Team riders from the Cache Valley High School Mountain Bike Team mustered at first dam yesterday for an all-girls ride.

The team has GRiT, or Girls Riding Together, activities about once per month from May through October as a way to stimulate camaraderie and bolster the confidence of young women riders.

“It definitely can feel intimidating when the boys just seem faster and there seems like so many more of them,” said GRiT coach Shannon Gooch, explaining though girls and boys don’t compete against each other, they do practice together — sometimes at a 1 to 10 ratio respectively.

Since MTB team riders span several high schools in Cache Valley, Gooch said team practices are often broken up into groups — which further isolates young women riders.

“It splits the girls up even more, so they're seeing the other girls even less,” Gooch said. “This just gives them a chance to get together.”

GRiT was launched in 2018 by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association as a way to help boost female student-athlete participation. NICA states 20 percent of student-athlete riders are young women, and the GRiT initiative aspires to increase that percentage to 33 percent by 2023.

“We’d like to invite more girls to join the team,” head coach Jackie Peterson said.  

The team’s next race is scheduled for Sept. 14 in Vernal, Utah.

For more information, visit Utahmtb.org.