MTN BIKE JUNIOR LEAGUE
WHAT IS MTN BIKE JUNIOR LEAGUE?
Welcome to Mountain Bike Junior League (for a good story ask me about the program’s original name and the lawsuit we were threatened with…LOL).
Hundreds of kids have come before you and have helped to shape a very unique and rewarding program!
There are no mandatory components to the program. Prefer to come to the Group Rides and not race? No problem! Prefer to race and not come to the Group Rides? Still not a problem! Prefer to pay the fee just to get a cool jersey and support the program? Still no problem but at least give it a try will ya? Mountain Bike Junior League is casual! It’s fun! It’s almost free!
If you’ve ever wanted to be a mountain biker and just didn’t know how to get into it then you’ve come to the right place. Let us share our passion with you and your family!
What is Mountain Bike Junior League?
Good question. A question that requires a little background info. It started in 2001 with the birth of Maverick Sports Promotions.
The roots of the league are pretty humble. We put our heads together and came up with ways to remove the obstacles that might be preventing kids from riding and racing their bikes. While we couldn’t do much about the cost of buying a bike, we could do something about the cost of participating in the local Wednesday night series, The Summit Mountain Challenge. The answer was simple: make it free to all juniors. So we did!
I’d like to say that the rest was history, but that would be untrue. At our first race of 2001 we had 11 juniors. It was a little underwhelming. Then at the second race we had 16. Better, but still not great. At the next race we had 25 junior racers. Not an out-and-out impressive number, but a validation of the fact that participation was on the rise. By the end of the summer of 2001 we had three races in the books with over 50 junior competitors. It was a huge victory!
The idea when it came was simple; why reinvent the wheel? There are kids programs that have been around for over half a century, Little League and Pop Warner Football being two good examples. What we ended up doing was “borrowing” elements from other youth programs and blending them or altering them to make them more relevant in our community. The result is called Mountain Bike Junior League (ask me about the original name of the program and the lawsuit that almost came down on my head).
We’d keep it free, or at least very cheap, and we’d sell team sponsorships to local merchants to offset the administrative costs. All the kids would get a custom jersey, free entry into the Summit Mt. Challenge races, and the opportunity to attend group rides throughout the summer. Awesome! We couldn’t wait. Here’s where it got real interesting!
Summit County is an area unique in the United States in that we are winning the battle of trail access and use (this is due in LARGE part to the dedicated work of Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, Summit County Mountain Bike Alliance (SCOMBA) and local Open Space and Trails Planners) We serve as a great example to other communities that are faced with user-conflict and trail damage issues. We’re winning the war, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t losing a battle or two here and there.
We’ve all seen someone who doesn’t know the drill come ripping around a corner sliding or skidding their rear tire. We’ve seen the occasional rider going around wet spots in the trail thus widening it (called braiding), or even blatantly riding when conditions are just too wet. It’s probably safe to assume that some of these folks are idiots, but all of them? We prefer not to think so. You have to believe that some of the bad behavior out there was the result of ignorance. Bandit trails were popping up all over the backcountry. A well-placed piece of education could go a long way in reducing the number of trail abusers out there. Here at last, with a kid’s program that we felt was going to be huge in terms of participation, was an opportunity. A huge one.
What started out as a youth development program turned into an environmental stewardship program before the first kid even signed up. The racing and the jersey are the ‘bait’. They’re what get kids interested. The ‘switch’ is the education that they walk away with. The kids learn about the environment, how to interact with other trail users, trail etiquette, some basic rules of the backcountry, and basic riding techniques. They learn about racing and healthy competition. They learn to overcome adversity and to be independent. They learn to have fun and respect each other. They learn to take joy in each other’s victories and console each other in defeat. We firmly believe that sport can be a healthy, safe, fun, and upbeat atmosphere. It produces better, more well-rounded human beings.
Some kids that started with us have pursued competitive cycling at the National and International level. Many MTB Junior Leaguers have stood on the podium of big events. That is somewhat gratifying. More rewarding is the fact that a new generation of backcountry users has been born. A new culture has taken shape.
So thanks for signing your kid up. From everyone who ever rode a bike or used a trail.
GROUP RIDE INFO
Monday Group Rides are from 5-7pm. Locations/directions will be published here in the days leading up.
Parents are welcome at Monday rides, with child’s approval of course!
Parents are not allowed at Big Ride Thursdays.
MONDAY, July 26 5:00-7:00pm
Also, participants must sign up on THIS FORM.
Meet at the Keystone Stables!
GROUP RIDE DATES
Here are the MONDAY dates for 2021:
June 7, 14, 21, 28
July 12, 19, 26
August 2, 9, 16, 23
Group Rides are FREE and open to anyone with one restriction. Those on 20″ wheels must have their own chaperone.
Please arrive with your bike ready to go. There are many great shops here in Summit County that provide excellent service.
Riding Groups will be divided by Age and Gender. That said, more experienced riders will be welcome to “Ride up” and conversely, older riders with less experience are welcome to “Ride down”.
To be placed in a group, YOU MUST SIGN UP for each Group Ride on THIS FORM! This applies to everyone…even those signed up for the League.
Groups pre-formed ahead of time based on gender and Racing Age (how old you will be on August 25)
Helmet-properly fitted and straps adjusted.
Extra Tube/Flat Repair
Rain Jacket (optional if weather is looking really good)
BIG RIDE THURSDAYS-Rides meet at 8:45am and end at approximately 1:30pm
RIDE #1-JUNE 17
RIDE #2-JULY 8-CANCELLED
RIDE #3-JULY 22
RIDE #4-AUGUST 5
RIDE #5-August 19
Ride Specific List:
You must be at least 11 years of age AND pre-approved.
Please use the MTB Junior League Group Ride form to let us know you’re interested.
Open to the first 10 approved registrants. We will consider expanding group size for future dates based on interest.
Big Rides focus on:
- Longer back country rides which include sections of NO CELL COVERAGE
- Fun and safety!
- Being self-sufficient
- Map reading/Route finding
- Group Riding Dynamics/Trail Tag
- Adjusting riding style based on location/consequences
- What to do if you’re injured
- Hydration and nutrition basics
Here are some other details:
- Riders must be capable of a 4-5 hour outing
- Big Rides are 15-20 miles in length
- Riders must be capable of sustained climbing for at least 30 minutes
- Rain jacket/wind layer
- Flat repair (tube, tire levers, pump or CO2)
- Eye Protection
- Gloves (preferably long fingered)
- Enough Food and hydration for 4-5 hours
Here are the race categories:
Junior Racing Age is determined by how old you will be on August 25, 2021
- Junior Boys 10 & Under (15-45 minute course depending on venue)
- Junior Boys 11-12 (15-45 minute course depending on venue)
- Junior Boys 13-15 (30-60 minute course depending on venue)
- Junior Sport Boys 16-18 (For those racing Junior Varsity in High School and/or who are not ready for the Expert distance)
- Junior Expert Boys 16-18 (For those racing Varsity in High School and/or ready for the Expert distance)
- Junior Girls 10 & Under (15-45 minute course depending on venue)
- Junior Girls 11-12 (15-45 minute course depending on venue)
- Junior Girls 13-15 (30-60 minute course depending on venue)
- Junior Sport Girls 16-18 (For those racing Junior Varsity in High School and/or who are not ready for the Expert distance)
- Junior Expert Girls 16-18 (For those racing Varsity in High School and/or ready for the Expert distance)
- Strava- for those who cannot make it to the regular in-person races yet still wish to compete. Please see the Strava Info section for instructions.
Anyone wishing to “Race Up” must be pre-approved to do so. Please send me an email and we can discuss!
In 2020 the entire series was Strava-based. This kept our series alive and we saw many new faces. We recognize that there may be racers who prefer the Strava concept for a variety of reasons.
Here are some Strava tips to help you have as good an experience as possible!
You will need a STRAVA user profile. If you don’t have a Strava account already I suggest getting one and becoming familiar with it. There is a free version.
There are two ways to use Strava:
1. Download the App to your phone.
- Make sure GPS is enabled
- Phone is charged
- Make sure Battery Saving mode is OFF
- Hit Record…and then hit Start
- A rolling start is necessary for accurate timing. Be sure to hit “Record” and “Start” before you go past the Start Segment Sign. And, conversely, ride past the Finish Segment sign before you hit “Stop”>”Finish”>”Save” (this terminology is Strava specific. We recognize that those riding with GPS head units have different steps and lingo)
- Strava will recognize the portion of your ride that matches our Strava Segment and we’ll take it from there. In other words, it is NOT necessary to hit the Start and/or Stop buttons precisely at the Start and Finish lines. Strava will match your ride to our segment.
- The best thing you can do to ensure an accurate match is to stay on the marked course!
- Use a GPS unit from a company such as Garmin, Suunto, Polar.
- Ride the segment
- Upload to Strava after your ride
- Strava will match your Ride to our Segment and we’ll take it from there.
LIVE SEGMENTS for PRE-RIDING and DURING EVENT Starred Segments
If you “Star” the segment the App will alert you as your getting close to the start of the segment.
This can be very useful for PRE-RIDING before the course gets marked.
There is a star next to every segment you look up in your dashboard. Simply click that Star.
- Approaching a segment: You will hear an audible cue (a chime) if enabled, and see a notification when approaching a starred or popular segment.
