Junior cyclists do well at elite stage race

Event in Washington state featured top riders from all over Pacific Northwest

COMOX VALLEY CYCLIST Isaac van der Vliet finished first in the Road Race in Junior D Boys.

COMOX VALLEY CYCLIST Isaac van der Vliet finished first in the Road Race in Junior D Boys.

Larry Reynolds

Special to the Record

One of the most significant youth development road racing events in North America took place July 28-29 in Elma, Wash. More than 90 top ranked young racers (aged 10 – 18) from California, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia gathered for an elite junior stage race.

The goal of the event is to become a premier junior-only race that supports the growth and development of junior riders on both sides of the border. The significance of the event is punctuated by the participants which included the US National Women U23 silver medal winner, the two-time Washington State Junior Women TT Champion, past seven-time US National Junior Champion in Junior Boys, and the reigning US National Sprint Champion in Junior Boys.

The event, which was four years in its development by the Washington State Bicycling Association, grew out of the realization that junior racing in the region has been in a state of decline for several years.

The race, which attracted enthusiastic corporate sponsorship wishing to support junior racing ($10,000-plus in cash and prizes) included one of the most unique crit courses ever – an abandoned nuclear power plant in the shadows of the heavy water cooling towers! Organizers anticipate that the race will be even bigger next year, as more and more junior racers from both sides of the border recognize the advantages of junior racing.

British Columbia was represented by Ecape Velocity (dEVos) in Vancouver and the Comox Valley junior riders. The Comox Valley juniors enjoyed the opportunity to participate in such a large event against their peers. Highlights for the local juniors included:

Isaac Van der Vliet: 1st in the Road Race and 2nd Overall Junior D Boys (10-12);

Jess Reynolds 2nd Overall Junior C Girls (13-14);

James Grant 5th Overall Junior C Boys (13-14);

Mark Grant 11th Overall Junior Boys (13-14);

Kia Van der Vliet 4th Overall Junior A/B Girls (15-18);

Jane Harmsworth 5th Overall Junior A/B Girls (15-18);

Andrew Grant 7th Overall Junior A Boys (17-18).