SANTA CRUZ, CA – Last weekend, I got to spend some time in Santa Cruz with the Bear Development Team during their team camp and sat down with director Stu Bone to get some insight on the team’s background as well as what he has planned for the young adults this year.
What are your goals for this team this year?
A lot of the work that we do on goals is predecated on what are the kids goals…to begin that dialogue on figuring out what the kids want. And really, we want what the kids want, and we want to support them in whatever their objectives are… to achieve what they want to achieve on the bike. I think the habits that they can form in setting goals and achieving them on the bike are going to carry over into other areas of their life, and that’s what’s really going to help them as a person. The goals that I know a lot of our riders have already are a lot of them want to get with bigger teams and develop further into the sport and get with professional teams. A lot of them would like to be on the podium at US Road Nationals… [and] we’ve always made a focus is teaching our kids how to [do] stage race[s].
How many riders do you have total/Who are your riders to watch this year?
We have 7 riders and 2 rider directors. Our U23 team which consists of Tim Aiken, Bryan Duke, and Nick Newcomb… are going to be really fun riders to watch in Northern California. Tommy Lucas has always been fun to watch. Jonathan Christiansen has a lot of potential.
Are there any particular races you are targeting?
“For the juniors, several of the juniors have ambitions to get over to Sittard with USAC, and so the races that matter the most for that process are Sea Otter and Nationals and San Dimas. So those will be our focus with respect to our junior program. With respect to the U23 side of it, Nationals is a big focus and then getting the guys to some stage races like Cascade and things like that are a big focus as well on the U23 side.
Who are some of the sponsors that have stepped up for you?
From the very first day of our program before we even had a roster, Castelli was amazing… They have been that way every year, and they are the best partner we could ever ask for. The custom stuff is made in America… everybody that we meet there/everybody who’s involved with that company we love working with and they’re an amazing company. Giro… their product is awesome. The Aeon is the coolest helmet I’ve ever worn… and then their aero stuff like the Air Attack and the Selector are also great. All the kids are really stoked to wear the Empires this year. Trek really this year stepped up in a big way. From the beginning working with them, we really wanted to become a Trek factory program. And now we are really finding our way into that and the support that Trek offers us is amazing. I am totally shocked by the amount of support that they’re giving us.
It’s amazing to watch creating such a safe environment for them grow into adults and see what the scope is out of racing.
The big thing is that I am a director of a development team, but… a lot of our kids I don’t really want them to go pro. I have friends that are on the World Tour, and I see what their lives are like…and that’s the highest level of the sport when they’re actually making decent money. I also have friends who race domestically, and it’s very hard to be an integrated whole person. Relationships are very challenging, all the travel is challenging, the lifestyle – it’s very bad for your health…What I really want is for these kids to have a great time racing. In high school lots of kids play football…lots of people know that the majority of the kids on the field… isn’t going to become pro, but they still support football, because they know that it is a lot of fun and it teaches good lessons and I view this [team] in that same way. And the other thing is that with the stuff we do on a human level – that’s what makes me want to do this. I don’t get paid to do this (I actually give money to do this), but the part that I enjoy – the part that makes me want to do it – is to see the kids grow in the way they grow. Also when Lululemon sends an ambassador to go through a visions and goals session… it’s apparent that I”m not the only one who feels that way – there are a lot of people around these kids like Chris Burnham (Performance Director), Julia Violich (Women’s Development Team Director), Rob Evans (Rider Director), Stratton Easter (Rider Director), like you. A big part of it is you want to support these kids.
Tell us about some of the riders on your roster.
Bryan Duke is going to be a lot of fun to watch. He’s so bright – he’s the best rider in NorCal to not have a big result, and that’s something that’s going to change this year. [He] is going to get to a bigger program and he wants to be a professional cyclist – and he’s going to be come one. It’s been so fun watching him transform into a leader – when he first showed up he was afraid to talk. [Now] he sets the tone.
Tim Aiken – He makes a habit out of setting goals and accomplishing them. I’ve seen how hard he works: for example – obviously on the bike he rides his plan – he’s super diligent, he’s focused, he’s committed. He does everything right. The way he takes photographs – he’ll say “Look I need to work on… can one of the guys on the team come with me and can I go take pictures?”, and he’ll go out for two hours after a bike race, like at Mt. Hood he did this – and he took pictures of Trevor, and they were amazing photos. For him technically he was teaching himself things, because “these are on my checklist, I need to learn how to do these things better”. For everyone in our program, even me, to be around somebody who does that – is inspiring. He does it on the bike, he does it in school, he does it with the camera, he does it in every area of his life. That kid’s amazing…He’s super strong. Last year his win at San Dimas was huge, and that comes from true belief in himself – he believes he can win. He knows that if he works hard he knows he can do things and so being around him is great.
Tommy Lucas – That kid races with so much emotion. He has so [much heart into it]. I can’t tell you how many times he’s cried at the finish line – when he’s won and when he’s lost. He’s so emotional and so fun to watch for that reason, and he has so much courage. And he has great instincts – that kid finds the front of the race. In a sprint, he finds the right line.
Everyone is going to be fun to watch.
We wish the Bear Development Team success in the races ahead for 2014.
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