Big changes brewing at STORMBC 

Youth mountain bike club forms partnerships with WORCA, Sprockids

The Single Track Off-Road Mountain Bike Club is shifting things into high gear this season, and will be following a slightly different trail.

The club is now officially a non-profit society that will soon operate under the name of the Canadian Youth Cycling Clubs society. STORMBC will continue to be the name of the club’s Under 17 competitive team, which will be on hold until 2004.

"We’ve had a great group of kids come through, and now we’re looking for the next team. This summer will be a kind of a try-out year, and if we have some good prospects in there, we’ll work on getting them some sponsorship for the next few years," explains STORMBC founder and head coach Chris Colbeck.

Two alumni of STORMBC, Jeff Beatty and Brook Baker, went on to become national junior downhill champions, and represent Canada at the World Championships. Both have since been picked up by pro factory teams, with Beatty riding for Brodie and Baker riding for Norco.

The other side of the club, which is focused on providing cross-country and downhill instruction and training programs for kids aged 7 to 18, will get a boost this season as a result of a pair of partnerships.

The partnership with local mountain bike club WORCA, which had over 1,000 members last year and held four youth dirt camps over the summer, is all about youth development, Colbeck says.

STORMBC’s certified coaches will lead WORCA dirt camps and clinics over the course of the year, and WORCA, through their weekly Loonie races and new Friday night gravity series races, will provide a venue for the STORMBC youth to train, build fitness and learn to compete. The club members will participate in the Loonie races at least every second week.

In addition, the WORCA and STORMBC youth who compete in these races and volunteer in the community can earn WORCA bucks, a kind of Monopoly money that can be used towards STORMBC programs and WORCA dirt camps.

"We’ve been trying to work together with WORCA for years," says Colbeck.

"What that will do is to make membership fees cheaper because the kids will only have to pay for insurance once. We’re both pretty focussed on youth development as well, and want to see more kids out there riding, racing, having fun.

"One of our mandates is to work more closely with the community and programs like WORCA, the local rec centres, Whistler Mountain, and that type of thing. I’m sure there’s all kinds of projects we can work on together in the future as well.

"Ultimately, we’d like to see kids signing up for mountain biking every spring just like they would sign up for hockey or skiing."

The Canadian Youth Cycling Club’s programs will also change this year as a result of a new partnership between STORMBC and the Sprockids Program.

Sprockids, a youth mountain bike club that started in Gibsons, was adopted by the Canadian Cycling Association over the winter. The club combines the sport of mountain biking with a program to build self-esteem in the classroom and beyond.

Sprockids motto is "The Two Wheeled Approach to Self Esteem," and according to the Web site at www.sprockids.com, it’s a "multi-tiered approach designed to provide participants the opportunity to experience success on a variety of levels. Through the sport of mountain biking, students develop a strong sense of self-esteem, while discovering the potential within themselves. Sprockids has developed a curriculum to integrate mountain biking into every aspect of the school curriculum. The program can be used to make learning exciting and relevant in; Math, Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, Art, PE, Personal Planning, Environmental Studies, Home Economics, Industrial Education, Counseling, Anger Management, and After School Cycling Programs."

Only a pilot program for this year, Sprockids will be released across the country in 2004, and is geared to kids aged 9 to 12.

In addition to partnerships with WORCA and Sprockids, STORMBC and CYCC has a big spring, summer and fall ahead, starting with the after school program every Wednesday from 2:45 p.m. to 5 p.m. until June 5.

The club will also be starting its Sunday program, running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. until June 29.

Interested youth aged 7 to 18 can apply for these programs through the Meadow Park Sports Centre, or by calling 604-935-8350.

The full slate of STORMBC/CYCC programs is available online at www.stormbc.com/programs.asp.

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