Mountain Bike Summer Camps Introduce Students To The Sport, Get Them Race-Ready

Summer mountain bike camps for young riders are popping up all across the USA this year. Campers can learn new skills and get ready for NICA race season.

Photo: Dennis Crane.

Mountain bike summer camps for teenagers are popping up around the U.S. Teens have opportunities to improve their skills, adopt a healthier lifestyle, and even learn to race.

Georgia NICA chapter development camp

Georgia students in grades six through 11 can pack their bags — and bikes — and head to a mountain bike camp during summer vacation this year. The Georgia Interscholastic Cycling League, a NICA affiliate, is hosting a mountain bike skills camp with room for up to 30 students from July 13 – 16. The Georgia Rider Development Summer Camp will be held at the Dauset Trails in Jackson, GA, a network with over 20-miles of trails.

The camp plans to have five coaches on staff. They’ll lead students through skills like body positioning, bike handling, cornering, and how to read and understand terrain.

The program also includes instruction on topics like proper nutrition for mountain biking, ride preparation, fitness, safety, and trail etiquette.

The camp’s tentative schedule starts with breakfast, followed by a three-hour skills session, and then lunch. After lunch, students hit the trail for more skills sessions and a ride. In the evening, there are presentations and games.

The short, three-day camp for Georgia students is $499 before June 30 and $525 until the last day of registration on July 11.

Focused Riding: MTB skills and personal development

David Mendlewski was inspired to start a mountain bike skills camp this summer after realizing that riding offers therapeutic benefits. The Storm King School will host a camp in Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY from July 29 – August 12. Students aged 12 – 15 will focus on introducing the students to a less-distracted lifestyle.

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“The idea to create a summer riding program came to me early in the fall of 2017 after a conversation with a colleague and parent. A fellow mountain bike coach raved about the benefits of mountain biking for his fourteen-year-old son, who was recently diagnosed with ADHD,” said Mendlewski in a previous Singletracks article, sponsored by the Storm King School.

The Storm King School’s camp starts each day with warm-up stretches, skills lessons, and time for reading. Throughout the day, they also fit in time for yoga, bike maintenance, reflection writing, and an occasional night ride.

Students from the Storm King School line up to ride. Photo: Storm King School.

The cost of the two week Storm Mountain School in New York starts at $2,800.

Killington summer student sessions

Race-ready students in Killington, VT can head to the local mountain bike park this summer too, for advanced lessons that will prepare them for downhill, cross-country, and cyclocross racing.

The Killington downhill camp is six sessions long, and different classes are held from June to August. Students learn bike maintenance skills, handling skills, and will be ready to enter a race — or just ride more confidently at the end of the program.

The cyclocross and cross-country programs are planned with a similar intent.

Photo: Storm King School.

“Expect to be on your bike most of the week and [to] go home tired,” says the description on their website. 

Riders will talk cross-country race tactics, dismounting on cyclocross courses, and will also learn strength training and other components of race preparation.

Parents can expect to pay varying costs at each of the programs. At the Killington Mountain School, tuition starts at $500 and $700 for the downhill and cross-country and cyclocross camps.

Ride like a ninja

photo: Ninja Mountain Bike Performance

In Manitowish Waters, WI, Ninja Mountain Bike Performance is partnering with the Camp Jorn YMCA to offer a week-long mountain bike camp for youth.

Camp Jorn, located just down the road from the WinMan trails, is an established summer camp that sits on a lake and has a bike skills park.

“We’re thrilled to help campers reach their riding goals — whether that means getting race ready or simply conquering a new skill on the bike,” says founder Richard La China.

The camp runs from June 24 – 30 and mixes elements from traditional summer camps like swimming and archery in the mornings with mountain biking in the afternoon.

Interested riders can register on the Camp Jorn website, and Ninja Mountain Bike Performance offers scholarships for the camp as well. The camp fee is $500 and includes the skills program and lodging.

Other camps across the country

Know of a youth mountain biking camp happening this summer? Tell us about it in the comments!

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