Whether you want to organize a fun Kids of Mud Club event to close the season, collaborate with other clubs to co-host a youth race, or organize a Youth Race series for youth (members and non-members), here are the steps to help you get started!

 

HISTORY + DESCRIPTION  
The Flexxaire Trailblazers Youth Racing program was developed in early 2013 as a means of encouraging youth of all ages and abilities to try competitive mountain biking in Alberta. The aim of the program was to make mountain bike racing fully accessible to youth.

Youth development has been targeted as one of our most important Strategic Objectives. Since youth participation at many Mountain bike Cup Provincial races has generally been low, it was identified that the youth needed a series of their own focused on fun and inclusivity. The development of the Trailblazers Youth Racing program identifies several key principles that will be the focal point for attracting new riders to the sport. They are:

FUN!  
Keeping the experience positive so youth continue to come back

ACESSIBILITY!
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 five separate race-course offerings of varying technical difficulties suited to their individual skill levels.

Race organizers are encouraged to offer ancillary events on top of racing such as team relays, skills clinics, fun games, guest speakers and theme nights. This re-enforces the overall goal of the program to keep racing fun and make sure that participants associate a positive memory with the program.

Trailblazers Youth Racing will now have a “Prairie” focus. The 2013 series started with a pilot in the Capital region of Edmonton & surrounding municipalities, and Kananaskis Region stretching from Canmore as far as Calgary. With the expansion of the Kids of Mud program across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in 2022, the ultimate goal is to see growth of this race series across the Prairie Provinces!

RACE CATEGORIES:

Strider
The “Strider” category encompasses the youngest first time mountain bike racers. Only those with strider or push bikes will be allowed to race in this category. Recommended age for Striders is 6 years-old and under. The Striders 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 Striders race, participants will be encouraged to observe the higher-level races.

Course:
   –  Small loop (several laps optional)
   –  Elevation: 95% flat. Small gradual climbs & descents    
   –  Majority doubletrack with little-to-no singletrack
   –  Optimal winning time: 10 minutes or less

Little Rippers
The “Little Ripper” category, a step up from Strider, 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.

Course:
   –  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


Gnarly

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.

Course:
   –  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

Geared
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.

Course:
   –  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


Dialed

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.

Course:
   –  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

SUMMARY

 RACE CATEGORY RECOMMENDED AGE OPTIMAL WINNING TIME DIFFICULTY
Strider U7   Ages 6 and under 10 min or less Beginner
(Strider Bikes only)
Little Rippers  U7 to U9
Ages 8 and under
 20 min or less Beginner
(Young Child)
Gnarly U11 to U13
Ages 9 to 12
 25 min or less  Beginner
 Geared  U13 (Advanced) to U15
Ages 11 to 14
 30 min or less  Intermediate
Dialed  U15 (Advanced) to U17
Ages 13 to 16
 40 min or less  Advanced

Membership Guidelines

Trailblazers Youth Racing events will be considered “Club Racing” Events under Sanction Guidelines. There will be no Commissaires assigned, no provincial cup points assigned, and no requirements for a “Race” license (UCI or Manitobal Race license).

Athletes may participate with a valid General Membership (or Race License).

First time riders who do not possess a valid annual membership may participate as a non-member, providing that parents/guardians sign a waiver, and the organizer keeps a list of non-member participants.