What is Youth Cycling?
The OCA currently has both a road and track series that allows riders between the ages of 9-16 to experience the speed and thrills of racing. The series focuses on participation and fun. With each passing year, more youth riders are participating and higher quality events around the province are taking place. The series’ are driven at the grassroots level with support from racers, parents, clubs and officials. Cyclo-Cross cross and Mountain Bike races continue to be incorporated into the OCUP/Regional race format where youth riders compete within their age and ability level.
Selecting a Youth Development (Road) Series Race Category
The Youth Road Development Series will be an ability based series. Participants will be able to choose from one of five categories depending on both their ability and comfort levels. Participants must be between the ages of 9 and 18 as of December 31st, 2020. Second year Cadets with upgrades and Juniors can do both the Youth and Ontario Cup Series. Participants should consult their club & coaching staff first before choosing a category.
Categories will consist of A Grade through to E Grade. The upper tier grades are for athletes with more experience or a higher comfort level and the lower tier grades are for those newer to the sport. For a detailed breakdown on categories please see the 2020 Youth Road Development Series Guidelines.
The following are the suggested distances for each grade. Distances will vary depending on each race venue. These distances through consultation were deemed appropriate for each category.
A Grade – 40-50 KM
B Grade – 30-40 KM
C Grade – 25-30 KM
D Grade – 15-20 KM
E Grade – 10-15 KM
The 2020 Youth Road Development Series Schedule
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the 2020 Youth Development Race series is currently on hold to be re-evaluated once racing is once again allowed in the province of Ontario.
The Youth Road Development Series will consist of a road race as the core event and one additional event. The additional event may be a sprint challenge, team or individual time trial, skill session, hill climb, or a grasstrack race. Parents and coaches are encouraged to pick a category for their youth rider that is ability specific and challenging.
The wearing of a CSA approved helmet is mandatory, however Aero helmets are not permitted. Cycling gloves are strongly recommended. The participants are encouraged to ride on a road-racing bicycle however other suitable bicycles may be utilized. All equipment must be in good repair, have adequate tires and operating brakes. Carbon/Disc wheels are not permitted.
- Aero helmets are not permitted
- No bar ends or aero bars permitted.
- Disc wheels are not permitted.
All participants in the Youth Road Development Series must be a licenced member of the OCA. Licencing is as follows.
|Category||Citizen Permit||UCI Licence||Affiliate Club Membership|
|A Grade||√||√||Not Permitted|
|B Grade||√||√||Not Permitted|
|C Grade||√||√||Not Permitted|
|D Grade||√||√||Not Permitted|
|E Grade||√||√||Not Permitted|
Licenses must be purchased two weeks in advance of the first event in order to allow for processing time. Be sure to have your license in advance of the first race!
Under the new Youth Road Series format, each event will be run with ability based categories. That means that every rider, regardless of their age will have to meet the Cadet gear restriction at a minimum which is 7.12 meters. We still encourage athletes to implement the gear restriction base on their age set out by Cycling Canada. The rollout distances can be found below:
|NATIONAL YOUTH CATEGORY GEAR RESTRICTIONS|
|U17||7.12 M rollout|
|U15||6.71 M rollout|
|U13||6.2 M rollout|
Track Development Youth Series
The Track Development Youth Series has been designed to optimize the development of our young athletes through a format that removes the emphasis on winning and instead focuses on skill development. Riders will now select their category based on their own ability. The ability categories will allow athletes at different levels of physical maturity or time in the sport to participate in meaningful mixed gender competition. This will also provide better opportunities for young riders to develop skills and progress as an athlete, and be challenged by other riders of a similar ability.
Riders select their category based on their own ability. This is to further align the Track Development Youth Series with the Long Term Athlete Development Model (LTAD) This alignment will allow first time riders to select a category that they are both comfortable with and allow them to work their way up to competing in a more advanced category. Under the new system males and females will be racing together with riders of the same caliber. Cycling Canada’s Track Cycling LTAD Model states:
- It is deemed essential to base cycling-specific training on developmental age, not on chronological age
- It is essential to understand that when working with young athletes, we are not simply preparing them for our sport, but for all sports- and that by offering well-rounded development that builds physical literacy, we are also preparing them for a more active, healthy lifestyle
- Young athletes of the same chronological age can vary widely in their development, ability to learn skills, and emotional readiness for competition. Over-emphasis on skills and tactics the athlete is not ready to learn, or intensive competition, can take the FUN out of sport.
- Young athletes deserve a program appropriate to their own stage of development.
The emphasis on ‘Winning’ in the Track Development Youth Series has been reduced:
- Winning does not allow room for failure and learning
- Winning is all about the outcome, not the process of developing proper skills
- Winning rarely wields room for development; proper development inevitably leads to success
How to get involved?
- Participants should be between the ages of 9 & 18
- Have a working bicycle
- Possess a Citizen Permit or a UCI licence
- It is preferred that participants have some racing experience
Each race will feature 3-4 different events for each category. Please refer to the event calendar and the corresponding tech guide for event descriptions as well as a list of events to be held. Events such as:
- Standing 250M
- Standing 500M
- Scratch Races
- Points Races
- Chariot Races
- Point a Lap
- Flying Lap
- Longest Lap