The Taos Area High School Mountain Bike Team has officially begun its third season of offering Northern New Mexico students the opportunity to train as a team and race mountain bikes.
This team is open to anyone who rides bikes, enjoys being outside and is in high school in Northern New Mexico. Practices began this past week and will take place on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and Sundays. The competitive season begins Aug. 27, when the team will travel to Frisco, Colorado, for its first race.
The team is part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association and the team competes in the Colorado League with four regular-season races taking place from Aug. 27-Oct. 22 on alternating weekends. The Colorado League consists of teams from Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. It was reported that there were 1,076 high school riders and 330 coaches involved in the league in 2016. The league touts its mission, which is to “provide student-athletes with exceptional mountain biking opportunities with the goal of building strong minds, bodies and character one pedal stroke at a time.”
“We invite athletes of all levels to join this inclusive team,” said Susie Fiore, executive director of the Field Institute of Taos and team coach. “This team aims to promote camaraderie and fun while developing bike handling skills, healthy competitiveness, fitness and, most importantly, a healthy active lifestyle.”
Fiore said, “Like other schools racing in the Colorado League, our program seeks to strike a balance between being a competitive individual and team sport while retaining some gentler recreation club qualities. For athletes new to cycling, immediate immersion into training, racing and the perceived pressure to perform may be intimidating.”
For this reason, the league has carefully designed individual racing classes so beginners, intermediate and advanced riders are pitted only against peers of similar ability and experience. Each team’s coaches do their best to carefully place riders in the following categories: freshmen, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity.
The Colorado League was founded in 2009 and the first season of competition took place in the fall of 2010.
National Interscholastic Cycling Association high school leagues are made up of cross-country mountain bike teams. All races within the high school leagues are cross-country style. The goal of this team and of the NICA is to bring mountain biking into the high school arena as a legitimate, respected, accessible sport while developing the love of a lifelong sport in student-athletes.
Athletes will need an appropriate bike, cycling clothing and other items. Parents are asked to consult with coaches before buying equipment and gear.
“We can help interested riders get the right gear and minimize the cost,” said Fiore. “We also have free gear people have donated to the team that is available to borrow. We also encourage riders to buy their necessary items locally.”
Bicycles and helmets must be inspected and approved for function and safety, then reinspected at regular intervals. Local bike shops in Taos show support by providing discounts to the bike team.
For more information or to download a registration form, visit fitaos.org or email Coach Fiore at email@example.com.
2017 Taos Area Mountain Bike Team schedule
August 6 – Practice begins
August 27 – Frisco Bay Invitational: Frisco, CO
Sep. 10 – Cloud City Challenge: Leadville, CO
Sep. 24 – Granby Ranch Roundup: Granby, CO
Oct. 7 – Chalk Creek Stampede: Nathrop, CO
Oct. 14 – Ride the Rift (team fundraiser)