San Luis Valley Rattlers to host Ride with a Rattler Day
MONTE VISTA — The San Luis Valley Rattlers will be hosting Ride with a Rattler Day on Saturday, May 13, beginning at 10 a.m. The event is open to middle school and high school aged youth.
Attendees will meet at 3953 North County Road 5 West in Monte Vista. Riders can bring their own bicycle or borrow one from the Rattlers. Helmets are required to ride — bring one or borrow one. Everyone attending will be biking with coaches and local riders on an easy trail of climbs, single-track rides, and small obstacle courses.
The San Luis Valley Rattlers were founded in 2017. The Rattlers are a competitive team made up of cyclists from different schools in the San Luis Valley. The Rattlers train both middle and high school aged youth. They also compete against mountain bikers from Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming in the Colorado High School Mountain Bike League.
Coach Larry Roberts and Brian Stevenson founded the team. Roberts recalls racing mountain bikes when he was younger and really enjoying it.
“I have always liked to ride bikes, and when the idea for this came up it sounded good,” Roberts said. “I had a son who was entering high school, and he and I started riding bikes together. We had heard about a team like this up in Salida and we decided to start our own. What I like about this sport is kids that participate today can participate at any age, even at my age. This can be a lifelong sport that you can really enjoy.”
SLV Rattlers coach Gregg Goodland also spoke about how the team originated and about being a coach for the team.
“I have been riding bikes for a number of years, but really hadn’t taken it to another level until I joined the team,” he said. “Both of my daughters were interested in joining the team. We didn’t do a whole lot during that COVID period, just a few short races here and there, that was about it. The next year when they had the Ride with the Rattler Day, similar to the upcoming event on May 13, there were so many people that showed up for that event. I looked at Larry and the other coaches and said to them, ‘You guys are going to be riding.’ I decided to join on as a coach right then and there, and I don’t regret it for one second. I find it extremely satisfying. We have about 17 people on the team. It’sa pretty good size for our school, considering that a school like Boulder may have 150 members on their team. We think it’s a good size and we have a great team.”
The SLV Rattlers host many events including the Ride with the Rattler Day, which promotes the Rattlers and allows middle school and high school students to ask about and join the team.
The Rattlers also hold league races that take place in July, and at the end of August the bikers participate in league race events about every two weeks. The bikers also participate in state competitions if they can advance that far.
“We do also have to meet those qualifications for state,” Roberts explained. “You have to participate in at least three of the races. You must also be in the top 50% of your category. The laps for the races are about 6 miles. This isn’toverwhelming, but it’s a very intense workout for a while. It is neat to see the kids that participate really working hard. The growth and the effort that they put into this. We celebrate whether the kids come in first or last, because sometimes this is a personal goal. It really is amazing to see.”
Coach Roberts also spoke of the importance of sponsorship for the kids with the events.
“We aren’t recognized as an official school sport, so these events do cost some money,” Roberts said. “If anyone would like to sponsor and donate to the kids, that would be helpful. We have overnight stays; we also have food. We have a lot of other expenses, so donations and sponsorships for members or the whole team are very much appreciated.”
Roberts and Goodland invited everyone out to the Ride with a Rattler event on May 13. For more information about the event or on the team, visit their website at www.slvrattlers.com.