Prestige Imports/Porsche/Audi Jr's Elites are ready to rumble.

Prestige Imports/Porsche/Audi Race Team is long team name in comparison to the time they've been around. Only slightly over a full season old, Prestige has proved themselves to be a solid force in the realm of BRAC. So solid, in fact, that they've taken on the challenge of running a Jr's Elite Development Team.

I was invited to Prestige Imports for the Jr's seasonal kick-off night by Alvin Nordell (my friend and yours). As a Castelli rep, he's one of Prestige's sponsors as well as a member of the Prestige Imports (Senior) team. The night was filled with eager teenage faces, really nice cars, [Editor's note: I was afraid to even talk as I tend to gesture elaborately with my hands] and some slightly nervous parents. I asked Alvin for the basics on the team. Here's what he told me.

"There are eleven Juniors on the team ranging in ages from 15-18. One female (Savannah Adams). They train like Rocky. You know, run stairs, punch frozen meat, and drink raw eggs (not really). They have a mid-week training ride at Chatfield working on Tactics and Skills, with long days in the mountains on the weekend."

Head coach of the Jr's Elite Development team is Adam Zimmerman of Endurance Coaching. On team night, he gave the kids, the parents and the sponsors the basic goals of the team. "Our goal is to be lead coaches in order to help give these juniors an opportunity to take their cycling to the next level. Our program has various amazing sponsor support as well as a coaching program for each junior so they are able to find their individual talent as well as create a stable team foundation."

And so far, so good. The team is already flexing it's muscle...having beat those of us who are a little...(ahem) more experienced (older) in the early season races. Here are a few Race Reports from team members regarding the recent Oredigger Classic weekend of racing.

Stephen Hass:
"This weekend was full of hard (but really fun races) with the team. The Lookout Mountain Hill Climb went well for me yesterday in the junior men 17-18 category. I rode hard, even though didn't feel like I had great legs on the ride over. When the race started I kicked in hard to reluctantly pull off second on a cold day of climbing. I placed between two of my teammates, Landry Bobo (1st) and Jackson Hootman (3rd). Shout out to those guys, awesome results for our awesome team!

The Oredigger Classic criterium in the Senior men 3/4 category was all out from the start for me. I had a bad start and spent the next 5 or 6 laps clawing my way up to the front of the race. By the time I reached the lead group, the pace was tough to keep up with but luckily the backside of the course was a big downhill which allowed me to recover. Gage Hect attacked to go solo before I had shown up and another rider went by himself for the chase. In the final few laps, my group was made up of only maybe 5 guys. Coming into the final sprint, the group condensed to just me and one other rider. Which lead to a killer sprint where I was able to pull off a third place finish."

Landry Bobo:
"I knew going in to the Lookout HC that the race suited me, I am a good climber and a good time trialist. We got to the race and it was really cold and really windy and there was a blasting headwind the entire first half of the race. I almost missed my start time and then I was off. I had to pace myself properly I knew that there would be a tailwind on the last half of the course so the headwind was where I really had to push it.

I eased into the pace the first couple of minutes and then went all out, my lungs were screaming and leg burning but the motivation of a good result in a race pushed me. I passed 4 people so I knew I did well but there were no results until the day after the race and I found out that I won! MY teammates Stephen and Jackson got 2nd and 3rd and Prestige got our first (of hopefully many) podium sweeps!"

Jackson Hootman (who took 3rd at the Lookout HC):
"The Oredigger Classic TT had been an interest of mine since January. Even though it was a time trial (which is not my strong suit), anything with lots of climbing seems to match up well with my abilities. I came in with moderate expectations, hoping for a top five finish in the Junior Men 17 – 18 field.

I was able to get in a full warm up, both up the first half of lookout and on the trainer. I was also able to speak with my coach and some of my teammates before my start. The game plan was to begin at a moderate pace, and then pick it up as the race continued. Yet, the adrenalin got to me and my start was much quicker than I had planned. I caught my 30-second man early in the race and as I hit about the half way mark, he passed me back. I was able to keep him within sights and approaching the second set of switchbacks, I had caught a lot of the 15 – 16’s and one or two of the 17 – 18’s. During the second set of switchbacks, I noticed that my teammate Landry Bobo was gaining on me. We are usually evenly matched on climbs and I could tell he was having a great day. Right before the climb flattened out he came around me and we both kicked it really hard in the last stretch. He finished about 5 seconds ahead of me and I could tell that I had gained on my 30-second man with a finishing time of 22:57.

I was confident in the fact that Landry had won but my teammate Stephen, my 30-second man, and I were all in contention for second. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that Landry took 1st, Stephen took 2nd, and I rounded out the podium in 3rd. It was a great team performance and I think it is a great sign of things to come for this new team in the coming year. Even though my pacing wasn't as good as it could have been I learned that I have potential when it comes to time trialing, and that there’s room to grow and improve this season."

The really neat thing about these kids is that they are focused, but they still seem to be having FUN. And isn't that what we all hope for with the future of cycling? That our youth wants to put themselves through the suffering because it's FUN? I for one, look at these kids and hope they'll find so much enjoyment in the sport now that they won't give it up by their mid-twenties.

So if you see the Prestige Jr's (or any other Jr. racers out there, for that matter) give them a smile of encouragement. Offer some gentle guidance if asked or needed. They may be faster than some of us, but they are still figuring it all out. Pass the torch and let's keep the sport of cycling alive.

News Item: