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Race Series Brings Mountain Biking into Spotlight - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Race Series Brings Mountain Biking into Spotlight

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -

Dozens of young bicyclists went head-to-head Tuesday night in Albemarle County as the Virginia High School Mountain Bike Race Series hosted an event for some of the top junior riders.

The race, held at the Miller School, attracted a lot of young, experienced and new riders to the 10-mile, student-built course. The group's goal is to help bring mountain biking into the high school spotlight.

More than 130 riders battled it out on the trails, competing in a sport that is slowly growing in popularity.

"Our goal is to make mountain biking a traditional high school sport and we're doing pretty well at it,” said event organizer Peter Hufnagel.

The Virginia High School Mountain Bike Race Series is working to make the sport more traditional and provide an arena for young riders.

"We're trying to make the most professional environment possible so we're making these events look like a World Cup event with the big finish line structure, finish line shoot, music,” Hufnagel said. “We want the mountain bikers to feel the same way a high school football player feels Friday night when he runs out on the field."

For some of those top riders like Elizabeth Shaw, it's just that: an environment to shine.

"The courses are great and it's a fun experience and it's fun to go your hardest,” Shaw said.

Organizers say they will continue to push the sport.

"Cycling is a popular sport in Virginia and we're riding that momentum and there's lots of young athletes on the up,” Hufnagel said.

The next race will be Saturday, May 10 in Harrisonburg.

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