Ann Miers here from the beautiful state of Nevada (North) where we are still restricted in what we can do, no more than 50 people gathering and 25 people per day in a park, but you can go to a casino (makes zero sense)… It’s been a super big challenge for our league this season and sadly Nevada remains one of five states where youth have not gone “back to play.”
So what kind of fun things can you do with a team of 86 registered riders and no race season in the near future outside of practicing three days a week? Well, you take them to the Black Rock Desert, home of Burning Man!! More than 200 miles of social distancing space there! We had a total of 45 ish for the event, it was short notice so we were thrilled with what we had. 🙂 And honestly, it was super manageable.
Paul, our Head Coach, came up with the idea to take the kids out there, plenty of room for social distancing, actually it was more of a family event as almost everyone brought a trailer, sprinter van, and even one Uhaul to stay the night. We had 24 hours of fun, fun, fun! Athletes were broken up into teams along with coaches and set out to do a day of surprises, none of the kids knew what was in store. It started out with a Strava art contest (no coach help on this one), followed up by an eight-station challenge (bike hockey, washers, golf ball pick up, frisbee toss, track stand contest, sled pulling, spoon/dried fruit carry, and golf chipping). Kids came back from that, regrouped, rested, and ate dinner. Afterwards, they took off for a 20-mile night ride across parts of the playa complete with colorful lights, kind of a mini burning man bike party. 🙂 The next morning consisted of team relay races including the trusting game (blindfolded as we have a legally blind child that races in the league, important for kids to understand the challenges of others and they had a blast with it). Lastly, we followed up with a tether challenge, where they had to work as a team attached together for a timed lap.
Paul and I created this team along with helping getting the Nevada League up and rolling about five years ago and I could not be more proud of the program we have developed here at Galena. In my wildest dreams, I didn’t think I would ever have to think “oh my gosh can I add one more kid?”, but that is how the season has been for us. I have been stressed, worried, thrilled, happy and honestly loved every minute of it. Parents are so very grateful for us continuing on with this season knowing full well we could have been shut down in a heart beat, but so thankful their kids have this in their life at this time. I know Covid gave us a handful of kids that we may not have otherwise had but it has also given us those kids that have now decided MTB is their sport!! So there is that little piece of sunshine in this otherwise exhausting world of ours.
Here are some photo’s from the weekend. I grew up here and had never been to the Black Rock and I’m not a Burning Man kind of gal, so this weekend was just as fun for all of us as it was for the kids! It’s a really cool place. I think we may try and make it an annual trip. 🙂