PDX Devo: Fostering the Next Generation of Racers
Jan 30, 2019
Racing is Oregon is strong. Our home state is fortunate to have a vibrant and constantly growing race community that extends from older adults all the way down to the next generation of cyclists thanks to the fine production of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association. One of the teams hard at work bringing up the next generation is PDX Devo, a youth race team dedicated to teaching life skills through the sport of cycling.
LEARNING LIFE SKILLS THROUGH RACINGPDX Devo Team Leader and OBRA Junior Development Coordinator Joel Fletcher says the coaches emphasize communication and leadership skills, providing the youth racers with invaluable skills that give them a leg up on the race course, and in their daily lives.
“The skills kids learn through bike racing,” Joel says, “easily bleed into other aspects of their lives. How to handle losing, and winning - those are important skills to learn from a young age. The rest of their lives are going to be about winning and losing."
A lot of kids who are attracted to bike racing aren’t drawn to traditional sports. There’s something about the individuality that comes from using one’s own strength to propel the bike that calls to certain kids, and magnetism of team kinship unifies them and helps them succeed.
PDX Devo provides classes, clinics and camps open to any junior racer, even those not on the team. These are opportunities for the kids to hone their skills under the guidance of seasoned racers, but more importantly to be in the presence of other youth racers.
Both in the clinics and at the races, Joel says the opportunity for non-parental hangout time is invaluable. “This is when the kids begin to truly understand themselves. It teaches them a great level of responsibility.”
A SUPPORTIVE RACE COMMUNITYThere is a strong community around Oregon’s cyclocross races, in particular and those are powerful moments for young racers. Thousands of people turn out on race day to participate, spectate and support. The energy is high. Kids get to experience a network of people volunteering their time to support each other and create a fun day outside, a positive scene to witness that they may not necessarily experience elsewhere in their lives.
PDX Devo prides itself on their consistency and style. They conduct weekly training and regular events that kids rely on. They also put a lot of effort into designing unique and colorful apparel the kids can be proud to wear, knowing a lot of work went into designing those kits just for them. The cool designs just might even make them push a little harder, go a little faster.
It would be for kids to get lost in the shuffle of a large race organization like OBRA, but PDX Devo works closely with their racers to ensure they feel supported and included in the race community. The team fosters the kids who are just getting into the sport, and also looks after the elite racers who crave additional resources and are on track to succeed on a grander stage.
PDX Devo has been around long enough that they have seen their young racers go on to coach others, become leaders and even sign pro contracts with teams like Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling Team p/b Maxxis (the new incarnation of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis).
SUGAR IS SUPPORTING PDX DEVO - AND YOU CAN, TOO!PDX Devo has big goals for 2019, and Joel’s confident they’re going to crush them. Their biggest goal is to make it to Cyclocross Nationals, which is being held in Tacoma, Washington. “We want to see a strong force of the PDX Devo team at this event taking place just to the north of us. It’s a cool opportunity to actually make it to such a big race”
There are a lot of barriers to getting into cycling as a sport, and many revolve around the cost of gear. Another one of the team’s 2019 goals is to reduce those barriers and help kids thrive.
That’s why Sugar Wheel Works is proud to be partnering with PDX Devo on a Wheel System Trade In Program. For a limited time, customers can trade in certain wheel systems and earn buy-back value when ordering a new set of Sugar Wheel Works wheels. The old wheels will be donated to the kids of PDX Devo.
Joel says he’s excited for this special project with Sugar Wheel Works “It’s important for our racers to see a female in a leadership role. It’s also important to work with locally owned businesses, to give back to our own community.”
Learn more about the Wheel System Trade In Program to support PDX Devo.