The Northeast Kingdom Youth Downhill Team: IdeRide Racing

Exchange your Wilson soccer ball pump for a bicycle pump and turf tearing Addidas cleats for flat soled Five Ten bike shoes. You’ve just thrown yourself into a Tuesday night ride with IdeRide Racing. Lube your chain, check your spoke tension and enter the pre-ride wheelie competition. This isn’t just another group ride but a training session for the upcoming mountain bike season. Every Tuesday this summer the evenings in East Burke, Vermont will begin this way.

IdeRide Racing consists of eight local kids ranging in age from 10 through 16, and is geared at supporting a passion and drive for gravity fed mountain biking. The team is the first of its kind in the Northeast Kingdom as an alternative to soccer and baseball club sports. Knight Ide, local trail builder and racer himself, along with Chris Hibshman, an avid rider and owner of Lyndonville’s Village Sports Shop coach the team. With different ages come different goals, but collectively the kids hope to progress over the summer while being ambassadors of the NEK and Burke.

Part of the team alongside coach Alex McAndrew.

Part of the team alongside coach Alex McAndrew.

IdeRide Racing sprouted several years ago when siblings Knight, Lilias and Skye Ide were impacted by mountain biking and wanted to share that passion with the youth through mountain bike camps. The influence of older, more skilled and even professional riders has always been a part of their instruction. Based on this model the current weekly group ride sees additional coaching from Alex McAndrew, a local downhill pro, who joins the team providing technical and tactical advice. And, although not as frequent, some of the past IdeRide camp participants ride with the team to share their continued excitement for the sport.

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Barrett is half your size and will nip at your rear wheel for most of the ride. Photo: Mike Kirtley

Some days the Tuesday night ride begins spinning up Burke Mountain access road. The group gets dispersed, some of the stronger riders hold on to Knight’s wheel, or the other way around, while others buzz their friend’s tires. Although each race will rely on individual efforts (similar to ski racing), the competitive encouragement during group rides strengthens their skill. Having some structure during the week provides a platform for them to pedal at their own pace, while being encourage to advance their personal skill by chasing friends.

Quality nutrition and healthy stretching habits are practiced during training sessions.

Quality nutrition and healthy stretching habits are practiced during training sessions.

A freight train of style, speed and youth is a common sight most Friday afternoons at the Burke Mountain Bike Park as the team links together the mountain’s various features. With Tuesday being the formal day of riding together, most other days informally end up that way. A cacophony of hooting erupts while descending the park; their sense of community and friendship established through bicycle riding sets a respectable example for other youths curious about getting involved with the sport.

IdeRide Racing is hard to miss. Usually half your height and twice your energy, they are an active group of kids tearing around the races. That being said, the light they put on the NEK at races is positive and respectful. At the end of the day, no matter finishing poorly or with good results, the whole IdeRide Racing team congregates at awards with honor in cheering teammates and friends that have placed well. A place with quality bicycling is one thing but the people are what make it. The Ideride Racing team shows no hesitation with their appreciation for what the NEK has given them, and pays that forward by setting examples as people that create the NEK a destination for riding.

Wilder, of IdeRide Racing, sharing the celebration on the podium.

Wilder, of IdeRide Racing, sharing the celebration on the podium.

With the season nearly completed, their training is showing. Pat’s Peak, NH, a gnarly northeast classic, ended with two IdeRide Racing athletes in the top ten for their separate classes. Earlier this summer at Killington, VT IdeRide Racing put three athletes in the top ten for under 14 boys and two athletes in the top ten for Cat 2/3 15-18 boys. Just last weekend, at the Burke Triple Crown Enduro, an event combining the technical skills of Downhilling with endurance, Quinn Cambell took first place in the 18 and under category.

Racing kits wouldn't have been possible without the help from sponsors.

Racing kits wouldn’t have been possible without the help from sponsors.

As the kids encourage each other to improve their riding, the logistical elements, like entry fees and travel expenses, are supported through the local cycling community. IdeRide Racing wouldn’t be possible without the help from East Burke Sports, Village Sport Shop, Mountain Bike Vermont (MTBVT), Scott T. Bedell Dental Associates, Beast Coasters and Amature Cooperative.

Follow the team online here.

Contact Knight Ide at Knight@ideride.com with further questions.

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