- Starting a segment: You will see your current progress on a map, but will not see comparison metrics (PR or KOM/QOM/CR)
- Completing a segment: When you complete the segment, you will be shown your final performance results and will be transitioned back into the normal recording experience.
- Approaching a segment: When approaching a starred or popular segment, you will be transitioned from your recording screen to a Live Segment notification. You will hear an audible cue (if enabled) and see the segment name and your position relative to that segment.
- Starting a segment: When you pass into a segment, you’ll be shown a bird’s eye view where you can follow your avatar as well as the avatars for your PR (if one exists for this segment) and KOM/QOM/CR progress.
- red = avatar is ahead of you, you will be shown your time behind
- green = avatar is behind you, you will be shown your time ahead
- gray = avatar will turn gray if they are offscreen
- 50% mark = will display when you are halfway through the segment
- Completing the segment: When you complete the segment, you will be shown your final performance results and will be transitioned back into the normal recording experience.
Fee is $130 per child ($50 of which is refundable through the Work Deposit Program, see Work Deposit Section) and includes:
- Custom Team Jersey-Kids are placed randomly on teams unless specific requests are made.
- Primal Fit Guide
- WE ARE NOT OFFERING YOUTH SMALL or YOUTH XL
- All ADULT jerseys will be MEN’s CUT so please refer to that section of the Fit Guide
- Automatic entry into the first 6 races in the Summit Mountain Challenge Series, no need to register for each race…register for the League and you’re done!
- Permanent number plate for the season
- Awards given to Top 3 at each race and to the Top 3 Overall counting the best 5 of 6 races
- All Group Rides, scheduled on Mondays, see Group Ride Schedule
- Opportunity to participate in Big Ride Thursdays (must be pre-approved)
- An education in environmental stewardship
- An opportunity to spend more time together as a family in a healthy fun activity
- An opportunity to meet and mingle with other League parents and kids at each race and group ride
- The lifelong gift of the joy of riding a bicycle
This is a partial list…each member is responsible for being prepared!
- Mountain Bike with minimum 24″ wheels. Many kids will fit on 26″ wheel bikes. See Restrictions section for more detail on what to do if you are on a smaller bike than 24″
- Eye protection
- Gloves, short or long finger
- Water or Sports Drink-Hydration pack or water bottle
- Energy food/snack
- Extra tube and/or patch kit
- Cycling Shoes-optional as we realize many juniors are on flat pedals
Please come to Group Rides and races with equipment in good working order.
We support ALL the shops in Summit County.
Continue to support your favorite shop and let them help you be prepared!
There is no minimum age to being a League Member…rather, there is an equipment requirement!
All Mountain Bike Junior League members must be on a bike with at least 24″ wheels. Take my word for it…it makes a huge difference. Notice I said “members”. Families may still bring kids to group rides that are not big enough to fit on a bike with 24″ wheels. Here’s the catch. You need to be responsible for them. That is, if they need extra attention, can’t keep up etc., you need to be their guide. And we don’t recommend they officially join the league until they are able to meet the requirement.
What we’ve learned is that the equipment makes a huge difference in a rider’s performance. We know there are phenoms out there that can pedal their tails off on a 20″ wheel bike and hang. But the true dividing line is 24″ wheels.
Why? Because of the Fun Factor. We take kids on true mountain bike terrain. It’s amazing what they are able to tackle if they are on the proper equipment. It’s just more fun!
So…to recap…there is no minimum age requirement. If a kid can fit on a bike with 24″ wheels then they are eligible!
Mountain Bike Junior League is made possible by the generous support of the many sponsors. Please recognize these businesses by frequenting them when possible and thanking them at every opportunity!
Cornerstone Real Estate
Downstairs at Eric’s
Howard Head Sports Medicine
Building Hope Summit County
Go 4 Graham
Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant
Pillar to Post Home Inspections
Summit Chiropractic and Rehabilitation
Summit Nordic Ski Club
Well…try as we do to de-emphasize the competitive aspect of the program the racing is a part of it.
The top three racers in each category will be recognized at each race and at the end of the season.
Points are accumulated according to the following scale:
1st Place-100 Points
A racers best 5 of 6 races will be used to comprise their total score at the end of the season.
WORK DEPOSIT PROGRAM
The MTB Junior League registration fee is $130. Each family has the opportunity to receive a $50 refund, per registrant, by working 4 hours ($12.50 per hour) throughout the summer. Jobs to be filled include: Registration Venue set-up and tear down(set up days are not necessarily race days) Course Marshalling Course Sweep Timing Crew Post Race Awards Assistance Other Maverick events are open to the Work Deposit program with the exception of the Firecracker 50.