Life Outside Spring 2018 - 38

a spectacular 2-mile-long downhill ride.
Elsewhere, in 2016, Blue Ridge Outdoors named
Roanoke's Carvins Cove Natural Reserve home of
the Blue Ridge's best MTB trail system. Located
just 10 miles from the city, the 12,500-acre park has
more than 60 miles of trails. As the second largest
municipality-owned park in the nation, it is extremely
well-maintained, and is a prided community jewel.
Beyond Bryce, other ski resorts have been fast
to catch on as well. In addition to traditional trail
systems-such as the aforementioned Western Slope
(which was created through a partnership with the
SVBC)-there is now an 8-mile lift-serviced bike park
at Wintergreen Resort, and a course of similar length
at Massanutten. A ticket at Bryce Park runs $35 for
the full-day, with a season pass clocking in at $225.
ASTONISHINGLY, MORE THAN HALF the teams racing

in the VHSCL and the VAHS were formed in the past
two years. During that time, the Shen-Rock team
added 43 new participants.
Some 120 miles south, Blacksburg High
School formed its mountain biking team
in 2016. A spin-off from the 52-person New
River Valley Composite, the school team has
since become the state's number-one ranked
public-school mountain biking squad.
"We're a primary example of how a
high school team forms," says head coach
Amy Crawford. "A club starts a composite
team of riders representing a county or
geographic area, and once you reach a
critical mass of around eight or 10 riders
from a given high school, the group
breaks off and forms a school team."
At that point, VHSCL Director
Andrea Dvorak approaches the athletic
director. "I go to him or her and explain
that NICA will cover the insurance,
provide pre-screened certified coaches,
schedule competitions-pretty
much everything needed to start a
program," she says. "When there's
student interest, that makes it really
LONG NGUYEN
hard to say no."
With the establishment of a schoolaffiliated team, Crawford says things
really start to snowball. Racing under the school
name triggers a kind of confidence. The kids start
to identify themselves as legitimate athletes, no
different than, say, a soccer or football player. They
take pride in working hard and getting better. Their
peers notice, and give them props.
"This is when kids get interested who've maybe
never stepped foot in the woods before," says Crawford.
"They see their friends doing this, and they want to
try it too. Because it's a high-school sanctioned sport,
their parents say yes... Being able to get those kids

38

Spring 2018 \\ LifeOutside Magazine

into the woods and exploring nature is one of the
major plusses of this job."
In addition to skills training, programs feature
a stewardship component. At least once a month,
riders spend an extended weekend practice learning
about sustainability best-practices, and building or
maintaining trails.
"This is a lifestyle sport," says Rogers. "It's something
these kids can take with them and continue to do
for the rest of their lives. We want to create good
community members and biking ambassadors. We
strive to instill an ethos of environmental stewardship
and trail etiquette."
Looking to the future, with the interscholastic
teams serving as a feeder program for college squads
and area MTB clubs, Crawford, Rogers, and Dvorak
agree a period of tremendous growth lies ahead. By
the fall of 2018 or 2019, Rogers expects every major
high school in Rockingham and Augusta counties
will have a team.

"I personally think this is just the tip of the iceberg,"
says Dvorak. "We've grown at a rate of about 40 percent
per year, and I think we'll continue to do so for a good
while. I think it's feasible that, in the next three to
five years, we'll see composite teams in every three
counties in the state, and at every major high school
throughout central and western Virginia."
As that happens, the sport of mountain biking
will only become further legitimized. And if the
pattern holds true, MTB enthusiasts can expect more
and better trails and opportunities in the Virginia
mountains.

Q

DRAWING A CROWD
Spectators gather around
wooded curves to cheer on
racers as they vie for position.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Life Outside Spring 2018

Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover1
Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover2
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 3
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 4
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 5
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 6
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 7
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 8
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 9
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 10
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 11
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 12
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 13
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 14
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 15
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 16
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 17
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 18
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 19
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 20
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 21
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 22
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 23
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 24
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 25
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 26
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 27
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 28
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 29
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 30
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 31
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 32
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 33
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 34
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 35
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 36
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 37
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 38
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 39
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 40
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 41
Life Outside Spring 2018 - 42
Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover3
Life Outside Spring 2018 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2019
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Summer_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Spring_2018
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/Life_Outside_Fall_2017
http://www.nxtbookMEDIA.com