Lionhearts Info and Registration




Lionhearts are a junior bicycle racing team within the club Cincinnati Cyclocross Inc.  Lionhearts focus on cyclocross because it is the best discipline for people under the age of 15 to get started in racing.  Lionhearts do also race road and mountain bikes, but the focus is on cyclocross.  Lionhearts is open to anyone within the greater Cincinnati/ Northern Kentucky metropolitan area who will be 18 years old or younger on Dec 31st, 2016 or still a senior in high school.

The Lionhearts take their name from an excellent historical book called “Hearts of Lions: The History of American Bicycle Racing” by Peter Nye.  This book tells the stories of the period when the USA was the hub of international bicycle racing, and the Lionhearts aspire to contribute to the resurgence of the sport in the US that is currently underway.

Purpose of the Team

  • Help those who love cycling to get started in racing and help those who are already racing to improve
  • Help develop the skills and habits of an effective racer including:  technical skills, training, how to use equipment, nutrition, etc.
  • Provide a growth platform for aspiring racers at every age and level
  • Help parents in their work to raise strong and virtuous young men and women


  • A team social environment
  • Direction and advice on starting and advancing in the sport
  • Privileged access to sponsors products and services
  • Age and ability appropriate racing and training opportunities designed for juniors
  • Instruction in acquiring the virtues of a racing cyclist

WHAT IS MY CYCLOCROSS RACING AGE: For the 2016/17 season, cyclocross racing age is your age on December 31, 2017.  In order to purchase a junior racing license from USA Cycling, a rider must be at least 9 years old by Dec 31, 2017.  The oldest age to race as a junior for this season, is 17 years of age on Dec 31, 2016, however we will accept and support those who are still seniors (or below) in high school to help continue to provide support to them. 

2016/17 season Participation Levels

U19 Team –  For those with a cyclocross racing age of 15 to 18.  Ideally kids will have cyclocross as their primary sport for at least 3 months of the racing season. – either Sept – Nov or Oct – Dec. Note that significant training should already be underway by the beginning of July.  Those who already have at least 1 full year of ‘cross racing experience must have a personal fitness training coach and commit to a training plan agreed by Lionhearts Director. The Lionhearts coaching staff will offer a limited number of lower cost personal training options, at additional cost above the team registration fee.  Alternatively racers may hire their own training coach.  Racers In this ages group will have service and leadership opportunities, with an expectation to lead at least 3 Friday Kids on Bikes sessions.  U19 racers will have support from Element Cycles

U15 Team – Designed for those in the 9-14 year old age (Cyclocross Racing Age) group who plan to race regularly.  Team racers are required to race in at least 8 races during the season.  There is no requirement for coaching, but there is an expectation for a minimum number of training hours per week, depending on age (see below).  U15 racers are expected to participate in at least 1 team training session per week during cyclocross season.  Racers at this level have cyclocross as their primary fall/winter sport and limit participation in other sports to devote themselves during the cyclocross season.

Club  –  This participation level is for those who want to race some but who may play another fall/winter sport and so can not commit to the required training and racing schedule as the TEAM racers. Also for the youngest racers who are just getting started and want to be part of the team.    There is no requirement to race, though we love to see everyone racing a lot because we know it’s huge fun and because it is an important part of skill development .  Included are a Lionhearts team jersey and Friday Kids on Bikes membership.  Club level members do not participate in regular Lionhearts team training sessions except by invitation.

Kids on Bikes – These are fun and skill building sessions led by adults and older Lionhearts and take place on Friday evenings from August 19tht to October 21st.  For more detailed information and to register for Fall Kids on Bikes, click here.

What We Are Asking from Racers and Families:

  • You must love to ride your bike and want to increase your skills and get stronger and faster. Cyclocross racing experience is not required.
  • U15 TEAM and U19 TEAM racers must purchase an annual USA Cycling junior racing license ($35)
  • You will need to provide your own bike, ideally a cyclocross bike or converted road bike.  It needs to fit well and be in good operating condition. A properly fitting helmet is also required.  
  • Attend the Tuesday, August 2nd parent meeting
  • Support the team’s fund raising efforts by volunteering, see below:


Team registration fees, volunteerism and fund raising:

Lionhearts team registration fees cover a little less than half of the cost of running our programs. All of our team staff and board are volunteers who love the sport and want to share it with kids.  We make up the difference between costs and team fees by our grass roots fund raising efforts.

