Grand Valley Youth Cycling in Colorado’s Grand Valley seeks new members
Free Press Correspondent
Correction: In a Free Press article, “Bike team encourages youth involvement,” published on Feb. 27, it incorrectly stated that Kate Rau, the Colorado State director of the High School Mountain Bike League, lived on Colorado’s Western Slope and started the Grand Valley Bike League. She lives on the Front Range, and though she advised on how to start the club, Russ Skinner, a teacher at Grand Junction High School, founded it. Skinner was also the first coach.
The Grand Valley Youth Cycling team has been encouraging high-school students to explore the sport of mountain biking for the last five years.
According to organizers, it began with the establishment of the Colorado League in 2009 on the eastern side of Colorado. The league is an associate of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Kate Rau, who is the Colorado League’s state director, moved to the Western Slope and started the local group in 2011.
“The best part of being on the team is the support of other riders and their families,” said Grand Junction High School student Fallon Ward. “You feel like one big family.”
Grand Valley Youth Cycling currently consists of 15 students split into two teams (Fruita and Grand Junction), all from the high schools in Mesa County ranging from Fruita Monument to Palisade High School, along with private and home-school students. In 2012, they hosted the Colorado State High School Championships in the North Fruita Desert area; and in 2013, they earned the Division 2 title of “state champions.”
Melissa Pipkin, a parent and coach, also said that fundraising is integral to Grand Valley Youth Cycling team’s mission. Grand Valley businesses, including The Bike Shop on 10th Street and North Avenue, and Networks Unlimited have donated in the past. Fundraisers planned for the future include dinners, bike-a-thons, and used equipment sales.
“We are hoping to expand our fundraising this year with more corporate sponsors,” Pipkin said.
Funds raised will be used for new biking equipment for the students, scholarships, new uniforms (including jerseys and shorts), and bike tools.
With spring almost here, Grand Valley Youth Cycling team members are almost ready to get back on their bikes. Plus, they’re currently seeking more participants.
“I really enjoy mountain biking and hope to continue getting better and learning more about it,” Ward said, who races both BMX bikes and on the Grand Valley Youth Cycling team.
“I do plan on continuing mountain biking after I graduate.”
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More trails will open for the season on Sunday for mountain bikers in Aspen, Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs.