This week during Summer at GSB, our campers had the opportunity to participate in a week-long intensive mountain biking enrichment program led by Gill St. Bernard’s School photography instructor, Bob Ort. “Mountain Biking – Mind, Body, Spirit” offers a comprehensive introduction to the sport for those at the beginner to intermediate level. Campers learn the fundamentals of bicycle maintenance and repair, as well as the techniques needed to operate their bicycles safely and efficiently on a variety of different trail types. When he isn’t guiding campers through the physical challenges of mountain biking, Bob teaches healthy lifestyle skills using the Mind-Body-Spirit philosophy of the sport.
Bob has been involved in cycling sports for fifteen years. He began cycling while competing in triathlons, but eventually segued into mountain biking and competitive road biking. He still regularly competes in cycling events several times annually, while also running a mountain biking club at GSB during the school year. Bob incorporates his photography background into the program by documenting the campers in action. According to Bob, these photographs are important not only because they preserve an exciting memory of the experience, but because they allow campers to share the moment and encourage others to get involved with the sport.
On Monday, after getting a quick orientation to the program, campers stopped by Marty’s Reliable Cycle in Hackettstown, New Jersey to pick up some necessary safety equipment for the week. Fully equipped, the group headed over to nearby Stephens State Park to get their first taste of real life mountain biking. The park offers 6 miles of marked trails, including a 2 mile section of the Highlands Trail which runs the length of the park. Campers enjoyed a fast and exciting run down “The Maze!”
On Tuesday, the group took a trip over to the Deer Park trails at Allamuchy Mountain State Park. Wednesday, they headed south to Monmouth County to test their skills on the sandy trails at Allaire State Park. Experiencing nature firsthand is an important goal of the program, and each day campers travel to new parks and trails across the state.
A typical day on the trails involves an hour and a half of biking in the morning, followed by a break for lunch and then another hour or two of trail work before packing up and heading home to campus. During lunch breaks, Bob steers his campers away from greasy fast foods and encourages them to fuel their bodies with nutrient rich food that will allow them to perform at their highest level, physically and mentally.
Mountain biking is more than just a fun and exciting experience. The sport encourages an appreciation for the outdoors beyond what you can see through the window of a car. It fosters an all-around healthy lifestyle by combining physical exertion, good food, and a positive mindset. Throw in some experiential education out in the elements, and you have the Mind-Body-Spirit philosophy that is so integral to the mountain biking experience.
Summer at GSB offers “Mountain Biking – Mind, Body, Spirit” again later in the summer from 7/08 to 7/12. We are also proud to offer Bob Ort’s digital photography classes (available for grades 6-8 and grades 9-12) from 6/24 to 6/28 and from 7/01 to 7/05. Take advantage of our flexible scheduling and unique enrichment programs and sign up today!