Corey Roberts trains for 10 to 15 hours each week. Half of that time is spent in weight rooms, on running trails or cutting laps around a swimming pool, but the rest is spent entirely on two wheels.
Roberts’ off-road mountain bike rides take him over hills, peaks and through rough terrain. While his workload rivals that of some professional athletes, Roberts does not consider himself an “avid” mountain bike rider.
But there is no denying he has been the driving force of a growing cycling scene on Long Island.
On May 14, Roberts is bringing the Bicycle Planet MACHO Mountain Bike Race to Stillwell Woods Preserve in Woodbury, where athletes as young as 10 will compete on 5-, 10- or 15-mile courses. It’s the second consecutive year for the race, which draws riders of all skill levels.
A RARE EVENT
This is Nassau County’s only sanctioned mountain bike race — a reality that Roberts is particularly proud of. He and his wife, Stacy, produce more than 15 races a year including four in Suffolk County through Race Awesome, an athletic event management company. But as a Baldwin resident, Roberts says it has long been a priority to launch a race close to home.
“We are very excited to be able to produce the only mountain bike race in Nassau County with the support of the Nassau County Parks Department and the nonprofit CLIMB,” Roberts, 38, says. CLIMB stands for Concerned Long Island Mountain Bicyclists, a group that, like Roberts, is dedicated to growing the sport on Long Island.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Roberts says he worked with the county’s parks department for 1 ½ years to make the race a reality. The actual course details won’t be revealed until the day before the race, in an effort to protect the space. On Friday, he’ll do a test ride with a team of experts from CLIMB to assess the trails and ensure sections don’t pose a threat to the land or riders. “Trail preservation is extremely important to all of us who ride,” he says.
Christine Gayron, 38, of Farmingdale, has been mountain bike riding for the past three years and does so once every two weeks in Stillwell Preserve. Gayron competed in last year’s race and says she is hoping to improve on her personal time from the inaugural competition.
“It was a great race. Well organized, good crowd of people, lots of fun and it’s nice to be in an off-road setting,” Gayron says. “You don’t have to worry about cars and traffic.”
She looks forward to seeing a bigger turnout this year when she competes in the Category 1 race, she says.
The inaugural race attracted about 110 people. Roberts says he expects that number to double this year. Riders can register up to the day of the event and early registrants receive a discount online.
The eldest participant currently registered for this year’s event is 67 years old, while the youngest is 12. The broad age range of participants speaks to the appeal of mountain bike riding and to its many cardiovascular benefits, Roberts says.