Hundreds roll into Southern Utah for high school mountain biking championship race

Flying Monkeys Ethan Hurst and Jensen Werner participate in a cross-country mountain bike race. Location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Cristina Werner, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – More than 850 high school mountain bike athletes are gathering in St. George for this Saturday’s state championship race for the Utah High School Cycling League.

Taking place in the Green Valley area of St. George, the event features a 4.36-mile-long course that will challenge the student athletes with slickrock technical sections, dry washes and 600 feet of elevation gain.

This is the second year that the organization has selected St. George as the venue for its championship race. When last year’s race ended, organizers say the athletes and their families gave overwhelmingly positive feedback about the course and the nearby amenities.

“The trail is phenomenal,” said Ron Jensen, head coach of the high school team from Washington County. “After the success of last year, we are excited to again host teams from all over the state to enjoy St. George’s warm weather and unique terrain.”

The Washington County mountain biking team, called the Flying Monkeys, consists of 75 athletes from five high schools: Desert Hills, Dixie, Hurricane, Pine View and Snow Canyon. Jensen said he anticipates that nearly every member of the team will compete in Saturday’s race.

St. George now boasts more than 350 miles of single-track and double-track mountain biking trails. The trails — known for their high degree of technicality — have combined with the area’s celebrated landscape and legendary hospitality to make St. George a mountain biking hot spot.

“Our mountain biking trails are popular because they offer variety and year-round convenience,” said Kevin Lewis, director of sports marketing for the St. George Area Tourism Office. “Riders enjoy the thrill of soaring to the top of red rock mesas and taking in the incredible scenery.”

Event details

  • What: Utah High School Mountain Bike 2015 Championships
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 24, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Awards banquet at 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: Green Valley mountain biking area, located at the end of Canyon View Drive in St. George
  • Admission: Public is invited to attend
  • Details: www.utahmtb.org

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1 Comment

  • mjvande October 24, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Introducing children to mountain biking is CRIMINAL. Mountain biking, besides being expensive and very environmentally destructive, is extremely dangerous. Recently a 12-year-old girl DIED during her very first mountain biking lesson! Another became quadriplegic at 13! Serious accidents and even deaths are commonplace. Truth be told, mountain bikers want to introduce kids to mountain biking because (1) they want more people to help them lobby to open our precious natural areas to mountain biking and (2) children are too naive to understand and object to this activity. For 500+ examples of serious accidents and deaths caused by mountain biking, see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb_dangerous.htm.

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .

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