Armidale gets another first for regional mountain biking!

Post date: Sep 10, 2015 9:03:24 AM

A student putting all the skills together and dropping down The Rock at the MTBA Junior Development Camp

Armidale marked another first for country NSW with the peak organisation Mountain Biking Australia (MTBA) holding its first Junior Development Camp in regional NSW. This follows another national first for Mountain Biking Australia when it held the first Level 1 Mountain Biking Coaching course outside a capital city, in July, in Armidale this year.

A main driver for attracting these nationally accredited courses to Armidale has been David Harris, owner of Bicycle Central on Marsh, and Vice President of New England Mountain Biking Inc (NEMTB). Mr Harris stated, “These are further exciting steps forward for mountain biking in Armidale and nationally!”

Last weekend’s Junior Development Camp was attended by 24 students aged from 13 to 17 who had travelled from as far south as Bathurst and west from Moree. In addition to honing their mountain biking skills they learnt about the importance of stretching, core exercises, drugs in sport and nutrition.

Mr Harris stated, “The Athletes were a mixed standard but the willingness to learn and to work as a team was inspiring. Armidale and specifically the UNE are a pleasure to deal with, nothing was a problem and the team bent over backwards to look after us.”

The camp was also attended by Evan James, Junior Development Coordinator & Coach Education for MTBA who travelled from Adelaide to assist. Mr James stated, “There is an awesome scene happening and it was good to be part of it.” He also added, “UNE facilities along with the trails on site (SportUNE) and the close proximity of The Piney area (mountain bike trails) made for the best camp location I have seen in Australia so far.”

In parallel to the Junior Development Camp, Level 1 Coaches were assessed by Mountain Biking Australia on their practical components to finalise their Level 1 Mountain Bike Coach accreditation. The 12 trainees travelled from as far as the Gold Coast to attend the session. Chris Feltham, a trainee coach and the Camp Manager said, “It was fantastic to see the growth of the students over the three days and it all ran very smoothly.”

New England Mountain Bikers are currently working with the University of New England to install further track which will also include technical features to lift the current trail infrastructure to a World Cup level. The club President Peter Hosking stated that, “The partnership between NEMTB and SportUNE has developed a unique opportunity where we can hold high calibre events due to the mountain bike trails and fantastic sporting facilities being located in the same complex.” Mr James from MTBA stated, “The potential for the area in terms of national and international events is almost limitless. With the addition of some more technically challenging and difficult tracks the location could easily cater for elite level training camps and competition.”

Anyone thinking about getting into mountain biking, or improve they skills, should watch out for the free Newcastle Permanent Get Active Armidale program starting on Monday 12 October. The Mountain Biking Program involves New England Mountain Bikers club providing 4 weeks of free coaching for children through to adults from 5pm on Mondays. Search the web for Get Active Armidale for more information.