CHASKA, Minn -- While some high school athletes spend, the fall hitting the pads, or pounding the pavement.
These kids are traversing the trails.
“Well it’s a really good way to meet kids and try new things,” says Kira Anderson a junior at Chanhassen. “And do things you didn’t know you were capable of.
This is the Chaska/Chanhassen mountain biking team. Kids from grades 7 through 12. And their roster is growing at an exponential rate.
“We’ve got some swimmers,” says Steve Kolbow the teams head coach. “And we’ve got some soccer players and hockey players.”
They’ll even provide you a bike, if needed. All you really need are strong legs and a stronger will to succeed.
“I think it’s great because we’ve have kids who can barely ride a bike at the beginning,” says Christina Ross an assistant coach. “And then they’re riding some of the most challenging single courses that we have,”
Despite the wide age ranges and ability levels – the kids mutual love for the sport bonds them.
“There’s a spot for every body and I think that’s something that a lot of the student athletes haven’t found in other sports,” says Kira Anderson. “That there’s a place for them regardless of the skill level or experience level.”
The season consists of 5 races and a state championship. But unlike other sports – there’s no pressure to compete.
“If you want to race you can race,” says Kolbow. “If you don’t want to race you don’t have to race. And nobody sits out.”
These kids aren’t taking a cruise after school. Biking maybe something a lot of people do recreationally but they are working pretty hard at training.
“A lot of the days are conditioning days,” says Anderson. “Hill repeats or long distance rides, sprints and intervals.”
“People think it’s not hard,” says Noah Anderson, a freshman at Chaska. “But it depends on the kind of person and what we do.”
What the sport is doing for these young kids is more than getting them physically fit, it’s about teaching them they can climb mountains both figuratively and literally.