Oct. 13—KERKHOVEN — Participation in sports activities can lead highschool athletes to all over the place from tennis and basketball courts to soccer fields.
This sport leads them to adventures within the open air, from scenic woodland trails to rolling prairie hills.
“We get to some fairly cool locations and see the countryside in that sense,” stated the crew’s coach, Riley Burgstahler.
We’re speaking aggressive mountain biking, a sport that college students on the KMS Composite Mountain Bike Workforce have been having fun with for 3 years now.
“It is simply a tremendous sport,” stated Justin Rosenbloom, a senior on the
Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg Excessive College
and three-year veteran of the crew.
“All people cheers everyone on,” stated Rosenbloom. Throughout races, the athletes are competing towards themselves to enhance, extra so than to beat the opposite riders, he defined.
“You meet a bunch of pleasant individuals and race with a bunch of wonderful individuals,” he stated throughout a break throughout follow final week.
Competitions this yr have introduced these athletes to trails weaving their approach to the heights of
in Duluth and
in Detroit Lakes, in addition to to rolling terrain close to
. This weekend, the common season finale, has the athletes taking over
close to Mankato.
Time on the path is however part of this outside expertise. This crew likes to camp and collect round night campfires, with household part of the expertise. Competitions are two-day occasions over weekends, and the crew likes to discover a tenting location for a lot of the 5 races which can be a part of the season.
Additionally they choose their very own areas to discover.
Maplewood State Park
close to Pelican Rapids was the crew’s alternative for a vacation spot follow earlier this yr. A number of the crew members placed on 40- to 50-miles a day exploring its wooded trails through the weekend.
“One in every of my phrases for the yr was journey,” stated Coach Burgstahler. He is helped by two assistants, Terry Soine and Eric Peterson.
He has lots of assist from mother and father too. They tackle duties resembling reserving tenting websites to hauling the gear wanted at competitions.
There’s a rising neighborhood of associates being constructed by this sport, in response to Burgstahler. He particularly likes the household involvement.
The game is obtainable by the
Minnesota Biking Affiliation
. It’s not a Minnesota State Excessive College League exercise. The KMS Composite crew consists of 10 members, a mixture of college students from KMS and the Group Christian College in Willmar, therefore the “composite” title for his or her title.
Statewide, the Minnesota Biking Affiliation stories that there are over 2,600 pupil athletes taking part on over 80 groups. They arrive from 125 or extra faculties. Most groups are sponsored by nonprofit organizations. This crew is exclusive in having the help of the KMS faculty.
Burgstahler is an elementary faculty instructor with
. He stated Superintendent of Faculties Martin Heidelberger requested him just a few years in the past if he had ever heard of the Minnesota Biking Affiliation, and if he’d be focused on teaching a mountain bike crew. “Yeah, I suppose. I do not know what that every one entails, however I am going to test it out,” was his cautious response.
Ever since, Burgstahler stated he is been studying proper together with the scholars. There’s far more to mountain biking than pedaling. There are a number of technical expertise to be taught to regulate the bike and deal with the challenges of the programs.
Burgstahler stated his method is to introduce the scholars to the game as an exercise they’ll take pleasure in for a lifetime.
Practices started final July, and the season continues into October. A number of the crew members additionally take part in highschool sports activities, together with cross-country and soccer.
The crew holds its practices twice every week after faculty. They meet on the Prairie Woods Environmental Studying Heart on Tuesdays and on the KMS Excessive College grounds on Thursday.
For sure, it is a sport that builds bodily well being and stamina. Requested what he likes most in regards to the sport, crew member Ben Strickland, a junior, was fast to reply: “Ooh, simply a lot power it takes. It feels good.” He shortly added that it is “good to be a part of a crew.”
Burgstahler stated mountain biking remains to be a male-dominated sport, however the Minnesota Biking Affiliation and others are working to encourage extra ladies to take part.
Mountain biking competitors is open to college students grades six and up. It is a sport that college students of all athletic talents can take pleasure in, the coach added.
Races function separate divisions beginning with center faculty college students. College students are in a position to compete on the degree they really feel most comfy. This crew competes at what’s generally known as the JV2 degree, which means their races will cowl two laps, or about eight miles, in response to the coach.
The Biking Affiliation gives a free loaner program to supply bicycles for members. Many buy their very own bikes, stated the coach. Most buy bikes within the $800 to $1,500 worth vary. It is attainable to spend as much as $3,000 or extra for a motorbike. Solely these really looking for a “podium end” are more likely to make investments that type of cash, in response to the coach.
Burgstahler stated he is hoping to see different faculties within the space assist groups get began. The groups in Alexandria and Hutchinson helped the KMS crew get began. Bicycle outlets are supportive too, and lots of supply reductions to college students, the coach stated.
The coach stated he and others wish to see extra trails developed on this space to assist the game develop. The Prairie Woods Environmental Studying Heart and Barsness Park in Glenwood are two space areas with devoted, mountain biking trails.