HOUGHTON, Mich. - The Michigan Tech mountain bike camp, which serves as a fundraiser for the cross country, Nordic skiing and track and field teams, was a success for the second year in a row.
The camp nearly doubled in size from last year with 14 youth taking part in this year’s camp. The campers ranged in age from 13 to 17 and included a large number of girls.
“It was great to see such a large increase in participants from last year’s camp,” said camp director Joe Haggenmiller.
The campers enjoyed plenty of rides through out the trails in the Keweenaw and did so under the watchful eye of Brian Matter and his wife Andrea Hildebrand Matter who are both professional mountain bike riders for the Gear Grinder team. The duo gave the riders many lessons on the technical aspects involved in riding a trail such as the “Epic Rated Trails” by the International Mountain Biking Association in Copper Harbor.
“I remember my days as a junior racer,” said Brian. “I love being a part of this camp and being able to give back to the next generation of riders.”
Many of the campers, who traveled from Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, were surprised at the high quality of the trails in the area.
“People in the Keweenaw are so fortunate to have so many miles of great trails in the area,” said Brian, who has traveled all over the world racing his bike.
The campers also had the chance to try out several of the newest bikes during a demo by Trek, a sponsor of both the camp and Brian.
The riders were treated to more bike culture even when they got off the bike. Brian gave a presentation about becoming a professional bike racer starting from his days as a junior racer to qualifying for the cyclocross world championships. He touched on many other aspects of racing, including sponsorship, travel and training.
Dr. John Durocher, research assistant professor in kinesiology and integrative physiology at Michigan Tech, gave a presentation on training covering topics such as structuring your training, racing, weight lifting, and proper nutrition.
The highlight for many of the campers was the chance to take part in the Chain Drive race, with many of the riders using their new skills from the camp to earn spots on the podium.
Even though the camp was centered around biking, the campers spent time at the beach and enjoyed a fireworks show.
The camp will be held again in 2012 over Father’s Day weekend.