When you’re in a car, you’re going too fast to be able to take in all the scenery. On foot, you get to see all the details of your surroundings, but you don’t get to go very far. So “biking …
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When you’re in a car, you’re going too fast to be able to take in all the scenery. On foot, you get to see all the details of your surroundings, but you don’t get to go very far.
So “biking is a happy medium,” said 13-year-old Cate Logan of Golden.
Logan was one of about 30 middle school-aged girls who participated in a free, one-day girls mountain bike skills clinic on July 18.
“It’s fun because we can all relate to each other,” Logan said. “We’re all girls with about the same skill level.”
The clinic was the first endeavor of Golden MTB Development, an offshoot of the Golden High School Mountain Bike Team. Golden MTB Development is a new program that will allow local middle schoolers the opportunity to attend the Golden High School Mountain Bike Team’s twice weekly practices, said Jeff Warner, head coach for the high school team.
“We want to get kids out on bikes and get them to love it. Hopefully, when they get to high school, they’ve already made friends and will want to continue mountain biking on the team,” Warner said. Unlike soccer or other sports that most people don’t continue playing much after college, he added, “bicycling is something you can enjoy your whole life.”
But another goal of Golden MTB Development is to grow the ratio of girls on the high school team, he added.
“Right now, it’s about 12-to-15 percent girls,” Warner said. “But girls should represent at least 25 percent. I know a lot of girls in Golden like to mountain bike.”
Coaching the girls clinic were women professionals and experienced riders with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), the Golden Bike eXperience Juniors (GBX Juniors) and the Golden High School Mountain Bike Team.
MORE: Meet Rebecca Gross, a coach with GBX Juniors
“A lot of the girls already ride, but today is about breaking down the skills,” said Aimee Ross, chair of the board for the Colorado High School Cycling League, who was one of the coaches for the clinic. “This gives them the confidence to go out on the trails.”
Just a few of the skills they learned included preparing to go downhill, how to avoid obstacles and proper breaking.
Anna Hassett, 11, goes mountain biking with her family about twice a month. She enjoys practicing tricks and something new she learned from the clinic was how to wheel lift, she said. Lily Reed, 10, got her first mountain bike when she was 6.
“I learned that you don’t have to do something that you’re not comfortable with,” Reed said.
Maddie Gerritsen, 18, is a varsity state rider on the Golden High School Mountain Bike Team and enjoyed coaching the younger girls at the clinic, she said.
“It’s really cool to see the mountain bike community growing,” Gerritsen said. “This clinic is a great place to learn skills and it’s fun having all the kids here.”
The girls were enthusiastic and excited to learn, and the experience was just as rewarding for the coaches, said Chris Schieffer, a coach for the girls clinic who works at IMBA.
“I just love seeing young women who want to ride mountain bikes,” Schieffer said. “It lights up their world, and it lights up my world.”
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