This may come as a surprise, but there are such things as high school mountain biking teams, and LHS alone has two students participating in a team within the Colorado High School Cycling League. Sophomore Breighton Miller and Freshman Calvin VandenBurg are part of a combined team with Heritage that participated in Mountain Biking this past fall (season lasts from August-October); Miller qualifed for the State Championship Race in Eagle that took place this past Sunday. Both Miller and VandenBurg are looking to expand people’s interest in joining a mountain biking team, hoping to split off from Heritage and create their own team at Littleton in the near future.
“I would definitely recommend it for all age groups,” said Miller.
The Colorado High School Cycling League/ Colorado High School Mountain Bike League is actually fairly new. Created in 2010, this league is based off of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association started in 2009 that encourages each participant to become a better mountain biker as well as a better leader and person. Miller had been mountain biking for fun on and off since he was four years old, but just recently started competing competitively last year as a freshman.
“I had always really liked it. I had done other sports but they were all super competitive and you had to have done them for a really long time, and so Mountain Biking was something that was new and that I was pretty good at and I didn’t need a lot of past experience,” said Miller.
Two years ago, a mountain biking team formed by combining Arapahoe, Heritage, and Cherry Creek High Schools. Shortly after, Cherry Creek created their own team, and last year, Arapahoe started their own team. Miller wanted to ride for LHS, so he, along with a couple of kids from DPS, combined with Heritage to form a full team of about eight kids. Vandenburg noticed the few flyers and announcements Miller posted around LHS and decided to join as well, making two LHS students part of the composite mountain biking team. Heritage is looking into creating their own team next year, leaving Miller and Vandenburg to recruit new members to hopefully start an official LHS team of their own.
“You don’t actually need a lot of experience, just be definitely into it. Come knowing that you should have a fun time and that it’s a great experience,” said Miller.
The mountain biking team travels all around Colorado, competing in races throughout the state on both slow and fast courses of different technical difficulty and terrain. This past season, the combined team of Heritage, Littleton and DPS even made it into The Pioneer newspaper.
The goal of a mountain biking race is to complete the course with the fastest chip time, similar to how a cross country race operates. Throughout the season, competitors are guaranteed the opportunity to participate in four different races and could potentially earn their spot in the state competition if they reach a fast enough time at one of the other four races during the season. Mountain bike competitions are split into four races: freshman, sophomore, JV and varsity. Miller competed in the sophomore division this past Sunday at state and, out of 220 sophomore mountain bikers, Miller placed 86th, showing great potential for the years to come. His hard work this year furthermore shows his passion for mountain biking and his excitement towards wanting to start an official LHS team.
“My favorite part is the riding and the atmosphere. Everyone is so polite on the trail. If I’m passing someone or someone’s passing me, we are always really polite. The atmosphere is really lively and there is no bad, harsh feelings towards anyone,” said Miller.
Today, Colorado High School Cycling League/ Colorado High School Mountain Bike League has been operating for seven years and is made up of 68 teams with a total of more than 1,000 riders. The league is continuing to grow each year and welcomes all boys and girls currently in high school.
For more information about joining Littleton’s future mountain biking team or for information about becoming a coach, click on the PDF linked below, visit any of the websites linked below, or contact the current coach, Sue Lloyd, at 303-263-4967. Additionally, feel free to talk to Miller or Vandenburg in the hallways at school and they can give you more information about what it takes to join the mountain biking team.
Websites to visit: