Let’s Ride: Mountain Biking at New Hampton School

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This article by Nate Saler originally appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Hamptonia.

During the fall season, the New Hampton School mountain biking team heads out to explore the beautiful woods of New Hampshire each afternoon. From Green Woodlands, Paige Hill, and Franklin Falls to our epic home trails at the Blood Property, each day is an
adventure with our team. Our riders come from Beijing, Boston, San Francisco, and everywhere in between. Some arrive as seasoned riders, while others are green to the sport. All are welcome; the only prerequisite is a positive attitude and willingness to ride.

At the start of each season, the team gathers around our green and white bike trailer to discuss the inevitable nature
of falling. Nobody likes to hit the dirt, but it comes with the territory. Crashing on a mountain bike is expected, and we set clear expectations of checking to ensure the rider is safe and give them a helping hand to jump back on their ride. We remind our riders that everyone falls—even coaches. With expectations of safety and community, our season gets off to a strong start. We build endurance and refine skills in preparation for our weekly Wednesday races that can have as many as 400 riders from across New England. Nerves inevitably seep in on race days as mountain biking is unique in being both a team and individual sport. This duality can cause some riders to feel even more pressure. Once we make it through the first race, nerves often calm, and confidence builds.

Mountain biking provides opportunities for personal growth and development as it requires physical strength, endurance, and mental focus, which can help students develop discipline, perseverance, and resilience. It’s not just about conquering trails but also overcoming fears, pushing personal limits, and building self-confidence. As a coach, I have seen students gain a sense of accomplishment and pride as they tackle challenging trails. These victories on the trails translate into increased self-esteem and self-belief that can positively impact other areas of their lives. We are teaching more than a required sport at New Hampton School; mountain biking is a challenging, confidence-building activity that often becomes a lifelong passion.

Husky Parent Profile: Mark Invernizzi ’23

Part of mountain biking at New Hampton School comes with the responsibility of trail building and maintenance. Once a week, the team clears, cuts, rakes, trims, and builds trails. Over the past year, we have been fortunate to have Mark Invernizzi P’23 lend his landscape expertise, volunteer time, and heavy equipment to work alongside the team to improve our trail system. Mark’s enthusiasm, positivity, and support allowed us to enhance our trails greatly. With Mark’s help during the summer of 2022, a “flow” section that includes new berms and turns was added to our trails. We are beyond grateful for Mark’s generosity and look forward to continuing
to work with him in the coming years.

This customized rock, created and donated by Mark Invernizzi P’23, provides a gateway to the Blood Property and the trail system beyond.

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