The goal of our Junior Development Program is to encourage and support young bicycle racers in Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. We are committed to helping young riders develop the skills, strength, healthy habits, and confidence to take part in a fantastic, lifelong sport.
Riding a bike consistently will improve your fitness and skills. There are many choices of bike types: MTB, road, track, bmx, and cyclo-cross (CX). They all play a role in your fitness and skill development. The BRAC approach is to get kids on CX bikes, basically due to the versatility of a CX bike. A quick tire or wheel change provides access to either road or dirt riding. Be sure to check for junior gear restrictions for road racing. There is a website that can help dial in your gear selection. See http://www.lifeonthebike.com
By Michael Dessau
BRAC has been instrumental in my development as a top junior cyclist; also instrumental has been their gear restrictions. While it may sound counterintuitive to limit juniors, junior gears provide many benefits to developing bodies, and to developing racers. First of all, they develop how to win. Not many people will be able to win races from a sprint their whole career, so it is important to learn to win off the front. By making it more difficult to win a sprint, junior gears encourage aggressive racing, which is the best way to get noticed and taken to the next level. Additionally, they teach riders to spin, which is a necessary skill for all great bike racers. Finally, gear restrictions are enforced severely in Europe, which is the ultimate bastion of the bike racer, and where top juniors will eventually end up. It’s important to learn to ride junior gears in the US to make it on the national and international levels. Plus, it’s easier to run a semi-compact 52-36 front chain ring combination. And junior gears will never restrict you from winning a race. I’ve won pro, 1, 2 races on junior gears, and averaged above 30 mph in a time trial.
Results to back up claims: Steamboat springs criterium, 3 National championship time trial wins, top ten in the world championships.
Joining a club is one of the most important steps in having fun as a bicycle racer. Talk with your friends, visit your local bicycle shop, and see our list of clubs that work with juniors. We have many great clubs - find one that works for you!
"My fondest memories as a junior cyclist are from BRAC junior races and camps. I can honestly say I wouldn't be where I am without the organization's attention and care. It was, and always will be, an organization structured and run like a caring family. BRAC not only taught me how to be a top notch bike racer but helped provide me with an environment where I can simply enjoy riding and racing my bike."
Alex Howes, Team Garmin-Sharp
The price of a BRAC Annual Membership for juniors is just $15.
BRAC's Junior Development Program makes a difference in the lives of young people, and features the following opportunities to support young racers:
Pre-J Events - Most of our criterium and cyclo-cross race days include time for non-competitive events for our Pre-J athletes (Pre-Juniors, aged 6-9).
Juniors Ride Free - Juniors racing in a junior category race for free or at a greatly reduced rate at most BRAC events. Juniors Ride Free is Proudly Sponsored by Team Evergreen!
Camps - Each year we offer two junior camps. We have the Junior Road Camp in the spring, and the Junior Cross Camp in the fall.
Colorado Mini Classic - This great event is a juniors-only stage race in the great tradition of the Red Zinger Mini Classic of the 1980s. Located in Silt, the event is co-promoted by Two Rivers Cycling Club and BRAC, with support from the USA Pro Challenge.
First Bike - Helping young riders purchase their first bike.
First Race Handbook - A helpful guide for juniors and their families who are new to bicycle racing.
2013 Junior Equipment Information - An overview of gears and time trial equipment.
Junior Gear Restrictions - An overview of gear restrictions for juniors in road and track events.
"I began racing road and cyclocross at the age of nine years old with BRAC. Throughout the past five years, the organization has helped me become the racer that I am. Now, with eight national titles (road and cyclocross combined) under my belt I look back and see that without BRAC I would not have accomplished those goals; and in fact, I might not even be racing bicycles. Thanks to programs like the Mudskippers, Junior Camps, the Tom Danielson Series, juniors race free, as well as the strong competition and the weekly races, I have been extremely well prepared for anything that lies in front of me."
- Gage Hecht, 8 Time National Champion
"I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the people and the supporters of BRAC. I owe almost all of my cycling success in one way or another to the organization. "
- Danny Summerhill, Team United HealthCare