Bear Development Team, Part II
11 July 2011
This is the second in a multiple-part profile on the Bear Development Team. Stu Bone discussed the team’s formation and philosophy in Bear to the Bone. This article looks at the team racing in Northern California.
The Bear Dev Juniors compete in Northern California and often in the Pro/1/2 field. Earlier this year, at the Topsport Stage Race, Kurt Wolfgang complimented the team saying “It’s impressive to see their awareness of race strategy. They’re experienced but they ride like they’re much older. They know what a good move is, do work when it needs to be done, and animate things. It’s always great to see.”
“I haven’t been working with teenagers that long,” admitted team co-founder and Managing Director Stu Bone, “but it is long enough to see the cues they take are from each other. Take somebody like Sam Cerruti who proved he was a talented bike racer before he became a part of our program. Once he did, [Cerrutti] upped his game.
“Part of that was he started riding with Tobin [Ortenblad] every week and seeing the level of commitment, intensity, talent, and hard work Tobin [Ortenblad] brings to the sport. [Ortenblad] wanted to help Sam [Cerrutti] and offered him advice and guidance. It’s the same with Trevor Ellsworth and Tommy Lucas. Bryan Duke and Tobin Ortenblad are two of the most natural leaders I’ve ever met. There’s this organic way they push each other to become better bike racers.
“Every single race we sit down before and after to talk about the strategy. I’m not somebody coming from a history of bike racing, dictating the race plan and terms. This is a democratic discussion about what do the guys feel we should do today, who feels good, who has a chance, who’s ready to work. That level of constantly talking about bike racing strategy has educated all of us on how to race a bike and tactically what cards to play.”
Bear Dev has many supporters that include Ben Jacques-Maynes and Road Team Directors Kat Carroll and Rob Evans. They are “always ready to talk strategy with these kids”, provide “insanely poignant and honed insights”, or share knowledge and experiences of NorCal races. Riders also have access to good understanding of power, nutrition, and workout plans through Performance Director Chris Burnham.
“Put all these players around these kids but mostly put these kids around these kids and they keep rising,” stated Bone.
Bear Dev Reaps
“Here’s the thing, you go to Nationals or some of the bigger races, and you look at the talent pool. There’s no doubt California has some of the best talent pool in the country,” continued Bone. “This year there’s a particularly strong crop of juniors. It is insane how talented the junior field is this year. Up here there is Tim Aiken, Adrien Costa, Owen Gillott, and Zeke Mostov. All these guys are really talented bike racers.
“The interesting thing is they’re not racing each other. They are racing grown men. Everybody is in the Pro/1/2 fields. Tim Aiken won the 2s at San Dimas. Adrien Costa doing what he does is amazing. Tommy Lucas wins Cat’s Hill in the 3s and he’s 15 years old. Even Jack Maddux is only racing age 16 and he’s right in there at Mt Hamilton.
“At a lot of different levels there is the quality of the riders. Leave the juniors out of it and talk about Tyler Brandt (Get Crackin’) or Chuck Hutcheson and Justin Rossi at Mark Pro-Strava, and the Cal Giant guys that are local. Logan Loader has been a great on-the-road mentor to some of our kids. There are just so many guys in the community that are super-talented that are also supportive of these juniors. They’re willing to take them aside and give advice.
“Then you look at the quality of the races: Berkeley Hills, Wente, Cat’s Hill, Mt Hamilton, Pescadero. That level of racing doesn’t exist in a lot of places.
“Looking at who USA Cycling takes to Europe and how many of those kids are from California, you couldn’t help but say racing in NorCal has a huge impact on who these kids are, as bike racers, and their steep learning-curves.”
Bear Dev Gives in Return
“The first thing is we’re a lot of fun. People go to races, see us, and they like our kids,” described Bone. “Our kids are smiling, talking, meeting new people, shaking hands, and making friends. They’re doing work at the front of a race and contributing in a very organic way to the nature of racing scene in Northern California.
“Also, Bear Development Team is developing riders who are going to become Pro’s and bring notoriety to communities like Santa Cruz, Reno, or Santa Rosa. [They will] enrich the cycling culture in those communities because we’re developing kids for the next level.
“Most important, I am most proud of the way everybody treated each other at “brocamp” [the now annual team's summer tour to Road Nationals and Cascade]. They looked out for each other, became friends, and became a real team. You have that experience and then believe it will happen again and again.
“A bike race where guys are yelling and cussing at each other, that “eat your young” vibe that exists in cycling, is not the culture of our program. That’s not the culture these kids will bring into NorCal. Our kids have seen how rich this experience has been because of those friendships. I think our kids will return a lot to the Northern California Cycling community because of who they are.”
Visit NorCal Cycling News again soon to read about Rob Evans’ involvement in Bear Dev and from team members Tim Aiken and Bryan Duke.
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