Sanders: MPHS mountain bike team, first race, classic Winter Park rides | SkyHiNews.com

Sanders: MPHS mountain bike team, first race, classic Winter Park rides

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Lee Lau on Yankee Doodle.

Our very own Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Club has their first race of the year on Saturday in Frisco. These athletes have been training very hard this summer in preparation for the five race Colorado High School Cycling League Race Series. Fortunately they have a great place to train, right here in Mountain Bike Capital USA AKA Winter Park and the Fraser Valley.

The Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Club has a wide range of athletes. As you would expect you have those who are pretty accomplished riders but there are also those riders who are just getting into mountain biking. The great thing about the Colorado High School Cycling League is that everyone is welcome to participate.

The club has been training hard. Racing a mountain bike is not just about power or bombing down the hill. You have to have the combination of endurance, power and bike handling skills. In order to improve on all of those skills training takes on a wide variety of aspects. Specific skills to improve braking, cornering and overall bike handling are practiced several times a week. This practice not only helps prepare them for racing but it allows them to become better riders and enjoy mountain biking more.

The Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Club has a distinct advantage over many other clubs racing in the series. They train on some of the best and most accessible trails in the country, which are right here in Mountain Bike Capital USA which encompasses the trails from Winter Park to Granby Ranch. The wide variety of trails is perfect to allow all levels of riders the ability to train at their skill level. Every ride has adults along to oversee the ride. As with any sport this requires quite a few volunteers to make that happen. Part of the reward is seeing the enthusiasm and excitement from everyone involved. Of course just being out on your mountain bike isn't all bad either. I guess the downside is that as the kids get better the adults have to get better just to keep up! Join me in wishing all of the athletes of the Middle Park High School Mountain Bike Club good luck in their first race of the season!

Winter Park classic rides

Last week I was able to be ride with a couple of writers who came out to sample the trails in Winter Park, Trestle and Granby Ranch. Lee Lau and Sharon Bader are very accomplished writers who came out from the wilds of Canada to see firsthand how great the riding is here. They sampled the trails in and around the Town of Winter Park riding classics such as Leap Frog, Yankee Doodle and Idlewild. The experience had to take a trip to Trestle for some world class downhill fun. Of course it wouldn't be complete without tossing in a day at Granby Ranch with its combination of sweet singletrack and downhill bliss as well. When you put all of those combinations together you have a mountain bike experience like nowhere else in the USA. Hundreds of miles of cross country trails and two world-class bike parks all in the same area. This gives Winter Park a distinctive marketing advantage in the world of mountain biking and outdoor recreation in general. Lee and Sharon were very impressed with the very high quality of trails immediately accessible from just about anywhere in area. As Lee Lau put it, why would anyone not come here to ride when it's only an hour and a half from Denver. I'm excited to see the articles they write from this trip. Their enthusiasm and excitement was contagious!

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A big thanks to Greg Mazu – Fraser local and owner of Single Track Trails for inviting them out. A big thanks to the Winter Park Chamber for coordinating their lodging and helping make this happen by managing many of the other little behind the line details. There are many others who made this happen as well and huge thanks goes out to all of them.

Beavers Sports Shop does a weekly group mountain bike ride every Friday at 6 p.m. from Beavers Sports Shop at the Best Western Hotel in downtown Winter Park. The ride is open to anyone of intermediate ability and above. The pace and type of trails are determined by the group. Call 970-726-5988 for more info. Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber! Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach me at keith@winterparkskirental.com

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