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Thread: Mountain Bike Racing For Kids 5-12

  1. #1
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    Mountain Bike Racing For Kids 5-12

    Just an idea I have since I have 4 kids in this range, and TBRA does offer an "Under 14" class, but I realize not every kid under 14 can handle an 8+ mile MTB course by him/herself. So I thought that the kids seemed to enjoy the kids MTB race we put on at the Hamilton Creek FTF every year, it would be great to perhaps extended it to 5 or 6 races.

    I'm looking for ideas and ways this could work. Does it make sense to piggy back on an existing TBRA race day and make a kids version of an existing race? That is, assuming other promoters will go for that. Unique inexpensive was to promote the races?

    My inspiration for this is doing BMX with my kids. BMX provides a structure for kids to race and compete on a local, regional and national level. Mountain Biking doesn't have anything like that for kids. But to go to a National race can be pretty expensive.

    I'm wanting to put together something challenging for kids 5 - 12 years of age, hopefully something that would prepare them for TBRA racing and beyond. It would be supervised, have people around the more challenging areas, obviously for 5 year olds the course would be pretty tame, but for the older kids we could up the challenge a bit. It is mountain biking after all.

    Open to your thoughts and ideas.

    Uzzi

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  3. #2
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    Great Idea!

    LBL has several younger categories. They do a shorter part of the loops using the connectors and the bigger little kids do a couple of laps. Most of the course on the TBRA series could do a shorter race. It would need to be between races though to separate the faster folks.

    Also, the few races that have a Saturday TT would be perfect. Stanky Creek and Lock 4 had TT's this year. My first race and one of Charlie's first was the TT at Chickasaw. These are usually about 2 to 3 miles and on a faster and easier section of the trails.

    When Charlie was younger, either I swept behind him or I got someone to help out. Funny thing was that he was faster than a couple of sweepers.

    Steve
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    http://cycleyouth.homestead.com/index.html

    This may help with ideas. Shey Lindner heads this up, real nice guy, and you could probably hit him up with questions.
    mid pack fodder at best

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    I'd love to get my 6 year old involved in something like this. BMX just has very little appeal to me.
    Steve Vines
    2008 Trek Fuel EX8
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    Thanks Matt for the link. I would love for this to evolve into something like that for sure! I will get with him for sure.

    I may not want to piggy back onto a TBRA race because I don't want the kids race to be an afterthought. One thing we could do is just run them AFTER the Cat 3 leaves. But if you are a Cat 3 racer, and you have kids, you won't be able to see them race or sweep, but I envisioned a way for the whole family to be able to come out and race. There can be some days that are just kids races..

    So, I will start putting this together and see what comes of it. I bet we could do about 5 or 6 of these and make it a series. Who knows, maybe I will take a week off of work and have an MTB camp or something. Sounds like fun.

    Thanks for the input guys! Keep them ideas coming.

    Uzzi

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    Kids Races

    I have been to all of the TBRA MTB races so far this year and I saw several kids races and all were fun to watch and you could tell the kids were loving it.

    The best representation that I saw all year was by the gone riding group that puts the SERC (Southeast Regional Championship) races on. They do a kids race at nearly each SERC event and even have a points series for each class for the year. They did 10 events across the southeast. However we had 3 events here in Tennessee Chickasaw, Tanasi, and Raccoon Mountain. They run the kids races before any other race and it was cool to watch as we got registered and warmed up.
    They had 4 classes:
    Kids 3-5
    Kids 6-8
    Kids 9-11
    Girls 6-11

    http://www.goneriding.com/index.html

    On top of these three the guys at wood-n-wave had a kids race for the White Lightening TBRA race earlier this year with 3 classes:
    Kids 4-6
    Kids 7-9
    Kids 10-12
    this was on top of both of the junior classes 14 & under and 15 & over.

    Also there was a small kids race at the Mousetail XC race as well with only two kids one 9 one 11 but at least they had something.

    All of these races provided a pretty simple course and varied the amount of laps that each class completed based on age. It was great to see the really little guys so serious and getting after it. I can't wait to get my little guy out there he turns 2 next month and I just put his first performance balance bike together last night.

