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Ride Vibes: Have a Kind State of Mind

Ride Vibes: Have a Kind State of Mind

How a youth team in West Virginia is stewarding trails and spreading kindness in the community Some seventy miles south of Snowshoe Mountain in West…

Monday, Apr 11

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How a youth team in West Virginia is stewarding trails and spreading kindness in the community

Some seventy miles south of Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia is Greenbrier State Forest where a team of 6th to 12th graders ride bikes, steward trails, and build community through mountain biking.

The Greenbrier Valley Hellbenders Youth Cycling Team (GVH) was formed in 2019 as part of the West Virginia Interscholastic Cycling League , one of 31 NICA leagues across the country. Coaches Sarah Elkins and Max Hammer founded the team because they wanted their son to be able to ride with other kids and have more opportunities in mountain biking. The team started out with nine student athletes.

Max has been riding, racing, and building trails for decades. He and Sarah are staunch mountain bike advocates and long-time IMBA supporters. They helped GVH secure a Trail Accelerator Grant in 2021 to explore bringing more trails to the area. IMBA chatted with Max and Sarah to find out how their background in trail stewardship and advocacy inspires how they coach student athletes. Greenbrier Valley Hellbenders cheer each other on in practices and races. Photo courtesy of Sarah Elkins. Kindness comes first

In GVH’s first season, six members raced and three had podium finishes. The Hellbenders had 26 riders in the 2021 season and continue to have strong showings at NICA races. But the athletes don’t let winning get to their heads. Even with all the awards, kindness takes first place.

Sarah shared how one of […]

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