Boulder Valley Middle School Cyclocross Program

Crystal Juan and JesusCrystal Marentes, Jesus Salazar and Juan Antonio Campos are three seventh grade students at Casey Middle School. All three are members of the school’s Bike Club, a recreational group that meets once a week for rides and clinics and once a week to learn bike mechanics. This fall, the kids learned cyclocross skills and participated in several cross races, including the Valmont Bike Park groundbreaking event and the all-middle-school Middle Cross Bike Fest, which drew 100 youth from around Boulder. In the winter, they ride on Boulder Indoor Cycling’s velodrome. This Spring the club will be doing some mountain bike riding through our ongoing affiliation with Trips for Kids. Bike Club takes three mountain biking camping trips a year – fall, spring break and summer.

Our goal is to expose kids to cycling in all of its wonderful dimensions – recreation, transportation, sport and fitness. We believe that EVERY child, regardless of his or her economic situation should have access to cycling. Most bike club participants do not own a bike. Thanks to Trips for Kids, the Casey PTA and Community Cycles, we have a fleet of bikes for kids to borrow and students earn a bicycle by participating in club activities. After demonstrating consistent and responsible participation, students sign contracts promising to ride to school at least once a week, to wear a helmet (also provided by the club) and to care for the bike.

JJust Go Harder Cyclocross Scholarshipuan, Crystal and Jesus have demonstrated exceptional dedication and talent. They have shown that they have a penchant for riding and racing and are excited to further explore the sport. Juan and Jesus have been participating in advanced track classes through Boulder Junior Cycling. Jesus Salazar has been a member of Bike Club since his sixth grade year. He has shown prowess in both moutain biking and cyclocross, although his most impressive rides have been on the track. Jesus currently holds the record for the fastest lap in the 10-12 age group (a blistering 9.172 seconds). Jesus is a good student, a quiet leader among his peers and a kind, good-natured individual. Juan Campos joined Bike Club this year. He quickly became one of our most enthusiastic and dedicated riders. He is an intern at Full Cycle Bike Shop on Pearl Street and shows a talent for riding and bike mechanics. Crystal is a new addition to Bike Club, though we have been trying to recruit her for some time. Last year she showed her mental toughness by going out for the wrestling team (its only female member). She was lured to Bike Club this winter by stories of speed and daring on the track. From her first day on the track Crystal showed that she has what it takes. Crystal came late to the track program but has already made her mark, crushing most of her male counterparts and showing the spunk and competitiveness essential to a strong bike racer. She was fearless and powerful and quickly took to chasing the boys around the track. She is excited to see where her new sport can take her.

Cyclocross start

Juan and Jesus graduated from the track classes being offered to Casey students and have begun training with Boulder Junior Cycling [BJC] on the track. Coaches for BJC have been impressed with the riding of all three athletes and expressed an interest in incorporating them into their team. Because of financial limitations, these young people would be unable to participate in BJC without scholarships. BJC offers a reduced rate but the fees are still daunting for families that are struggling to get by. Your generous contribution of a $500 grant will help cover the cost of getting these kids licenses, uniforms, weekly coaching and club membership.

Here’s what the kids have to say about being offered the chance to race with Boulder Junior Cycling through a generous grant from Just Go Harder Foundation:

“I love to race bikes because it is so fun when the air flows through my hair but also when I beat the guys. Thanks for giving me a chance to be in Boulder Junior Cycling!”
– Crystal Marentes, 12 years old

“My favorite thing about cycling is that you get to go fast and be competitive. Thanks for letting me be on the cycling team!”
– Juan Antonio Campos

“I like to go fast and push my limits. Thanks for letting me participate in Boulder Junior Cycling!”

– Jesus Salazar

The lessons learned, the obstacles overcome, the limits pushed, the goals attained…these things make up the spirit of sport. One must define success in sport based not on victories alone, but also ask the questions; did I push myself to the edge? Did I learn from my mistakes? How can I apply this to my life beyond sport? The Just Go Harder Foundation provides assistance to those pursuing the answer within themselves.

The Just Go Harder Foundation is a non-profit, 501 (c) 3 organization that relies on fundraising and donations to offset the costs of sport and mentorship program fees.