The club has seen the past year’s emphasis on youth development and racing continue to show results and growth.
In the Ontario Cycling Association Youth Cup here were three U11 racers (JD Archbold, Ben Price, and Olivia Pali), one U13 racer (Aliyah Muzzati), three U15 racers (Ema Archbold, Maya Neumann, and Max Schindler), and two U17 racers (Noah Chow and Summer Sandford) who raced many or all of the Youth Cup races in 2014.
There were many racers with podium finishes, including Oliva who won all but the series finale in the U11 girls. Ema was on the podium for almost all the races, and JD was on two podiums.
There were also good results in the non-Youth Cup Tour de Terra Cotta, and the Madonna Wheelers youth dominated in the Markham Giro, including great results for Connor Archbold and Sasha Muzzatti, which bodes well for the future. Jeff won the D’Ornellas criterium race for the men, and Ema (age 12!) won the women’s division at the race later in the day.
We tried to have two days of youth programming in the summer, focusing on bike handling, sprinting, and developing power through hill climbs. Using the 400m track at St. Mary’s or Pineridge schools, the Petticoat Creek parking lot, and the subdivision off of Altona provided a very safe environment for the youth riders, and appeared to give the parents some piece of mind.
The Club Championships for 2014 did not allow for a road race due to OCA regulations. However, the hill climb, TT, sprint, and criterium resulted in some fun racing. Jeff Archbold won the ‘A’ division, Tom Duscharme won the ‘B’ division, and Maya Neaumann won the junior A division, Olivia winning the junior B division, and Connor taking the junior C division. The young kids really enjoyed the medals, so I will suggest we continue with medals, and not cash, as prizes.
In the fall, Ema won the Provincial U15 cyclo-cross championships, which may have been the first youth championship won by a Madonna Wheeler.
Winter programming consisted of twice-weekly indoor trainer sessions in the Archbold basement. Some riders were especially keen, and the emphasis on leg speed and power appears to have paid off. Steve’s commitment to helping out for the indoor sessions made it even more like a club event, and the frequent baked goods also created a more social atmosphere, which is important for the long winter and ongoing effort to train hard.
In track events, both Maya Neumann and Ema Archbold participated in track events in London and Milton. Maya’s experience was visible in the first few events, including winning the January 1st events at Forrest City Velodrome and the 1000m at the second Youth Cup at Milton. Ema provided another three Ontario U15 championships with wins at the 2000m Individual Pursuit, the 500m and the Scratch Race. She has been won over by her results, and should continue to do well if she maintains her training and enthusiasm. We should all try and encourage Maya to keep coming out, as she has lots of natural ability on the track, and having a friend will make continuing to travel to the track and train much more enjoyable. Connor Archbold also started at the track, and based on the observed youth who would race in his division, he may also garner some results in the Track Youth Cup series starting in 2016.
We are expecting to have four U11 racers, three or four U13 racers, three U15 racers, and hopefully three U17 racers. This would give us more than 10 youth racers, which would allow us to qualify as a ‘youth club’ for the OCA.
We have started our weekend club rides, and we will continue to add speed work, intense efforts, and some tactical coaching for the older youth racers (U15 and U17) during club rides. Steve is organizing some routes for the younger riders to get them used to riders with one another and going hard.
Jeff, Chantal Thompson, Dan Thompson, and Steve will continue to coach on Mondays for Midweek, and we are looking to start attending some of the early Tuesday criteriums to help the faster U15/U17 racers learn how to race, and to get them extra speed/race experience.
Coaching for adults who are newer to riding/racing should also be encouraged. This might get some of the children into the club, and help continue to grow the club. Unfortunately, some of the rep hockey players who we had tried to recruit did not appear to want to commit to the training, despite our best efforts to make the training fun and social.