Having competed in national cycling events since he was 9 years old, Louisville’s Will Bobrow had piled up a slew of podium finishes but never could seem to cross the finish line first.
“It’s hard to say about a kid who hasn’t even turned 14,” his father, Bob, said, “but it was sort of a monkey on his back.”
But the 13-year-old Bobrow finally broke through last month at the USA Cycling Amateur Road National Championships in North Lake Tahoe, Calif. After finishing fourth in the road race competition on June 25, two days later Bobrow won the time trial in the 13-14-year-old division with a time of 14 minutes, 5.70 seconds.
“Coming in second and third were great results,” Will Bobrow said. “But I knew if I trained harder and faster that I could get a title. When I did all of those steps, I ended up winning.”
Bobrow finished the competition by taking ninth place in the criterium event on June 28. His cumulative finish in the three disciplines (first, fourth and ninth) was the best in his age group.
Cyclists call the time trial “the race of truth” because it’s a competition against the clock rather than other racers. Bobrow, who competes for the Papa John’s Racing Team, won the time trial by a whopping 22 seconds over runner-up David Heath of Alpharetta, Ga.
With the victory, Bobrow earned a stars-and-stripe jersey, akin to the yellow jersey given to the leader in the Tour de France.
“He’s clearly one of the best kids in his age group in the country, and he’s proven that with the medals he’s earned over the years,” Bob Bobrow said. “But you’ve got to get that win. … It was pretty big for him.”
Bob Bobrow raced competitively from 1981-2009 and introduced the sport to his son. Will Bobrow is set to begin his freshman year at Trinity High School and plans to be a member of the cross country team.
But when that season ends in the fall, he will return to cycling.
“I really have to start ramping up my training because once I get into the 15-16-year-old division it gets really serious,” Will Bobrow said. “I see myself being a lot more focused on racing and spending less time goofing around.
“If I keep at cycling – and I’m pretty sure I will because I love to do it – I can see myself in college racing and maybe getting a little money to do it.”
Jason Frakes can be reached at (502) 582-4046 and followed on Twitter @kyhighs.