By Bill Plock
Oct 3, 2022–To have a successful cycling race career is extremely hard, like any professional sport. It requires a significant investment not only in a bike and other equipment, but it comes with a lot of travel and expensive entry fees to get noticed to make that leap from local legend to starting a career as a bike racer.
For Colorado youths they are fortunate to have Colorado Cycling (formerly BRAC) help with a scholarship program to assist those who are hoping and poised to excel nationally and at the world levels.
Since the mid-70’s Colorado Cycling has been responsible for the overall organization of cycling races in Colorado and Southern Wyoming. It’s affiliated with the national governing body of bicycle racing, USA Cycling and works with them to assure that there is a healthy and robust cycling scene. They are responsible for managing the calendar for road, track, and cyclo-cross racing, handling rider upgrades, permitting events through USA Cycling, and assigning officials to all events.
But as part of its Mission, Colorado Cycling helps in the development of youth cycling and growing the sport in general. Says President of Colorado Cycling Andy Johnson, “The Junior Development Grant program is a critical component to support our young racers achieve their goals. Colorado has been the home state of so many young up-and-coming national and world level cyclists. Colorado Cycling has the ability, and in our words a responsibility, to set aside money each year to support this effort.”
This year Colorado Cycling has more requests for assistance than originally budgeted for. They are hoping teams and members, and anyone wishing for the success of youth cycling development will consider donating.
Here is a link to do so: CLICK HERE
Says COBRAS club director Larry Potter, “Helping to kick start Colorado Cycling’s Junior grant fund is another way we can support and promote Junior racing. As a club, we wanted to set an example for other clubs to also support up and coming juniors in Colorado.”
Adding to this says Andy Johnson, “That can mean different dollar amounts to clubs and members, and it is wonderful to see the membership embrace the challenge and support our Junior racers.”
There are two levels of scholarships available. Explains Colorado Cycling board member Joe Lewis, “There is a High Performance Scholarship ($500) and a Promising Rider Scholarship ($250). The High Performance Scholarship is for any young athlete competing at the National or World level, and they need to be a previous or national team member to qualify. The Promising Rider Scholarship gives us more latitude in determining qualifications. The High Performance Scholarship can go up to $1,000 if they are truly exceptional, we are supporting competition at the highest level, and/or there is a real demonstrated need due to hardships.”
Says Andy Johnson, “applicants are evaluated on a first-come-first-served basis and not by age, gender, or any other characteristic. We seem to get a pretty even balance of female and male applicants.”
One such recipient pictured here is Makala Jaramillo who competed in the 2022 Road World championships in Wollongong Australia “it was such a fun race and I am excited to start training for the upcoming season”
Says Joe Lewis, “Recipients have benefitted racing at events like the 17/18 women’s world championships, CX national championships, UCI mountain bike races like Soldier hollow, all kinds of races, we love seeing their success.”
We will try to follow some other recipients and report back!