General Team Info
The HRC program can, admittedly, be a bit confusing when you first start researching it. Let’s try to sum it up as simply as we can.
First, there is the High School Racing Season, which is from August through October, and involves Freshmen through Seniors in High School. As a “Composite” team, we are made up of student athletes from the world’s greatest high schools: Rock Canyon, Mountain Vista, Thunder Ridge, and Valor. And YES, that includes students who attend other schools or home school, but are within the feeder area for these high schools.
Second, there is the Junior Development Program, which runs roughly from April through July. This is comprised of 7th through 12th grade riders, and focuses on riding fundamentals, training, skill development, and a fair amount of fun races all over Colorado. The same coaches (plus more, actually) and the same riders from high school season are involved in this.
Third, there is the Off-Season, where the riders from our high school team, and from our junior devo program, will get together and do Cross Fit, spinning, occasional rides when the weather permits, and a myriad of other activities. It’s team building in the truest sense.
Our goals as a team:
- To promote excellence, skills development, teamwork, professionalism and respect for the community and environment.
- To provide an avenue of spirited competition and community-building.
- To foster an environment that is welcoming for all who desire a positive, healthier lifestyle through cycling, regardless of experience, knowledge, background or perceived hierarchy in the sport.
For those who are new to the sport (and nearly everyone that joins the team is new to the sport!), the big question might be cost. And it is a good question, because bikes can be expensive!
Here’s what you need to know. Any mountain bike in good working order is all you need. That, and basic equipment like a helmet and goggles. On our team, you will see beat up, used bikes from a decade ago, up to the latest/greatest bike worth thousands. Do not worry about it! We are about having fun, and developing skills…not showing off equipment.
As for the costs associated with funding the program, there are a couple of fees. First, each season has various fees (e.g., the high school racing season might be $150 for the season). Second, for each race that you choose to participate in, the cost will vary from between $20 to $60 per race. Third, there’s the travel expenses. While all of our races occur within the state of Colorado, it is sometimes helpful to stay the night before the race near the race location (e.g., at a campsite or a motel in Buena Vista, for the Nathrop race in the fall). So there is, without a doubt, gas, lodging and food costs associated with each race. The upside to this is big: gorgeous locations in the heart of mountain country, at the peak of fall. You also get to hang out with some of the most fun families and students you’ll ever meet!
Since costs always vary from year to year, be assured that you will have a full list of current fees before you sign up. Our team coaches will make sure of that.
A Few Common Questions…
I’m new to mountain biking. Can I join? Sure! We have riders of all skills and abilities.
If I join, do I have to race? Though athletes are not required to race, it is encouraged because racing is a fun and unique experience. HRC is affiliated with the Colorado High School Cycling League, and NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association).
What do I need? You need a working bike, a helmet, and enthusiasm.
What high schools are involved? ThunderRidge, Mountain Vista, Rock Canyon and Valor have teams.
I go to a charter/online/private/home school. Can I still join? YES!
Uhhh… ok. So are there 4 teams, or 1 team, or… what. I don’t get it. We call ourselves a “composite” team. A few years ago, when starting the team, none of these schools had enough involvement to warrant their own team, so we combined the teams. Now, each school has a fair amount of riders, but the coaching staff combines together to more effectively manage the different skill levels among the high schools. Essentially, we practice together, but on race day, we race for our high schools. Bonus: you get to know great kids and families from the other high schools, and, you are cheered on in your race by a much larger team!
I’m involved in other sports, is that ok? Yes! We have riders who also play high school lacrosse, soccer, track, etc.
What does HRC do? We provide the coaching, administrative, and fundraising support for our high school teams.
Is this a “real” high school sport? Yes it is, and in fact is one of the fastest growing high school sports in the country! When we started, each high school included the mountain bike team as a club team. Now, at Rock Canyon and Mountain Vista (and soon, Thunder Ridge), it is an official sport that you can letter in!
Who Runs This Thing?
This team is supported by an amazing set of volunteers, starting with our coach, Roger Ryburn. We couldn’t ask for a better leader for these kids, and his investment in each of their lives is immeasurable. And he doesn’t get paid a dime.
This applies equally to Coach Todd Stouffer, who along with Coach Ryburn, hardly ever misses a practice or a race, and devotes incredible amounts of personal time to these students and the team.
Both Roger and Todd have been with the team since its inception, and if you talk to other parents, you will quickly ascertain that they are beloved by students and parents alike. You will be amazed at how lucky we are to have them!
Last year, Coach Ryburn’s son, Coach Clancy, joined the team as an assistant coach, and his youth and love of the sport is contagious. It’s also nice to have someone who can keep up with the athleticism of our high schoolers!
As much as we love our coaches, Coach Ryburn’s wife, Julie Ryburn, is — quite honestly — the glue that keeps the whole organization together. As the team has grown exponentially since its inception a few short years ago, her work has become more and more complicated. And she manages it all with an incredibly fun and encouraging attitude. (Her dogs are very cute, and they make frequent appearances at races.)
Our Ride Leaders are critical volunteer staff that allow us to have a ratio of adult leaders to student riders hovering around 6-to-1, which is amazing. Three nights a week, a large group of parents saddle up and ride the trails with our student athletes, and develop a camaraderie with the team that is nothing short of magical.
Finally, each of the parents give back to the team throughout the season, through managing our hectic race days, hosting team dinners, bringing food for the team tent, etc. etc. etc. We couldn’t do it without the parents!
Sounds Awesome. How Do We Join?
Click here and you will be on your way!