California-based mountain bike team builds community and launches pros
Bear Development Team aims high. With their U23 and junior cross-country riders hailing from 13 states, Bear Devo seeks out a competitive schedule of races at home and abroad. In 2019, they took home seven national titles.
Ages on the team range from U23 racers down to 15-year-olds. Riders compete at the elite and amateur levels with top talent traveling to compete in the UCI World Cup Series.
In 2020, they have more than 30 riders wearing the bright Bear kit. Every year, Bear Devo hopes to help riders reach the highest level of racing that they aspire to achieve, including going all the way to the pro level.
Bear Devo invests in the future of mountain biking by helping riders develop both technically and personally. The outcome is well-rounded people who are also great racers.
“Our purpose is motivating kids to be on their A-game on and off the bike,” Team director and co-founder Julia Violich said. “We want Bear Devo riders to be ambassadors for the sport that give back even when they’re not racing.”
Along with all racing teams, the 2020 season is evolving every day in response to the coronavirus. But Julia says the stoke is still high.
“Riders are spending their long training rides solo. We are going to commence an educational series via Zoom to keep up connected and to share information interactively about nutrition, bike care, sports psychology and indoor strength training,” she said.
Bear Devo pride themselves on their achievements off the bike with hundreds of volunteer hours completed by the team members each year to do trail work and provide cycling clinics for kids.
Last year, Bear riders contributed 190 hours of volunteer time. This year, they are continuing their service and adding to it. Together, the team decided to highlight options for teens to ride rather than drive.
“The team wants to encourage more kids to get on bikes. Not just little kids, but their friends. And not just to race, to get to school, to go see friends, anywhere they might drive instead of bike,” Julia said. “I know a lot of them are very conscious of what’s going on with the environment.”
Keep an eye out for great things from these motivated young riders in 2020 and beyond.