greater Victoria Velodrome in Colwood. Fast Track has produced multiple national junior champions as well as international track medalist Evan Carey of Oak Bay and current national team track member Jay Lamoureux of Victoria.
The Fast Track program, couple with the Tripleshot Youth program, has sent Saanich’s Riley Pickrell and Erin Attwell, and Oak Bay’s Sarah van Dam, on to national successes both on the track and on the road. Just this month Pickrell dominated the track junior nationals with four gold medals, three silver medals and van Dam won one gold, two silver and two bronze.
Cyclists can also join the Tripleshot youth program which includes other disciplines including mountain.
“What’s cool about our program is we have ability groups so you can start where you’re comfortable,” Farrar said.
Interested parties for any of these programs can contact Farrar at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
FastTrack runs Monday and Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the velodrome.