    I think piggy backing off a TBRA or other organized mountain bike race is the way to go since you have the parents that are into it already there in my opinion. Anything you guys can do to get more races and kids riding/racing earlier is great and my hats off to you for stepping up.
    Michael

    TBRA Mountain Bike Director
    Bicycle Racing Info in TN - www.tbra.org

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    is there a class for 14yr olds at most races in and around tn. i have friends who 13 almost 14yr is fast and way to fast for the little races he has done. wondering if there is a class for him.. any info be great
    2012 YEYI ARS-5
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    Quote Originally Posted by GARRETT View Post
    is there a class for 14yr olds at most races in and around tn. i have friends who 13 almost 14yr is fast and way to fast for the little races he has done. wondering if there is a class for him.. any info be great
    Most mountain bike races have 14 and younger and 15 and older junior class. However these classes are normally small in numbers. If he dominates the junior class then he will be able to move up to the sport (Cat 2) 19-29 class which has greater numbers, does 2 laps, and is pretty competitive. If he dominates that class then he can move to the expert (Cat 1) 19-29 class. This is exactly how Tanner did it. He dominated the junior class and moved to the sport or Cat 2 19-29 class at 14-15 dominated that class and is now in the Expert or cat 1 19-29 class at 17 and dominates that class and is trying for a Pro license for next year. But we will all agree Tanner is the exception not the norm but I was just illustrating what can happen if you have a truly dominate youngster. The key is to get the kid a USA cycling license and get him racing and putting up results and if he is truly dominate he will move up quickly.

    However, per the USA cycling rules he would have to start in the junior class an accumulate results to show that he was ready to move up and the only way to keep his result tied to him is having a USA cycling license.

    Hope this helps.
    Michael

    TBRA Mountain Bike Director
    Bicycle Racing Info in TN - www.tbra.org

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    '09 Specialized Stumpjumper Marathon 29er
    '08 Specialized Tricross Expert (Cross and Commuter bike)
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  12. #9
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    What are your kids riding? There doesn't seem to be many good offerings for kids mtn bikes. My youngest is 9, I've found a few brands that have XXS frames.

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    The LBL Race this weekend has several great kids categories with shorter races. Charlie will be doing the 14 and under Jr which is the same 14 miles that the big guys do. He did the whole canal loop 2 years ago on a Trek 240 - a 24 inch kids MTB that we uped the components.

    He's now riding a 13 in. Jamis Dragon 853 Reynolds frame with a SID fork which weighs in at about 25 lbs. I'll be selling this frame and shock soon - Santa is looking for a frame upgrade

    There are tons of good 26 er parts being sold - i could also include some parts, Deore shifters etc if you are interested in the frame. (This is a good excuse to up-grade your bike and use your stuff on the little frame).

    Steve
    Big Caveman - 2012 Specialized Epic Expert 29er and 2006 Santacruz Superlight - custom burple color
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    …but on Voyage 34, he finally met himself coming down an up-staircase, and the encounter was crushing (Porcupine Tree).

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    http://shutesbranchmtb.blogspot.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Specialized_Michael View Post
    Most mountain bike races have 14 and younger and 15 and older junior class. However these classes are normally small in numbers. If he dominates the junior class then he will be able to move up to the sport (Cat 2) 19-29 class which has greater numbers, does 2 laps, and is pretty competitive. If he dominates that class then he can move to the expert (Cat 1) 19-29 class. This is exactly how Tanner did it. He dominated the junior class and moved to the sport or Cat 2 19-29 class at 14-15 dominated that class and is now in the Expert or cat 1 19-29 class at 17 and dominates that class and is trying for a Pro license for next year. But we will all agree Tanner is the exception not the norm but I was just illustrating what can happen if you have a truly dominate youngster. The key is to get the kid a USA cycling license and get him racing and putting up results and if he is truly dominate he will move up quickly.

    However, per the USA cycling rules he would have to start in the junior class an accumulate results to show that he was ready to move up and the only way to keep his result tied to him is having a USA cycling license.

    Hope this helps.
    thanks for all the info. i will pass it on to his dad and see if can get him out riding strong, has good bike and is drivin to race better races so good start thanks
    2012 YEYI ARS-5
    2012 Kona Jake CX
    2006 trek 4900, fox rlc 100mm, Chris king headset, axonic outlaw wheel set.

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