Mountain Biking Embraces Campus Trails


Matthijs van Mierlo

The Mountain Biking team in a race last year.

While many teams experienced major restrictions due to COVID-19 protocols, the Co-ed Varsity Mountain Biking team proceeded with minimal changes to its routines and practices. As a naturally socially-distanced sport, safety precautions like restricting close contact had no bearing on the team.

However, since the team did not engage in competitions or travel extensively, riders focused on improving skills on-campus. This year, the team spent most of its time riding on the Beeslick trails or at the skills park. Working at the skills park gave riders the opportunity to work on specific features such as drops, berms, and jumps at a level tailored to each individual rider. 

Whether team support comes after hitting a big feature, or just making a tight corner, the teammates expressed that their reliance on each other, especially this season, was pivotal. “Everyone is having fun and is always excited to be at practice and on a bike. We all really support each other and are always pushing each other to ride better too,” said McLean.

In previous years, the team often replicated a race environment by practicing on a dirt path nearby Mount Riga. This year, the team only ventured out beyond the campus trails a few times. “We weren’t able to race or ride off-campus much, so we focused on becoming better riders and having fun with the trails on campus,” said Chris Tolis ’21.

Team members remained positive despite the lack of competition; the benefit of riding intramurally meant they could focus on more technical aspects of riding. “I think that we still had a really productive season despite [COVID-19], and we were able to have some fun too. It let me get a lot more creative with how I ride, instead of working for pure speed,” said Charlie McLean ’22.

The Varsity Mountain Biking team closed out its season on Friday, October 30 and looks forward to another great season next fall.