Chattahoochee Grippers: Able to trip in 2020
Recognition surged for the Chattahoochee Grippers and the group is fielding 35 members, almost 3 times as many as final 12 months.
Final spring, bicycle gross sales noticed their largest spike within the U.S. because the oil disaster of the Seventies, and Coweta County was no exception. When faculties closed, native bike store house owners reported a surge of recent bike gross sales and repairs.
A few of these riders are actually a part of the Chattahoochee Grippers, a neighborhood interscholastic mountain biking group who’re at the moment making ready for his or her first competitors of the 12 months, an upcoming race at Allatoona Creek.
Initially fashioned because the Coweta Composite Group, the group reformed final 12 months as The Chattahoochee Grippers so as to have a wider enchantment to center and highschool college students exterior of Coweta County, based on Kent McMullen, the group’s director.
Recognition has surged and the group is fielding 3 times as many members as final 12 months. The 35 members who make up the 2020 Grippers apply 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 will probably be coming again subsequent 12 months 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 methods together with DuPont, Moab, Whistler, Kingdom and Pisgah. This 12 months, the group 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 encompass laps on a mountain bike path which can be about 4 ½ to five ½ miles lengthy, stated McMullen. Center faculty 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 bit of completely different due to varied parts current on the programs. The upcoming race at Allatoona Park options rocks and roots alongside the path that stop riders from gaining velocity.
Nevertheless, due to the challenges posed by COVID-19, the race format is completely different this 12 months. As an alternative of head-to-head racing, every group will race the clock as a substitute. Lined up quickest to slowest, riders take off in 10-second increments for a race that’s sometimes slightly below an hour.
After a weekend of racing, outcomes are then decided and revealed the next week. It won’t be as satisfying as face to face, however riders are blissful to be competing.
“They’re completely loving it,” McMullen stated. “You may see it of their eyes – they’re enthusiastic about it.”
So how does a group triple in measurement over the span of 1 season? McMullen credit native bike outlets for the surge in participation this 12 months.
“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 .