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Community Matters

Wood Buffalo Trailblazers Series

July 4th, 2014

Submitted by The Wood Buffalo Cycling Club

The Wood Buffalo Cycling Club is proudly hosting the “Wood Buffalo Trailblazer Series.”  


The Trailblazers Youth Racing program was developed in early 2013 to encourage youth of all ages and abilities to try competitive mountain biking.

In early 2013, youth development was targeted as one of the most important Strategic Objectives in the next five years and beyond. It was identified that the youth needed a series of their own focused on fun and inclusivity. This led to the development of the Trailblazers Youth Racing program. The key principles that will be the focal point for attracting new riders to the sport  are:

FUN. keeping the experience positive so youth continue to come back

Accessibility.  taking down every possible barrier to entry for youth of all ages and abilities

Freedom.  giving youth the choice to choose a race that suits their specific abilities

Trailblazers Youth Racing acknowledges the fact that regardless of age or gender, each individual child develops at a different rate. It’s for this reason that this race series will give youth the choice – at each and every event – to race the event that matches their own specific comfort levels. Trailblazers will not assign participants to specific race categories based on their age or gender; rather give them the freedom to choose their race. Participants will have the choice to race one of four separate race-course offerings of varying technical difficulties suited to their individual skill levels.

Race Categories:

Little Rippers

The “Little Ripper” category encompasses the youngest first time mountain bike racers. Recommended age for Little Rippers is 8 years-old and under. The Little Rippers Race will have a primary focus on fun, offering very few technical sections. Boys and girls will race together in this category. The race will be led and followed by experienced racers.

Following the Little Rippers race, participants will be encouraged to observe the higher-level races.


  -  Small loop (several laps optional)

  -  Elevation: 85% flat. Small gradual climbs & descents   

  -  Majority doubletrack with little-to-no singletrack

  -  Optimal winning time: 20 minutes or less


The “Gnarly” category is offered for just that, beginners. Riders in this category will be first-time racers from all age groups and graduates from the “Little Rippers” race category. The emphasis of this race course will be fun, with mild technical sections to challenge the riders’ abilities and introduce them to mountain bike racing. The recommended age group for this category is 9 to 12.


  -  Single loop

  -  Elevation: One or two gradual climbs/descents. No more than one steep climb and/or descent.

  -  Equal ratio of singletrack and doubletrack

  -  Optimal winning time: 25 minutes or less


The “Geared” category is offered for riders who have tried a youth series mountain bike race in the past and are looking for a new challenge. The emphasis of this race will be fun, with increased technical skills development. Riders in the Geared category will primarily be graduates from the Gnarly category and older first-time racers. The recommended age group for this category is 11 to 14.


  -  Single loop

  -  Elevation: Primarily flat with several gradual climbs/descents. No more than two steep climbs/descents

  -  Slightly more singletrack than double track (roughly 65% singletrack)

  -  Optimal winning time: 30 minutes or less


The “Dialed” category is offered for riders looking for the biggest challenge on race-day. Riders in this category will be graduates of the Geared category, or advanced first time racers. Technical skills will be put to the test in this category offering a mix of difficult climbs/descents and technical singletrack sections. The recommended age group for this race   category is ages 13 to 16.


  -  Single loop

  -  Elevation: Mostly varying elevation with many gradual climbs/descents. Two or more steep climbs/descents

  -  Up to three-quarters of the race course will be singletrack

  -  Optimal winning time: 40 minutes or less

The next races in the series will happen on July 26 and September 27, all at the Birchwood Trails, starting with registration at 8:30am and racing at 9am.

Tags: Biking

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