We have done considerable benchmarking of other U.S programs in terms of costs and what the teams provide. In terms of registration fees, similar programs in the US cost at least twice and as much as 6 times what Lionhearts fees have traditionally charged.  In order to keep the sport affordable, we do several fund raising efforts and without these we would need to increase the cost of our programs significantly.

Our fundraising events this season will include the following.

In past seasons all Lionhearts registration costs were discounted thanks to the overall team fundraising efforts.  For 2016/17 cyclocross season, Lionhearts are asking all parents of kids in the U15 and U19  levels to commit to at least 10 hours volunteering, and for those at the club level to at least 3 hours.

Continued for 2016/17 – We know that all of our families have very full schedules and juggle many priorities, and may not be able to commit to this and so we are offering a non-discounted registration option for these families.


 Multi-child discount from the same family: 10% off family registration when registering multiple children.

For details and to register for Kids on Bikes only,  please visit 



Lionhearts racers are eligible for discounts on merchandise and service from the following team sponsors.  Details of sponsorships will be communicated after registration.


Biowheels Workshop

Element Cycles

Easton Cycles

SDG Components



All those at the U15 and U19 level will commit to a training plan to build race fitness and cyclocross specific skills.  Minimum recommended training loads are:

Age Minimum Hours per Week
9-10 3
11-12 5
13-14 6
15+ 7

This does not include racing.  Top racers will usually do more than this.  Weeks when there are 2 races on a weekend, training would be reduced.

Everyone should plan on starting the pre-season training early.  Kids who really want to be strong will be starting riding in June;  July is still good; At the very latest – early August.

Weekly team training sessions for U15 and U19 racers will be held Tuesday evenings from August 9th through December, at Kingswood Park.  Lionhearts staff will provide general skill and racing coaching opportunities at these sessions.

Personal training plans available from a personal coach can be a huge boost to the development of a junior racer. These types of individualized plans are not included in the Lionhearts team membership fee.  Professional, USA Cycling licensed coaches typically cost between $100 and $250 per month.  The Lionhearts staff do offer a limited number of individualized training plans at a greatly reduced cost.  Racers at the U19 level who have at least 1 year of racing experience are required to have a personalized training plan.

SEASON:  Lionhearts primarily compete in the Ohio Valley Cyclocross Series

Greater Cincinnati Area Races 

  • Sept 3rd  – Lionheart CX, Mason, OH (This is OUR RACE – the team puts this on)
  • Sept 25th – Harbin Park, Fairfield, OH
  • October 2nd  – Milford, OH
  • Oct 16th– John Bryan State Park, Yellow Springs, OH
  • Oct 29th – 31st  Cincinnati International Cyclocross Festival (this entire weekend is the biggest weekend in the USA all year and is put on by our club, Cincinnati Cyclocross.)
    •  Oct 29th – Devou Park, Covington, KY
    • Oct 30th – Kingswood Park, Mason, OH

National Championships – January 2017  – Hartford, CT


BIKE – A cyclocross bike is the best option, but not having a CX bike should not keep you from racing.   Kids can start out on a mountain bike and can move up to a cyclocross bike when they are sure the sport is for them.  Road bikes which are able to fit cyclocross tires work very well in everything but heavy mud (which we almost never have).  Lighter is better.    Families are responsible  for maintaining bikes in good working order, and showing up for training and racing with a working bike.  Bikes should fit well.

Does my child need 2 bikes? – At the entry level, definitely not.  At the most competitive end of the sport it is normal to have 2 complete bikes and a small number of the Lionhearts racers, those who are competitive at the national level, do have 2 bikes.  These are used when the weather and course conditions on race day make it faster to swap a muddy bike for a clean bike in the pit once or twice per lap.

