New Pro DH team forming in Whitefish, MT

Forums Mountain Bike Forum New Pro DH team forming in Whitefish, MT

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      Prather and Hobbs have organized a new professional downhill mountain biking team. The group, called the Great Northern Cycles Downhill Team, currently consists of five sponsored local members with Hobbs as the de facto captain. Competitions are slated throughout the spring and summer around the Pacific Northwest, including an event at Whitefish Mountain Resort, the team’s premier sponsor, in August.

      “Cycling has really done a lot for me over the years,” Prather said. “But today (competitive racing) is kind of a dying sport from when I started in the heyday, for various reasons. There’s video games and kids have a lot of other interests. But racing and competition is good and healthy, and I just really want to foster that.”

      Hobbs and Prather began planning the race team over the last year. Hobbs, who attends Montana State University and works at Great Northern in the summers, had been racing downhill since he was in high school, but on his own and without an organized local effort. Teaming up with Prather, he gathered sponsors and developed safe trails throughout the valley that would be the upstart team’s training grounds.

      “The valley has a huge cycling community with a bunch of avid cyclists,” Hobbs said. “There’s a rogue club and cross country clubs and some competitive cross country teams. But there weren’t any competition downhill teams.”

      Hobbs recently competed in his first pro competition in Spokane. In two separate races in a field of over 180 competitors, Hobbs placed ninth and 12th.

      The team will compete in the Gravity Series, which features races throughout the region over the next few months. In downhill mountain bike racing, riders are battling time as they maneuver down single-track trails featuring a variety of obstacles. The competitions are for all ages and skill levels. Hobbs is the only member on the local team currently competing in the pro category, a distinction he earned by qualifying through USA Cycling.

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