MBSEF Mountain Biking Program
The Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation offers youth mountain bikers the opportunity to improve their cross country mountain bike skills. The program was developed originally to maintain the fitness level of MBSEF winter athletes. However, through the past several years, our program has grown to be very popular with MBSEF winter program athletes and non-MBSEF winter program athletes.
The reason for the growth in the program is that we have great coaches that are passionate about what they do. The main focus of our program is fitness based and getting exposed to various terrain. We want to make well rounded cyclists out of the athletes. We also don’t want them to get bored. That is why we change the location of the rides as much as we can.
Some kids do not like riding uphill. However, we teach them the importance of climbing to improve stamina and overall fitness. We are not a downhill specific program. But when one climbs, one must descend! We are a good balance of cross country-mountain biking and downhill.
One of the reasons that our program is so popular is that our coaches are very relevant. We usually pair the older advanced riders with coaches that are well known in the inner circle of the Bend mountain bike community such as Jacob Guthrie, Ryan McNulty, Luke LaRiveria, Canyon Wilcox, Tanner Wescott and Carson Griffiths. The younger kids coaches have extensive experience coaching mountain biking and many of them have had a career in education.
How we structure the program
Before each session, we ask parents to give us a general sense of their kid’s riding ability. If there are kids that they would like to ride with, we will make sure that they are in the same group. If it turns out that the group isn’t a great fit for them, we are totally flexible and can make changes for sure. We just want everyone to have fun.
We always have 2 coaches to a group. Usually the groups consists of 7-8 riders. We will have a coach leading the group and a coach in the back. We form groups based on age and ability and friend requests:
- Wood Chucks-Beginner Group-Ages 7-Must know how to use gears
- Pine Marten/Pine Foxes Group-Some Experience-Ages 8-9
- Honey Badger Group-Advanced-Ages 10-11
- Scorpions Advanced Group-Ages 11-14
Our coaches are great at making sure our riders know proper trail etiquette. They teach right of way, trail manners, proper pedaling technique for uphill and riding downhill riding, body position, rolling over rocks, how to safely descend and ride features.
What the riders do
The athletes cover a lot of ground each session. Of course it depends on the age and ability of the groups. But it isn’t unheard of that the older kids put in 17-20 miles on a ride in the summer. Younger kids will ride usually 8-10 miles. Again, we are a cross country mountain bike program focused on fitness. Sure, we will stop and work on skills like learning how to roll over wooden features and sometimes go to the Lair and pump track to learn how to jump safely and properly. But expect that your kids will put in miles.
In the Wednesday April and May sessions, the coaches will meet at Phil’s Trail because usually it’s the best place to ride without the threat of snowy trails. They will ride 2 hours and will take snack and water breaks as they see fit. In the summer the rides are 3 hours. But this allows for time for social activity, breaks and sometimes cooling off in a creek or the Deschutes River. The kids are always supervised. The summer sessions ride different trails every day. A typical 2 week program in the summer may look like this:
- Drop off at the Cascade Welcome Station and pick up at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station.
- Drop off at Road 300 and pick up at Phil’s Trailhead
- Drop off at Green Gate and pick up at Cascade Lakes Welcome Station
- Drop off at Skyliners Snopark and pick up at Phil’s Trailhead
- Drop off at Wanoga Snopark (Advanced riders only) and pick up at Cascade Welcome Station
- Drop off at the bottom of Storm King and pick up at the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station.
- Drop off at Phil’s Trail and pick up at Phil’s Trail.
All of our coaches have the Wildland First Aid certification and ride with comprehensive first aid supplies. All coaches will have parent’s cell numbers just in case they need to get a hold of them.