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Mountain Biking Takes the Stage

Photo+Credit%3A+Linda+Guerrette+Photography
Photo Credit: Linda Guerrette Photography

Photo Credit: Linda Guerrette Photography

Photo Credit: Linda Guerrette Photography

Grahm Tuohy-Gaydos, Staff Reporter

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A group of girls rode towards the finish, grit and determination flashing across their faces, all with a singular focus on winning the state title in high school mountain biking on their minds. As they made their way through the sweeping S turns of the final downhill, the roaring crowd screamed and cheered for the top group of riders. Hanging on the tail end of the group was a competitor from the Green Mountain Composite High School Team, named Sofia Forney, racing for the finish line. Though she wouldn’t win the race, her 4th place effort in the JV division was easily the top performance by any underclassman on that day.

As she rode back to her tent, her teammates offered her congratulations and a pat on the back. As one Green Mountain rider put it, “It is the friendly atmosphere that really makes it a team”. And it turns out, that racer is not alone. The Colorado Mountain Bike League may be relatively new to the state, only being founded in 2009. However, the sport has gone from a small handful of riders to just over 1300 racers with a bustling community of fans and coaches. The sport is gaining popularity quite quickly among schools eager to provide new activities for students to enjoy, and the once small sport only found in a few regions across Colorado is now a statewide phenomenon. And although it is not yet an officially recognized CHSAA sport, that hasn’t seemed to slow its growth

 

The Green Mountain Composite Team is a bit of a misnomer as it isn’t officially affiliated with the school. In fact, athletes come from a variety of high schools including D’Evelyn, Heritage, Green Mountain, and home-schooling. All that is required is an interest in mountain biking, and a desire to try a new experience. The team is coached by licensed professionals and currently has about 15-17 members. “We’re a tight-knit group,” says junior Caleb Neel, “ but we are always looking for new members”. And although the team is on the smaller side, it’s not surprising to see their athletes on the podium for most races. At the state meet last weekend, the group would come home with three fourth-place medals, two 8th places, and the team runner-up trophy in division two, only a few points behind the Durango Developmental Team. “It was a nice way to finish up the season.” added senior Alex Campbell.

 

I got to sit down with Caleb Neel to discuss the team and what he enjoys about it. He was eager to sell the sport to newcomers. Caleb gave me some great reasons for joining the team, “Though mountain biking seems hard, this element is what makes it so fun. It creates an atmosphere where everyone can learn and become a better athlete, Something not possible in most sports’.” And this view is equally shared among multiple riders, hailing from different schools across the state. Mountain biking is seemingly becoming the sport for those who want to become better racers and people.

 

Mountain biking will hopefully become a school-sponsored sport next year. The hope is to see the sport among the newest for Green Mountain Students to participate in.

 

 

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