OUR STORY

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Alan and I moved to Cowichan Bay in 2015, with our then 5 year old grandson, Raymond, whom we are raising. Raymond has always shown an interest in mountain biking and was riding on trails on his little "run" bike at two years old. When he was 7, we realized that none of his friends knew much about mountain biking, and there was no one teaching it for young kids. 

 

I remembered when our sons were growing up, that it was hard to find friends that rode and we really wanted Raymond to have that, as well as the skills required to safely ride. Mountain biking is a lifetime sport for us, and it seemed that Raymond was going in that direction.

 

Although I was a strong rider, I wasn't qualified to teach so I found the instructor course through PMBIA (Professional Mountain Bike Instructor Association) and they had a Level 1 course on while we were holidaying in Whistler. I signed up, took the course, and passed. When we came home, I emailed some of Raymond's friends from school, offered a series of lessons, and that kickstarted "Dirt Groms".  

Pretty quickly, people started contacting me, asking for instruction for their child and we ended up hiring 3 more instructors, all PMBIA certified, including my husband Alan. We have kids as young as 5 years old, and have expanded our teaching to adults, as once the kids started learning to mountain bike, the parents wanted to learn too! We now have various programs running and participants coming from as far as Nanaimo and Victoria. 

 

New for this Spring, we are starting a Dirt Groms Race Team, which we are very excited about! Dirt Groms has been the most rewarding thing I have ever done, watching the improvement in the kids, not only on the bike, but in their overall confidence as people. I love it when I see a family riding together and realize that they all participate in the Dirt Groms programs!

 

So here we are, grandparents raising our grandson, running this super fun mountain bike program, and getting so many families involved in a sport that we love. We never imagined this is what we would be doing in our retirement!  

MEET OUR TEAM

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MICHELE CARR

OWNER/INSTRUCTOR

I’ve always been involved in sports, (volleyball, basketball, swimming, triathlons) but running was my passion and competed from the age of 12 until my mid 40’s. I started mountain biking in my early 40’s after watching my younger brother compete in the Test of Metal, a 50 km mountain bike race. I bought a mountain bike shortly thereafter and loved it right from the start.  I competed in many mountain bike races, including the Test of Metal.  Our two children also got interested in mountain biking and growing up, we had many family holidays with our bikes.  I have a background in coaching children in various sports, including soccer, cross country running and other team sports.  I took my Level 1 mountain bike instructor training with PMBIA in Whistler in June 2017 and have been coaching since then.  I still enjoy competitions and have participated in the Island Cup Enduro races and the Cross on the Rock Cyclocross races series each Fall.  Every August, we take a break from coaching and travel to mountain bike destinations with Raymond, with an extended stop at Whistler.

Training:

PMBIA Level 1 Instructor - June 2017

PMBIA Level 2 Air Module - July 2021

 

Bikes:         

Mountain Bike: Trek Fuel EX 9.8

Cyclocross:  Cannondale Super X

Downhill:  Norco Aurum 

 

Other Sports & Hobbies:

Hiking

Pickleball

Snowboarding

Crocheting (you might see kids out riding with some “gold” stars, tiny monsters, pumpkins, and hearts hanging from their packs.  These are my crocheted “prizes” for the kids.)

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ALAN CARR

INSTRUCTOR

I started mountain biking in my 40’s, following my kids into the sport.  I also came from a competitive running background, and played practically every sport growing up, so I thought “What could be so hard about learning to mountain bike?”  I soon found out…

 

Living in North Vancouver, our home trails were on the famous (or infamous) “North Shore”.   Trying to learn on a selection of black, double black, and beyond terrifying trails with no instruction was a big mistake and something I would not recommend for anyone.  Finding a good instructor made a world of difference.  I went on to do everything from marathon cross country races to Whistler Bike Park laps before moving to road riding with a crazy group of masters athletes, Team VO2Min (Very Old 2Kids Minimum).

 

I really got back into mountain biking with Raymond and Michele when we moved to the Cowichan Valley, and now lead multiple groups every week.  So proud of these kids who are progressing so fast, and motivate us to stay fit ourselves.

 

Training:

PMBIA Level 1 Instructor - March 2019

PMBIA Level 2 Air Module - July 2021

BSc Kinesiology

Retired CPA (in case the kids need help with their investment portfolios)

 

Bikes:

Trail: Trek Fuel EX 9.8

Cyclocross: Trek Boone

Park, Enduro: Trek Slash

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AMY MEERDINK

INSTRUCTOR

I am an enthusiastic mother to four, partner, social worker and mental health advocate. When I was introduced to mountain biking in 2015, I knew I loved it immediately. It was not solely just for the escape from the trials and tribulations of raising young children, but for the aspects of riding that create broader physical and mental health- the discipline that it takes to get good at a sport, the dopamines and endorphins that come from exercise, the comradery and acceptance of the biking community, and the thrill of the trail.
The joy in providing access to mountain biking to others creates meaningful work for me. However, the biggest impact of riding has been on my own family life where I have the opportunity to ride with my children regularly finding connection and fun. I have enjoyed many family vacations and camping trips that center around riding and I have loved how exploring different mountains has brought me to places I may never have gone.
I believe that one must always ride for joy and to this end, my teaching philosophy focuses on showing up as you are with full acceptance and looking to grow from there.

 

Training: PMBIA Level 1 Instructor

 

Bikes:

Mountain: Trek Slash

Gravel: Trek Boon 5

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I have been riding and racing mountain, gravel, and road bikes for over thirty years
(and still have much to learn!). I have coaching certifications for mountain and road
from PMBIA Level 1 and PMBIA Level 2 - Trail, and Cycling Canada.

