Why we started a team.

 Courtney & Corey Dickman started the Bellefonte Bloodhounds team last year. They tell us why below.

unnamed-4Corey: “I started riding my bike in the woods way back in ’92…in un-developed city lots, down power-lines or at ski resorts in the summer-time until I discovered a book written by Scott Adams called “Mountain Biking Madness in Central PA”.  This led me on my first adventure in Rothrock State Forest!  After traveling, school and a long break from riding, I returned to the area with my wife and two daughters in 2012.  Thanks to the abundant natural resources in the Centre region, I quickly re-discovered my passion for mountain biking.  I joined NMBA to help with trail work and to learn the local trails.  Later, this developed into advocacy for cycling and trail access in our region.  My wife Courtney and I are coaches for the Bellefonte MTB Club which is dedicated to teaching fundamental bike handling skills and providing support for kids in grades 6-12 who are interested in participating in NICA sanctioned races.  Riding in the woods re-charges my soul…so I want to help bring that same experience to others.”

Courtney: “I grew up riding my bike along the cracked sidewalks and abandoned parking lots in my hometown. My first bike was a hand me down, Columbia Blue Angel with a banana seat. That bike represented freedom to my friends and I. We would ride all over town, go far beyond our 4 block boundaries and practice tricks in alleys or along quiet railways. At some point bikes weren’t cool anymore and although I loved mine, I never asked for a new one and it became just a memory, until recently. My husband has always enjoyed extreme sports; snowboarding, skateboarding, dirt-biking and mountain biking. I enjoyed watching mostly; I had no interest in the other activities but the bike reminded me of my childhood and was something I wanted to share with our children. After returning to Central PA with our family, I bought a bike and began riding rails to trails regularly through the summer. In 2014 Corey and I attended DirtFest at Raystown and I fell in love with the bike again and the unnamed-10sense of freedom it gave me while exploring the woods. We watched Single Track High that year and thought that it would be amazing if something like that existed here for our kids. Then in 2016 we went to DirtFest again and spoke with Harlan Price of Take Aim Cycling, he told us about the PA League and gave us contact information for Mike Kuhn. Corey and I decided on the drive home from DirtFest that we were going to contact Mike and jump with both feet into whatever this thing was and we were going to make sure it was an opportunity that both our kids and the kids of our community would have. We decided that it was something our area/town needed and was something that hopefully our girls would want to do in a few years (our oldest is 2 years away from the eligible age). We also figured it was something that our family could do together and bond around. It has not been the easiest thing to get started or continue to run but its worth it when I see others so excited and eager to participate!”

unnamed-3Our team was very small for the first season, which we as new coaches of the sport were very happy with. The kids on our team were all true beginners or as we like to call them “cul de sac kids”; they had all ridden bikes around the neighborhood and some rails to trails but nothing more. Seeing the development from the first practice to the end of the season was an amazing thing to witness. Witnessing the first log jump from a rider that was terrified at the idea in the beginning or seeing a rider successfully cruise downhill without too much braking…those are the moments we will keep for seasons to come.

As first year Coaches, having a small manageable team was good, but for our rider’s it was challenging. Our riders were all at very different levels and capabilities so there was a lot of one on one coaching and not as much healthy competition during practices, which we think would have benefited them in preparing for races. We also had a learning curve when it came to fundraising and asking for local support to help financially with the team. I think all of our riders had some personal growth during the season, whether it was overcoming a fear, learning better self-control, recognizing strengths and weaknesses and how to use that to their benefit and just socializing with people that they might not otherwise talk to.

As Coaches, we are very proud that the skills that were improved during the mountain bike season are really lessons that can be applied throughout life. We think our riders were blown away at races too; to see soo many kids their age from around the state participating in this new sport, especially our female riders. It was definitely exciting! For next season we hope to grow the team, our resources and start to hone in on our practice plans and structure. Most importantly, we hope to introduce the sport to more families in Bellefonte.

Connect with the Bellefonte team and all our teams through our Current Teams page.