Meet the RGC Rattlers: Riders from the Rio Grande
Colorado high school mountain biking is on the rise.
The only valley visible from space and nestled between the San Juan Mountains and there Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado is a trail destination about to bloom. The Prong Horn Trail, Stone Quarry, Mate Vista, Alamosa, Del Norte- the amount of new singltrack is growing, so there is a group out to grow new riders as well.
Events like the 12 Hours of Penitence outside De Norte are bringing mountain bikers from all over, and function a fundraiser for the high school composite team, The RGC Rattlers.
“We have this great trail system, but we don’t have a huge population of riders in the valley,” said Brian Stevenson, a Rattlers coach. “The adults are having a blast, so we decided this is an opportunity to get the kids involved in something they’ll do for the rest of their lives.”
The team, formed from three San Luis Valley high schools, is part of the Colorado High School Mountain Biking League, and travels the state to compete. With some rough and rugged trail around their home turf for practice, there’s no better training ground.
To Stevenson and other people involved, it’s much more than sport. It may be similar to any other extra curricular activity, but it’s also helping kids develop an appreciation for the outdoors along side a deeper sense of challenge and self improvement.
“The healthy part and getting in shape is obvious, but I think it’s really a way to challenge themselves. I tell the riders, ‘this isn’t race against other riders, this a race against yourself.'”