SHOES/PEDALS – For first year racers, the first upgrade to consider are mountain style clipless pedals and shoes.  For pedals:  Crank Brothers Eggbeater or Candy models, Time ATAC, or Shimano SPD are the most common choice.  Pedals like this greatly increase bike handling and pedaling efficiency.  All Lionhearts LH1 and LH2 should plan on having these by the beginning of September.  The Lionhearts maintain a shoe swap to recycle shoes as kids grow out of theirs.

RESISTANCE TRAINER – Needed later in the season when the days are short, or when bad weather prevents getting outside.  Also useful for warming up at races. Magnetic trainers may be the best option for younger kids, as resistance is often lower than fluid or wind versions.

CLOTHING– The team will provide race clothing according to the participation level selected, and the athletes should always race in the team kit.  Additional clothing may be ordered.  The race team clothing is exclusive to the Lionheart team and will not be worn by anyone else.  Coaches and team staff may wear the kit for training and functions, but will not race in the  Lionhearts kit.  Clothing for the 15+ age group will be distinct but similar in theme to the clothing for the rest of the team.  For 2015 / 16 clothing designs will be similar to last year so those kits will not look out of place.

In addition to what the team provides, you will also need:

  • Dri-fit long sleeve mock tee or similar to wear under the kit when it’s cold
  • Tights to wear under the kit when it’s cold
  • Gloves for when it’s cold.  Race temperatures could be anywhere between 80 and 0 Fahrenheit.
  • Hat / Helmet liner

LICENSE – Everyone over the age of 8 will need a USA Cycling junior racing license.  You can purchase a license that is good for all racing disciplines except BMX. Licenses can be purchases online at  Junior license cost $35 and expire Dec 31st.  You should do this before September 1st as it can take a few weeks to get a license in the mail.

IMPORTANT – when you purchase your license you need to specify your CLUB and TEAM.

TEAM is “LIONHEARTS”.  Club is Cincinnati Cyclocross.

RACE DAY SCHEDULES – Races are usually on Sunday, though there are a few Saturday races.  You should plan to arrive minimum 1.5 to 2 hours before the race start time in order to have the best pre-race preparation  You need to finalize registration, get dressed, and warm up.  Warmups are very important in cyclocross.  Races are very high intensity and your motor needs to be ready at the start.  Courses are also very different and it helps to practice.  There are usually short periods in between races when you can practice on the course and you need to be early to do this.

The team will usually have a team “camp” at races, including a canopy and when it is very cold, a heated space. We will look for help from parents and older racers to set this up.  Whole families are welcome.  Cyclocross is extremely family friendly, and races are fun places to “hang out”.

“MUST DO” RACES – Lionhearts at all levels should try to race in these events, which we know to be some of the best junior events in the country.

  • Saturday, September 3rd: Lionhearts CX, Kingswood Park in Mason; This is a lower-key event and an excellent way to learn to get the jitters out and test equipment and fitness.   Also a fundraiser for the team.
  • Sunday, Oct 2nd –Valley View Nature Preserve CX (near Milford, OH)
  • Saturday, October 29th  and Sunday, October 30th  –  Cincy Cyclocross Festival & Pan-American Championship

WEATHER – Cyclocross races go on in all weather.  Snow, rain, does not matter.  This is sometimes very hard for kids and you need to prepare for it.  But this is one of the things that makes the sport special.  Weather and conditions offer special opportunities for growing in virtue and skill. Weather is one of the things that brings out the best in us.



Director:   Doug Dobrozsi

Membership Coordinator: Julie Herrmann  513-373-6458

Advisory Board:

Matthew Bell, Ted Christian, Doug Dobrozsi, John Gatch,  Larry Haubner, Julie Herrmann, Maciej Kawalkowski, Matt Stierwalt


Registration must be completed on-line.  Payment can be made also on-line.

Optionally, registration can be done on-line and payment made by check.



USEFUL LINKS  Cincinnati Cyclocross, the home club of Lionhearts Jr. Racing and Kids on Bikes  Ohio Cycling Association Lionhearts Jr. Racing Cincinnati Kids on Bikes  Ohio Valley Cyclocross