2023 Annual Report for Mile High Cycling


Mile High Cycling just concluded our second season of getting #morekidsonbikes at Mile High Middle School, Granite Mountain School, and homeschool students within those boundaries. This year consisted of 36 registered student-athletes, 25 volunteer coaches, 8 podiums, and countless personal goals achieved by both the students and coaches.

Similar to last year’s report, I want to summarize what we accomplished in 2023, sincerely thank everyone who has made this program a success, and give a preview to next season, including how you can join in on the fun!

Our pre-season saw many of our Badgers out helping their younger friends at the Whiskey Off-Road kid’s ride. Ride leaders, sweeps, running bike games, chatting with the kids – our students were nearly everywhere to give back to the local biking community.

This summer brought several heat waves, so we mixed things up a bit with fun games like the “ice bucket challenge” – something that both the students and coaches were eager to participate in!

Another way that we beat the heat while still working on our bike skills development was the introduction of a couple “downhill shuttle” practices. The students were dropped off at the top of a mountain and rode mostly downhill (average of 700 – 1,200 feet descent) to a lower pickup point.

Our team also joined PHS in a trail workday to get the hometown race course at Pioneer Park ready to host hundreds of student-athletes from throughout the state. Weed whacking, branch trimming, raking – they all did a fantastic job across many different assignments!

Several of our students volunteered again at the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance’s Pass It Forward event where a variety of donated gear is given away to local youth. Our Badgers helped install that gear on a child’s bike, performed bike fits and safety checks on complete bikes that were given away, and of course – told everyone how fun it is to join their local bike team!

Our second annual Mile High Invitational offered other Prescott area middle school students a chance to experience what a typical race is like. This year, we turned the tables and made the coaches do the bike game Olympics while the students called out the rules and added extra obstacles.

Speaking of coaches, we have a wide variety of volunteers helping out with the team from those who only recently started riding to pro athletes. Here’s one of the latter, Coach Ari, at the Leadville 100 MTB race where she maintained an impressive 11.48 mph pace over 105 miles with just under 12k of climbing, all above 9k-feet and topping out at an oxygen-sparse 12.5k. She finished in just 8 hours and 42 minutes!

Many of our coaches will be racing alongside the students during the offseason with events like MBAA and the Whiskey Off-Road.

Our loaner bike fleet grew by three bikes this year thanks to the generosity of these awesome supporters. Our loaners serve many different purposes from providing bikes to those who can’t afford their own equipment to helping someone who is between bike sizes and looking for a new one, or just being available while a child’s regular bike is in the shop. Thank you to everyone who has donated bikes or made financial contributions to help maintain them.

This year saw a few pizza and spaghetti dinner parties hosted on the night before a race. Thank you to everyone who provided food and other supplies to facilitate this awesome chance for team camaraderie.

We continued our “Lady Badgers” program with monthly girls-only events. Some were on the bikes while others were all about having fun without bikes.

The addition of night rides seemed to be one of the student’s favorite practices. This also helped them get ready for an annual Halloween nighttime event that another team puts on here in Prescott.

Of course, we raced bikes too! Our entire team did a great job, including many different podiums achieved, shattering of personal goals, and most importantly – the students had fun while building confidence out on the course!

Our last official “practice” of the year was a fun evening at the pump track in Granite Creek Park. A few coaches also brought Ninja Hopper jumps for the kids to safely learn how to get some airtime. While this type of terrain is never to be expected on our cross-country race course, trying it out with perfect angle jumps on the soft landing grass is a great way to maximize the bike/body separation concept in order to build confidence for the smaller rock rollers and rock drops that may be encountered. Several of our students indicated that this was by far their favorite practice, so we may see some of them racing the MBAA Enduro Series next year!

Our last official event of the year was an end-of-season celebration at the school where we enjoyed some pizza, thanked our volunteer coaches, recognized each individual student-athlete for their accomplishments this the season, and hosted Jon Holdsworth from the Daily Courier so that he could write an article about the team. Sixth grader, Chad Stillion, perfectly summed up our goal for each rider (students and coaches) when he told the reporter, “I didn’t like it. I LOVED it!”

Our final “unofficial” get-together included a few Badgers who enjoy downhill flow trails and jump lines getting to sample the new Bean Peaks directional trails that the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Trail Solutions team is building in Prescott. Look for these riders to be featured in an upcoming promo video from IMBA and the City of Prescott. Until then, our team will be staying off these trails since they are not officially open until around springtime.

We are a team where “nobody rides the bench!” Every student is out riding the same trail system at every practice and race. Everyone crosses the same finish line with hundreds of parents, friends, teammates, coaches from throughout the state, and other spectators cheering them on. Nobody coaches from the bench either.

Our team chant is “ride fast, don’t crash, go Badgers!” This goes beyond just riding a bike. We teach the kids to be prepared both mentally, physically, and mechanically to “not crash” in biking or in life. And of course, since we all do crash on occasion, we teach how to learn from a temporary setback and get “back on the saddle.” The important thing is to keep on riding, both in biking and in life. The “go Badgers” chant describes how we all support each other – at practice, during each race, at school, and in the community at-large.

This is Mile High Cycling!

We’ve got a fun schedule planned for next year, including a few new additions like occasionally practicing alongside the high school team, more downhill shuttles, more night rides, and more fun. We are currently in need of additional assistant coaches since many will “graduate” to PHS alongside their student, a few more loaner bikes and funds to maintain our existing bikes, a loaner bike equipment manager who is in charge of checking out the bikes and keeping them maintained, a manager for other equipment like our skills development aids, and a few other volunteer positions and fundraising amounts.  If you’re interested in being part of the fun, you can join 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! For any other questions, please contact us directly.

Thanks again for your support,

Scott Bideau
(Head Coach)