Students Race on Bear Development Team


FORMATION: Bear members pedal together during a race. Photo courtesy of: Stu Bone

By Cody Duane-McGlashan

FORMATION: Bear members pedal together during a race. Photo courtesy of: Stu Bone

Cycling is one of the few sports that require an all-out lung aching, quad burning effort. The Bear Development Team, established in 2012, is a squad of 16 to 21-year-olds who have devoted themselves to winning races. The team has won three state championships this season in the 17-18 year old road biking category.

Bear, which operates independently of Tam, focuses on road racing. Because of Trek, their new sponsor, they now have more flexibility with regards to racing mountain bikes. Seniors Spence Peterson and Alex Howard are on the team, and race with riders from a variety of locations, including Fairfax, Sausalito and Santa Cruz. Each rider has an individual fitness coach and personal workout routines, and meets for training camps throughout the season to work on team tactics.

The team director, Stu Bone, is in charge of planning and the overall process. “He’s put the team together and found all the sponsors. He does the most work,” Howard said. The team also has experienced coaches who help individual riders with their tactics.

During races, the team works for one rider, which is different from the idea of individualized bicycle racing. They help draft (blocking the wind, making riding easier), and support that rider towards the win.

“When we race, we work for one person, but that person varies,” Peterson said.

Bone put the team together last fall with the main sponsor, Ritte (a road bike manufacturer), but since, sponsorship has changed to Bear, the nonprofit controlling entity behind the team. Both Peterson and Howard have been on the team since its start last year. Since then, the team has become more selective and difficult to make, and the chance of Bear riders going pro is increasing.

“I will definitely race in college,” Peterson said. “I know some of the guys on the team are extremely focused on going professional instead of choosing the college route, but I’m choosing to go to college and then decide what I want to do after.”