On Sunday, March 11, 2012, a huge crowd of interested parents and student athletes attended the Minnesota High School Cycling League open house on March 11, at Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) in Bloomington, Minn. At the Kick-Off participants, from s around Minnesota, learned how they could bring mountain bike racing to their schools. The event offered informative presentations on how to start and coach a team. A silent auction was also held and new League t-shirts and jackets were sold to help raise money for this new MN League.
Many attendees participated in the MN League's “Connect Zone.” Here people from various communities were able to meet each other to start teams and share ideas. At the open house hosted by QBP, there were 22 suburban highs schools represented along with dozens of folks from the inner city schools of both Minneapolis and St. Paul. Greater Minnesota was also represented with attendees from Brainerd, Duluth, Northfield, Rochester and St. Cloud.
Dorian Grilley, Executive Director for the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota (BikeMN), was in attendance at the MN Kick-Off. One program of BikeMN is to provide bicycle education opportunities at the school level. “The more ways we can encourage kids to be physically active, the better," said Grilley. "Understanding the health benefits of cycling will be an added bonus for this program.”
MN League Founding Retail Sponsors, Erik’s Bike and Board Shop and Penn Cycle, set up displays of mountain bikes and answered product and technical questions. Both businesses are eager to help new high school teams get ready to train, race and have fun. “We’re here to help coaches and team members better understand their equipment options for racing and training,” said Pat Sorenson, President of Penn Cycle. “The MN League is a wonderful new program for young adults and seeing the initial support for this MN League at the Kick-Off was exciting and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”
The MN League Kick-Off Open House was the first of several events that will be held throughout the state over the next few months to help build awareness and support for the new league. “We’re really happy to see this level of support,” said MN League Founding Chair Gary Sjoquist. “We’re just starting our effort to build teams and establish the league here in Minnesota.” Sjoquist provided two presentations at the Kick-Off, one on how the new league will evolve, and the other a presentation that high school students can show to their local high school administrators. Check back to the League's website, minnesotamtb.org for more dates and locations being posted.
Minnesota is the latest state to offer mountain bike racing for high school students, following NorCal and Socal in California, leagues in Colorado, Washington, Texas, and Utah are also up and running. In California alone, 50 high schools offer league mountain bike racing. Currently, about 1800 high school student athletes around the U.S. are racing in leagues sanctioned by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
The MN League will offer camps throughout the summer and a 4-race schedule in September and October. Details about the Minnesota League and presentations given at the Kick-Off Open House are available on their website at: minnesotamtb.org.
About the Minnesota High School Cycling League
About the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota
Article Published: 03-26-2012