New for 2011, NEBC put together a Junior Development Team. Within the club and the community in general, there had been a lack of beginner development teams for junior racers and riders, at least at the club level. In the past, NEBC and its dedicated volunteers had been at the forefront of this effort. Unfortunately in recent years, the club membership has swayed more toward the senior side and the number of active club members with junior-aged children has diminished to an extent. This left the club without any definitive junior program and in fact, only a very small number of juniors within the club.
This all changed earlier this season with a few key moves. The club managed to get a couple of active and motivated junior members who were interested in a team. As such, they approached the board of directors. Right about that same time, a young man from outside the club made contact, also looking for a junior development team. At a board of directors meeting in late May a proposal was made and the club jumped on board. A team director volunteered from within the club to help drive the effort and be the club liaison for the team. The NEBC Junior Development Team was born.
The team quickly worked to ramp up with what they had, which was basically no clothing allocation and no budget but a bunch of motivated and enthusiastic members. What we did have was a club full of people that were more than happy to help out. We also had a fair amount of new old stock clothing from the previous vendor inventory. This was not the current run, for which there was no inventory, but it looked pretty much the same minus some sponsor changes, was in stock and was free. That is correct, the club donated the entire leftover inventory of XXL men’s tights and XXS womens bib shorts (I’m mostly kidding) to the team. From that we managed to get multiple jerseys for everyone, as well as a number of other obscure articles like socks, caps, arm warmers, water bottles and T-shirts. This fit with our rag-tag, spur of the moment approach. Despite these shortcomings, we managed to pull together a true team. A team that rode and trained together, a team that raced together and more importantly, a team that bonded and gelled. From these humble beginnings and three members, we quickly grew in size as the word got out. By the end, we had nine members on the squad, all of whom bring something unique to the mix.
We focus on safety, responsibility, respect and fun. Great results are good but respect among your peers and the community in general is paramount. Each of us is an ambassador to the sport and it is through our actions that others, outsiders and insiders alike, view the sport of cycling. Above all, this needs to be fun for all of us. Racing is great but the more important message is that cycling is a wonderful, lifelong sport, be that racing or recreational. We hope to promote the sport that we love so much to these impressionable young men so that they will keep it as part of their lives forever.
It has been a great road season and we look forward to cyclocross, some more mountain biking and all of the new adventures the changing season will bring. A huge thank you goes out to the club members and sponsors, whose multiple donations of countless parts, apparel, advice and time allowed us to not only keep riding and racing through the season but also allowed us to experience some new cycling disciplines, like mountain biking and cyclocross.
For more information on the Junior Development team please contact the Junior Development Team Director or NEBC directly.