Mountain bike racing.
Sounds like an interesting sport. Must admit, I didn't know much about it, or its popularity with high school age kids, until I started checking things out.
Not everything is baseball, football, hockey, basketball and the list goes on. Mountain biking is just another way to keep in shape, have fun and also compete for a school —- assuming the administration gives the thumbs up.
Durham Region has 10 high schools with teams. The sport is catching on in the Greater Toronto Area. Huron Heights Secondary in Newmarket also is involved and mountain biking is really big in Eastern Ontario. I called Mike Ring, a high school teacher at O'Neill Secondary in Oshawa and convener of the Durham Region school league, to get the background. Interesting guy. Found out that there is also an Ontario Invitational high school race set for May 22 at Hardwood Hills, north of Barrie.
South Grenville District High, near Prescott, Ont., will host the 2009 Eastern Ontario school final on May 15. The video (above) shows highlights from last year's final involving schools from Kingston, Cornwall and the Ottawa Valley.
The sport, which attracts boys and girls, is like cross-country. But on bicycles. There are jumps and drops, and every mountain biker is required to wear a helmet. Makes sense. Like everything else, from selecting hockey equipment to buying a baseball glove, this sport allows the competitor to purchase his or her own bike. That can be costly.
And for those who aren't so sure about this sport, talk to Emily Batty. She's from Brooklin, which is northeast of Toronto. Batty not only finished first at the national mountain bike championships, but recently did very well at the under-23 Pan American mountain bike race in Santiago, Chile.