This spring marks the first anniversary of Mile High Cycling. I want to take a moment to sincerely thank everyone who has helped make this program a success, summarize what we accomplished in 2022, and also offer a preview of our remaining plans. A few pictures are highlighted below, but you can also follow the inline links to view the fun photos and videos from our social media pages.
Things kicked off in March of 2022 with an after-school bike club for 20 students in grades five through seven at both Granite Mountain and Mile High Middle School. The Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance and Azimuth Quest provided a trailer full of loaner bikes while teachers, the Mile High principal, and other community volunteers ran the kids through skills clinics, bike cleaning and maintenance workshops, fun bike games, trail rides, a quick spin to the nearby ice cream parlor, and a tour of two local bike shops Soul Ride and Bikesmith.
In June, we became the first public middle school in Arizona to have a mountain biking team contained within the district’s athletic department – same as PHS, where you can letter in cycling. A collection of 22 coaches and student mentors from PHS helped 28 student-athletes compete in the Arizona Cycling Association’s race season with several more students also joining the team to ride recreationally. Everyone got to enjoy the MTB 101 and 201 skill clinics, bike fit day, maintenance and repair workshops, indoor spin classes and gym workouts when it was lightning outside, Lady Badgers events, some awesome race courses where we all supported each other to the very end, quite a few podium appearances, a bike game Olympics, and lots of fun bike games, socialization, and celebrations. Most importantly, every single student-athlete exceeded the goals that they set for the season, from race placement to miles ridden to new skills learned in order to just have even more fun on the bike.
Meanwhile, the coaches had a truly hard time deciding who had more fun – us or the students! We even saw some of the younger siblings join in on the fun when their families decided to go for a ride while we were practicing.
Equipment-wise, a fleet of donated loaner bikes helped a variety of situations ranging from families in financial need to students who found themselves between sizes and wanted a temporary solution. All of the miscellaneous gear and clothing donated by our local community and handed out by Pass It Forward was also a huge help to our team, who hosts both the storage of that equipment and the giveaway day venue while our students volunteer to help other kids install the new (to them) gear.
The 2023 season kicked off this month with more students already signed up than we had last year and registrations still rolling in! The best is yet to come, with several new additions like our new team director and assistant coaches, a Badgers trail workday, racing and volunteering at the Whiskey Off-Road, a couple of downhill shuttle days for those who really don’t like to climb, and much more.
We are a team where everyone is welcome and nobody rides the bench. If you’re interested in being part of the fun, you can join the team as either a student or coach, follow @milehighcycling on Facebook or Instagram to see all of the fun we’re having, and even make a donation to fund more loaner bikes and other needs with money that will be credited back to you dollar-for-dollar on your Arizona income tax return!
Scott Bideau (Head Coach)