Young competitors show what they are made of |

Young competitors show what they are made of

Simon Zink, team member of the Steamboat Springs High School Mountain Bike Racing team competes in the Cloud City Challenge in Leadville. The documentary showing "SingleTrack High" at Gondola Square on Saturday will benefit the local biking team.
Courtesy Photo

If you go

What: Special IMBA showing: "SingleTrack High." Benefit for the Steamboat High School Mountain Bike Composite Team.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Gondola Square at Steamboat Ski Area

— At just 7 years old, Steamboat Springs High School junior Simon Zink remembers his first mountain biking experience with his dad.

Everything from the speed of his bike to the peaceful tranquility of the woods while on the trail got him hooked.

Fast-forward a few years, and he is competing against kids his age and even adults.

“It’s really cool to see so many kids my age in some of the races,” he said about competing on the high school mountain bike team. “This year, I am really looking forward to trying my best and doing better than last year because I know what to expect.”

Last year, Scott Myller and Blair Seymour coached the Colorado High School League Mountain Bike racing team for the first time. Kicking off their second year is an event that happens to fall on a monumental weekend for Bike Town USA.

This Saturday, residents and visitors in town — especially for the IMBA World Summit — can catch a public outdoor film screening in Gondola Square of “Singletrack High,” a documentary about NorCal High School Cycling League and the significant impact of high school mountain biking across the country.

“Steamboat is a huge bike mecca,” said Katie Rau, head of the Colorado high school mountain biking league. “It just comes to show the partnership of bike organizations here and Steamboat’s willingness to embrace the mountain biking culture here.”

Taking strong strides within the past few years, mountain biking as a high school sport has started to catch on in cities all across the U.S. With origins in Northern California, the first high school leagues emerged in the early 2000s. Today, those are managed by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.

“The movie shows how cycling is really growing nationally and the impact it has on communities like ours,” Myller said.

While the film was produced in California, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association has made it available to high school leagues across the U.S. to use as a fundraiser for their local team. The money collected from the event will go toward the cost of travel to the team’s races throughout the season.

Profiling a range of student athletes and reflecting the diversity of students, the inclusiveness of the sport is evident in all facets of training and competition.

“The sport accepts anyone and everyone,” Myller said. “At competitions, the sentiment is noticeable. You see the kids cheering each other on no matter what level they are at.”

Training three to five times per week, the schedule of the bike team offers a flexibility that allows students to be involved in other primary sports.

“I think the mountain bike team at the high school level is a great thing to give kids a chance to get involved with another sport in the fall,” said Seymour, who also is an avid biker herself. “It offers them the opportunity to ride with others to connect and develop a different kind of camaraderie with the team.”

Sharing their passion for mountain biking knowledge of the sport, coaches and organizers are ardent about spreading the word and getting other kids involved with biking.

“I am a huge fan of positive youth development,” Rau said. “It’s a no-brainer to get kids involved as a way to keep kids healthy, get them outside and to give them positive mentors.”

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1

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