The Le Mars community was well represented at cyclocross nationals in Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday, Jan. 7.

Central Junior Cycling (CJC), a prospering youth cycling organization, sent four of its best cyclists, Luke Skov, Luke Feuerhelm, Dakota Olsen, and Lilly Ferguson, all of Le Mars.

Skov raced in the 15-16 year old division and placed 30th. Feuerhelm and Olsen raced in the 13-14 year old division and placed fourth and 12th, respectively. Ferguson raced in the 13-14 year old division on the girls side and placed 10th.

The four cyclists can add their performances to a sparkling list of achievements this season.

Skov won the Iowa State Championship, with Feuerhelm and Olsen sweeping the podium behind him in the 13-18 year old age group.

Ferguson also won the Iowa State Championship on the girl's side, as well as the Illinois and Nebraska State Championships.

Feuerhelm and Olsen took second and third in Illinois.

Their coach, Monte Brent, said it's amazing to witness the success of his cyclists.

"It's pretty spectacular that our small little town of Le Mars is cranking out some first-class cycling athletes, we're pretty proud of them," Brent said. "This year these kids have raced as far away to the west as Denver, Colorado, Minneapolis to the north, Kansas City, Chicago, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky. We go a long ways to race other kids that are in the top of the rankings so we can kind of see where we're at."

The strong community support the program receives was apparent with the crowd that showed up at Bike Central on Jan. 3 to see the cyclists off.

"All the kids in our program do a fantastic job," Brent said. "These are just four kids that really put in a lot of time and effort and have gone to a lot of different races throughout the year. They definitely do a lot of extra work."

Brent said he never foresaw how popular or competitive CJC would become.

"If you were going to tell me four years ago when we got started with this program that we were going to have one, let alone four cyclists going to nationals, I would've said there's no way that is going to happen," he said. "Five years ago, competitive cycling in northwest Iowa was unheard of. Now, we go across the state and people are in awe of what this program has done."







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