 

When you get tired of technique talk, I can also bore you chatting about the local flora and fauna.

PETER STEVENSON

INSTRUCTOR

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ANGELA RICHARDS

INSTRUCTOR

I have always been passionate about the outdoors and sport. I grew up playing high level
volleyball and played at university. After finishing school with my BEd, I was in the market for a
new sport…. and that’s when I found mountain biking. The reason I love biking is I get to be
outdoors, exploring, and challenging myself with a group of awesome humans. Every time I
ride, I learn something new and leave wanting more and feeling challenged. I love the sport and
am excited to be sharing my passion with all of you. 

Training: PMBIA Level 1 Instructor
 
Bikes: Mountain Bike - Trek Fuel EX 8
 
Other Sports & Hobbies: Snowboarding/skiing, hiking, swimming

 

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LEIGH BELTON

INSTRUCTOR

I have been mountain biking from the time I could ride on two wheels. I have both a love and
respect for the sport and anything cycling. When not out guiding our youth on the trails, I love
to ride with my family (my wife and 3 kids), locally and exploring trails elsewhere. Never having
found a bike I can’t wheelie, you may also find me getting silly bouncing around on whatever I
can get my tires on (and some things I can’t). I love getting the rubber off the ground and while
there’s no greater feeling than sailing through the air on my bike, I also love a hard, technical
climb and a blast downhill. I enjoy everything about mountain biking, from the connections I
get to make in the cycling community and helping youth out on the trails, to the feeling I get
when I’m out riding a pristine piece of singletrack.

 

Training: PMBIA Level 1 Instructor
 
Bikes: Enduro - 2020 Norco Shore A2
Hardtail: 2020 Norco Torrent A1
 
Other Sports & Hobbies: Skiing, hockey, camping, fishing, boating, hiking

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COLIN STEVENSON

INSTRUCTOR

I am a dad to four amazing kids that always keep me going at full speed. I have always been
involved in sports for as long as I can remember. Two wheels have always been a passion of
mine. I have been riding dirt bikes from a young age and continue to as an adult. My kids and I
got into BMX racing when they were little, which eventually crossed us over into the mountain
bike world. This quickly became our family's passion. Riding several days a week for years now,
it was time for me to transition into some coaching. Taking my PMBIA level 1 was the right
choice. This has allowed me to share my passion and help others get involved in this amazing
sport. My hope is to continue with more training and knowledge that I can apply to my
coaching. Mountain biking has given our family so much fun and great relationships in the
community. I look forward to where mountain biking continues to take our family and
community.


Training: PMBIA Level 1 instructor


Bikes: Enduro: Rocky Mountain Altitude
Downhill: Santa Cruz V10
Gravel: Trek Checkpoint

Other Sports and Hobbies: Snowboarding, dirt biking, anything outdoors, spending time with
my family, going out for nice meals.

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GRAEME LAWRENCE

INSTRUCTOR

I’m a father, husband, life coach and local mountain bike enthusiast.
Here are a few things I love about mountain biking:
The flow of the trials 
The wind in my face
The peace of being in nature 
The thrill and adventure 
My goal is to help you have fun and stay safe on the trails. I want to help sharpen your
skills so that you can create a connection with your bike and the trail.
I love that we can get out in nature and bike throughout the entire year here on
Vancouver Island. I believe it’s important for our mental health and overall wellness to
spend time connecting with our environment. 

Training: PMBIA Level 1 Instructor
 
Bikes: Mountain Bike – 2018 Norco Sight A7.1
 
Other Sports & Hobbies: Yoga, skiing, hiking, kayaking, paddle boarding, woodwork, camping, gardening/landscaping.

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MEGAN WALTER

INSTRUCTOR

I have been mountain biking since 2017, after a 10+ year break. As a kid, my parents took my brother and I biking regularly -  XC trails in nearby Snowden to summer trips all over BC to ride the ski hills. I am so thankful that I learned many of the skills when I was younger as it made jumping back into the sport as an adult less intimidating and incredibly fun! I am often heard on the trails saying “I just LOVE bikes!!”

I am also a Mother to two kids who love playing outside.  

My winters are spent Ski Patrolling and Grooming (driving Snow Cat) at Mount Cain. Summers include hiking, camping, coastal exploring and, of course, biking!!

 

Training:

PMBIA Level 1 Instructor – March 2022

OFA Level 3 First Aid – March 2021

 

Bikes:

Mountain Bike: Trek Fuel EX 9.7

Gravel : Norco Search XR

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Our Grandson Raymond

Raymond, 11 years old, is our grandson and the reason we started Dirt Groms. His first bike
was a run bike at 17 months old and he has loved all things “bikes” since. He learned to mountain bike at 7 in our first Dirt Groms “Newbies” program and quickly progressed in all skills. His dedication to the sport clearly shows when you see him ride - practicing whenever he can, never saying “No” to a ride, and working hard whether we are going up or down a trail. He loves participating in Enduro races and the Cross on the Rock cyclocross series.


Fun Facts:
Favourite Trails in the Cowichan Valley: DD, Resurrection and Phloem
Favourite Place to Ride: Whistler
Favourite Food: Pizzeria Prima Strada
Current Bikes: Pivot Switchblade, Liv Giant Brava SL (cyclocross), Norco Aurum A1 (downhill)

Other things he loves:

Snowboarding, Rock Climbing, Basketball, Drawing, Skating, Street Hockey

THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS!

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