The Carolina Youth Mountain Bike League season has come to a close, causing everyone involved to say, “Awwwwww!”
It was a very fun season for the kids as well as the parents who watched their budding bikers take their riding to another level. The parents, who in the beginning made fun of soccer parents, acted just like soccer parents by the end. We told our kids just to have fun, and then followed them through the woods donning our bikes and running shoes, shouting at them to pedal harder as they crossed the finish line. The 6 and under category seemed to be the most popular bracket, with the most rabid of parents, myself included. I’m pretty certain that I heard someone shouting from the sidelines, “Go Bettina!” as I was pushing my 3-year-old as fast as possible, despite poor little Poppy being driven into the ditch. I started with him, thinking I wanted to keep him safe from the 19 other riders, ranging from 2-6 years old. He may be able to ride without training wheels, but he’s not all that steady. Despite being passed by most of the crowd he was certain that he’d won when he was presented with a certificate. I did not tell him any differently.
The kids, who thought they were tagging along onto their parents’ passions, ingrained their own love of bikes and have started to learn about riding with buddies. After the race, Elijah, Ian, and Jubal decided to do the loop again. It was a well-marked trail, with adults at various intersections, so I encouraged them to go. I was so excited for them to go on a buddy ride. We parents advised them to stay together no matter what, stay on the trail and come directly back. What we hadn’t realized was that the short loop had been changed to a bigger loop, of three miles, for the bigger kids. After 40 minutes we began panicking and headed out onto the trails in search. They all came in together with stories of hard climbs and mechanicals, which left us parents relieved and beaming.
The most popular category was for 7/8 year-old boys, which means the league will only get more competitive each year from here out. More girls are needed – especially in the 13-16 year-old categories. All of the people I’ve known and ridden with for the last ten years seem to have 8-year-old boys, so we need to recruit more girls.
Race Coordinator Todd Branham did a remarkable job and made it fun for everyone. He was patient while surrounded by chaos, and put on a stress-free event that will only keep our sport alive for years to come.
- For the 7/8 year-old girls, Skylar Bovine of Whitsett, took first place in the series. Maggie Sanders of Asheville took second and Greta Kjellquist of Asheville took third.
- For the 7/8 year-old boys, Quinn McMullan of Asheville took first, Elijah Freese of Asheville took second (YES!) and Rowan McMullan took third.
- For the 9/10 year-old girls, Emily Trusler of Brevard took first, Megan Smailes of Black Mountain took second, and Sunshine Pugh of Asheville took third.
- For the 9/10 year-old boys, Jacob Martin of Columbia, SC took first, Nicholas Leiter of Asheville took second, and Logan Pelton of Columbia, SC took third.
- For the 11/12 year-old girls, Hannah Dickson of Brevard took first, Hannah Feinsilber of Black Mountain took second, and Mary Pharr of Tuxedo took third.
- For the 9/10 year-old boys, Bergen Khare of Brevard took first, Bryce Spradlin of Brevard took second and Aidan Spradlin of Brevard took third.
- For the 13/14 year-old girls, Anna Freeman of Arden took first, Margot Clyburn of Taylorsville took second and Lucy Pharr of Tuxedo took third.
- For the 13/14 year-old boys, Caleb Spradlin of Brevard took first, Henry Khare of Brevard took second, and Taylor Crabtree of Fletcher took third.
- For the 15/16 year-old girls, Annie Pharr of Tuxedo took first and Hannah McLeod of Waynesville took second.
- For the 15/16 year-old boys, Nicholas Brown of Greenville, SC took first, William Solesbee of Asheville took second, and Alex Biggs of Arden took third.
- For the 17/18 year-old boys, Derek Hurst of White, TN took first, Christian Strangefel of Arden took second, and Adam Steurer of Mills River took third.