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Chattahoochee Grippers: Ready to ride in 2020

Chattahoochee Grippers: Able to trip in 2020

Chattahoochee Grippers: Ready to ride in 2020

Chris Doane

Recognition surged for the Chattahoochee Grippers and the crew is fielding 35 members, practically 3 times as many as final yr.


Final spring, bicycle gross sales noticed their greatest spike within the U.S. for the reason that oil disaster of the Seventies, and Coweta County was no exception. When colleges closed, native bike store homeowners reported a surge of recent bike gross sales and repairs.

A few of these riders at the moment are a part of the Chattahoochee Grippers, an area interscholastic mountain biking crew who’re at present getting ready for his or her first competitors of the yr, an upcoming race at Allatoona Creek.

Initially fashioned because the Coweta Composite Group, the crew reformed final yr as The Chattahoochee Grippers as a way to have a wider enchantment to center and highschool college students exterior of Coweta County, in response to Kent McMullen, the crew’s director.

Recognition has surged and the crew is fielding 3 times as many members as final yr. The 35 members who make up the 2020 Grippers follow 3 times every week at Brown’s Mill Battlefield in Coweta and Cochran Mill in South Fulton.

The Grippers season started final July and spans till mid-November. Whereas the registration deadline has handed, McMullen stated he’s optimistic much more riders can be coming again subsequent yr to compete.

“We had one rider who registered solely two hours earlier than cutoff,” he stated. “We have been getting round two requests every week from college students wanting to return examine us out.”

The riders, who vary from sixth to twelfth grade, are divided into 5 subgroups named after legendary path programs together with DuPont, Moab, Whistler, Kingdom and Pisgah. This yr, the crew options seven feminine riders, together with three excessive schoolers.

The Grippers head coach, Kurt Dorshimer, together with over 20 assistant coaches, put together the riders for a collection of 5 races towards 65 different groups from everywhere in the state of Georgia.

Races include laps on a mountain bike path which can be about 4 ½ to five ½ miles lengthy, stated McMullen. Center college college students compete in a single lap whereas freshmen and sophomores race in two laps, juniors full three laps and seniors and varsity-level athletes do 4 laps.

Every race is a little bit completely different due to numerous parts current on the programs. The upcoming race at Allatoona Park options rocks and roots alongside the path that stop riders from gaining velocity.

Nonetheless, due to the challenges posed by COVID-19, the race format is completely different this yr. As a substitute of head-to-head racing, every crew will race the clock as a substitute. Lined up quickest to slowest, riders take off in 10-second increments for a race that’s usually just below an hour.

After a weekend of racing, outcomes are then decided and revealed the next week. It may not be as satisfying as face to face, however riders are pleased to be competing.

“They’re completely loving it,” McMullen stated. “You’ll be able to see it of their eyes – they’re obsessed with it.”

So how does a crew triple in measurement over the span of 1 season? McMullen credit native bike outlets for the surge in participation this yr.

“They’ve been enormous supporters and actually help our riders,” he stated. “Our bike outlets have made it occur.”

Whereas registration for the 2020 season is over, extra details about the Georgia Interscholastic Biking League will be discovered at http://georgiamtb.org .

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