A large group of young mountain bikers descended on Bradbury State Park June 8 for the first event of the Bradbury Mountain Bike Series. When the dust settled, the riders from Team SHOCK came away with a number of individual victories and a ton of smiles, said Chris Christie, owner of Bikesenjava and founder of the SHOCK Mountain Bike Series.

“I was so impressed with the way the kids raced,” he said. “This was the first event of the season, and many of the kids took off right from where they ended last year.”

The Bradbury Series is similar to the local SHOCK Mountain Bike Series, which is held at the Snow Bowl during the summer. Both series are aimed at getting children on bikes and teaching them the skills to become better mountain bikers, athletes, and trail stewards, Christie said.

“The goal of both series is to instill in kids the love of mountain biking, a sport you can do you entire life,” said Christie. “Andrew Freye does such an amazing job with the series at Bradbury.”

At the first race, Connor Lane and Owen Hilt led the way for Team SHOCK by capturing first place in their respective classes. In the Junior A Class, Robin Crandall took a podium spot by finishing third.

“Robin actually led for most of the race but took a wrong turn and then battled his way back to third,” Christie said. “He has had a great spring of racing as he is participating in the New England Championship Series events, which are conducted by [Eastern Fat Tire Association].”

Close behind Crandall was Cole Ellison, Alex Mansius and Alec Raso finishing in fourth through sixth. Cade Patten finished eighth overall after dealing with bike problems during the race. Patten was the Maine high school overall champion in 2010. Rounding out the Midcoast riders in Junior A was Ben Smith, who finished 13th overall.

The success in the Junior A class was duplicated in the Mini A class which features children under age 12. Hilt captured the overall victory by finishing in a time of 21:38. Tucker Patten was not far behind and also finished on the podium by taking third. The brother duo of Desmond and Ethan Cayouette, in their first mountain bike races, finished in fourth and fifth respectively. Rounding out the group was Hayden Christie, who rode to a top-10 finish by capturing ninth.

The SHOCK Mountain Bike Series gets underway on Monday, June 20 at 5:30 p.m. with the first event. Each night includes instruction, a prerace ride on the trail and a race with different age and skill divisions.

For more information, call Christie at 596-1004.

Youth mountain biking rolls in

This summer, Midcoast youngsters will have another activity and way to go as fast as they want, on a mountain bike that is. Sponsored by Bikesenjava in Rockland, the 2011 SHOCK Mountain Bike Series is accepting registrations for the season.

The SHOCK, which stands for Supporting Healthy Opportunities for Community Kids, Mountain Bike Series is a six-week series that is focused on providing young riders an opportunity to improve their mountain biking skills, learn how to take care of the environment, be part of a team and compete in a weekly race series, Christie said.

The level of competition is up to each individual as the goal of the program is to have fun and ride bikes. Families are encouraged to participate by watching, cheering and, for the younger riders, riding along with them.

“Every year I am amazed at the friendships that are made and the level of improvement of every rider.” said Christie, founder of the series. “When we started this series over eight years ago, we had nine kids. Now, there are over 50 kids. Mountain biking is a life-long sport and, with the growing number of mountain bike parks around the country, it is becoming a family activity.”

For more information, call Christie at Bikesenjava at 596-1004.

VillageSoup sports staff can be reached by phone at 207-594-4401 or by email at sports@villagesoup.com.