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‘12 Hours of Penitence’ happening Oct. 14

Mountain bike endurance race in Penitente Canyon benefits SLV teens

Eric and Raleigh Burt of Kristi Mountain Sports announced that the 3rd year of the endurance race, “12 Hours of Penitence” (12 HOP), will take place the morning of October 14 in the beautiful Penitente Canyon in the San Luis Valley.

The race will have a LeMans start of solo, duo and three person teams in the 16.8-mile loop. Half of the $100-per-racer registration fee will go to the local NICA (The National Interscholastic Cycling Association) high school mountain bike team, the San Luis Valley Rattlers.

Penitente Canyon is a blast! On BLM land, it is a combination of wide-open meadow singletrack paths through vertical walled canyons, and challenging climbs and descents. This year there will be more great prizes such as Three Barrel’s prizes for anyone able to ride the short hike-a-bike section of the course, and they are making a special beer for the race called “12 HOP”.

The race has expanded from previous years with food, beer sponsor/vendors, a stage and live music. Friends and families of cyclists are encouraged to bring shade tents and lawn chairs, enjoy the festivities and cheer on the mountain bikers.

“The 12 HOP is a vital event for the San Luis Valley. It can showcase our beautiful region and the incredible access for mountain bikers. As a grassroots organized event, this collaboration between public agents like the Alamosa School District and Del Norte Trails, and private agents like Kristi Mountain Sports, demonstrates the best aspect of our close knit community working together. Undoubtedly, there are other races and events in the region but none of them showcase the vistas found in the San Luis Valley and support a vital program like sustaining the next generation of mountain bikers.” said Aaron Miltenberger, Director of Student Life and Recreation at Adams State University.

The race is locally sponsored by numerous organizations from throughout the region. Last year’s event was a success benefitting Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. New this year is a partnership with Adams State University and Tamera G. Rice, Race Director the Adventure Sports Coordinator at Adams State University.

You may register for the race at www.12hoursofpenitence.com. The race proceeds go to support the new composite high school NICA team in the San Luis Valley, the Rio Grande Composite Rattlers. The NICA-certified volunteer coaches are Brian Stevenson, a teacher from Monte Vista High School, and Larry Roberts, a local real estate agent. NICA is the governing body of the team along with hundreds of teams across the U.S. For more information on NICA, check out the video on YouTube, “More than a Sport”, to see how mountain biking changes the lives of kids. Also, visit their website, www.nica.org. NICA also provides every child and coach insurance coverage during practice and races.

The new NICA mountain biking team is for beginners and advanced cyclists. A NICA-certified fitness professional teaches the basics of mountain biking safety and new skills. Some teens don’t know how to ride mountain bikes so it was decided to start at the beginning, teaching safety along with riding well. The program took off from there with many teens spending their time mountain biking on Sunday afternoons this summer, riding at the Lime Kiln, Penitente Canyon and other trails in the SLV. NICA Coach Brian Stevenson said, “We are thrilled at the positive response the teens in the SLV have shown.” The interest in mountain biking was an unexpected surprise.

These are very exciting times for teens in the SLV. The question isn’t “if” but “when” SLV could produce the next promising Olympic mountain biker.

Race attendees, sponsors and volunteers are excited to share the 12 HOP race proceeds to encourage and enable teen mountain bikers in the SLV. Details of future training, coaching staff opportunities, and athletic development will be offered at the race, or you can contact the coaches through the RGC Rattlers Facebook page.

International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Executive Director and Founding Director of Mountain Sports at Western State Colorado University, Dave Wiens loves that NICA has arrived in SLV. He said: “NICA feeds most of the collegiate teams in the state and nationally. It’s huge.”

Tamera Rice, Race Director and Adventure Sports Coordinator at Adams State said: “The San Luis Valley is a breeding ground for success. We know this because many elite athletes come here to trian. The sky’s the limit for the talented and lucky teens living in SLV. Attracting teens of varied socio-economic lives may seem like a challenge but sports and recreation are the great equalizer: everyone likes to play and be cheered for and everyone likes to win. Helping teens discover they are good at something is part of the equation and affordability is key. Helmets and bikes are available, if you don’t have one. There are no limitations. I am excited about this opportunity for teens in San Luis Valley. Our goals are to provide recreational and racing opportunities to all middle and high school kids in SLV schools. We are striving to ensure no child is without opportunities to mountain bike. Thanks to many volunteer, executive and academic staff, we have the opportunity to share excellent mountain bike trails and mountain bike coaching with a rare combination of talented, smart, competitive teens and competition breeds excellence.”

Races need many volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering or have questions contact us at 12hoursofpenitence@gmail.com.

Register here: www.12hoursofpenitence.com

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