Bend junior cyclist accepted into USA Cycling Olympic Development Academy

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Natasha Visnack of Bend, a 17-year old junior cyclocross competitor, has been accepted into the USA Cycling Olympic Development Academy for cyclocross. The ODA is the best, most comprehensive cyclocross development program in North America for junior and U-23 athletes.

The program, run by world championship level coaches and program directors, comprises of individualized coaching and support, and the opportunities to train and compete in top-level events in the USA.

Natasha is a junior and straight-A student at Summit High School and has been cyclocross and mountain bike racing for the past five years.

Visnack has had much success competing in the junior, Cat 1 Women, Elite Women, and Pro Open Women categories. She has raced in four national championship competitions, won numerous series titles, and completed in the 2021 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships in Winter Park, Colorado, placing third in the Junior Women High School category.

Visnack is slated to compete at the Cyclocross National Championships later this year in Chicago, IL.

“I am so excited to participate in the ODA, it is really a dream come true,” says Visnack. “I always want to challenge myself, and this is a great opportunity to learn from some of the best coaches in the nation.”

In addition to racing, Visnack is passionate about the sport of cycling and loves to share this passion with others. She has volunteered with the Bend Endurance Academy and Girls All-Ride programs, is the Chair of the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Junior Committee, and is the founder of the Summit High School Mountain Bike Club.

“Over the past few years, I have dedicated myself to improving access to cycling for juniors, especially junior girls, and helping to create a welcoming environment for riders regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation,” Visnack continues. “That was my main goal in creating the Mountain Bike Club at Summit High School. I want to help remove barriers for people, and share my passion for cycling and the outdoors. Through the ODA, I will be able to learn from the best on how to become a better athlete and will bring what I learn home to share with others.”

The Visnack family hopes to raise $9,000 for tuition and travel expenses for the program. Tuition includes coaching, housing, and support at races across the country this fall.  Donations to assist for this program can be made .

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