The Colorado League: HS Mountain Bike League

“Five… Four… Three…Two…One….GO!” A swarm of high school mountain bike racers sprint off the start line to the sound of ringing cowbells and cheering fans. Someone mutters, “I wish I had this when I was in high school,” while they watch a wave of colorful team jerseys fly by. Participants greet one another at the finish line with high fives and smiles. This is the typical festive fall scene at a Colorado High School Cycling League race.

The electric vibe of a Colorado League mountain bike race conveys the complexity of the sport: Cycling is at once freeing and a tool to galvanize community. Race culture is defined by courteous competition and integrity, while supporting personal achievement. The Colorado League, founded by Executive Director Kate Rau, creates opportunities for youth to cultivate a passion, set goals, become self-sufficient, and develop their sense of belonging.

Courtesy Linda Guerrette

League riders are welcome regardless of their ability and when a rider has a tough race, their entire team and several spectators gather at the finish line greeting them with heartwarming smiles and words of encouragement. The camaraderie that develops through the racers sportsmanship is magical.

The Colorado League joined the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) in 2010. At the inaugural race, 155 student-athletes from Colorado and southern Wyoming were on the start line. They represented 20 teams, 4 of which were from Boulder County. In just 5 short years, the League grew by over 350% splitting into 2 conferences. Boulder County now hosts 7 teams that are being embraced by local high schools and administrations.

Finish Line Fun, courtesy Lindstrom Photography

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