Bearden senior Dean hitting new heights in her mountain biking career


Photo courtesy of Gracie Dean

Bearden senior Gracie Dean will head to Milligan on scholarship next year to continue her mountain biking career.

Most kids learn how to ride a bike at an early age, but that process doesn’t usually lead to a college scholarship. 

Bearden senior Gracie Dean took a hobby that many have and turned it into a sport where she could showcase just how talented she is. Dean will attend Milligan College in Johnson City on a scholarship for mountain biking next year. 

“What got me into bikes was my dad’s friend took me out and rode with me and I loved it,” Dean said. 

Dean competes in cross-country mountain biking races and has competed in a range of locations, one of the most notable performances taking place at Windrock Park in Oliver Springs.

Training is important for all sports, whether it’s the repetition to master a certain skill set for a game or competition or if it’s just to keep working out to stay in shape. Training is crucial to elevating athletes to be prepared for the next level, regardless of the sport.

“My training is about two to three hours a day on a bike, and I lift weights about four times a week,” Dean said. “I think I can improve for college by just riding more and more.”

One of Dean’s favorite memories in her time competing was when she was able to compete against one of the world’s best.

“My best race was probably a race I did a couple of months ago at Windrock,” Dean said. “I got 2nd out of like 25ish, but I got beat by an Olympic gold medalist.”

As with many sports, it is not always the game or event that means the most to the athlete but the memories made with people along the way.

“My favorite memory of Gracie riding is when we go to Baker Creek Preserve,” said another one of Bearden’s mountain bikers, freshman Rease Sullivan. “I enjoy how fast we’re able to go down the trails, and it’s pretty awesome to see her clear such big jumps.”

Mountain biking is not affiliated with the school and is done individually, but that opens doors to new and exciting opportunities to meet all kinds of new and interesting people.

Dean’s continued hard work and dedication paid off as she is looking forward to competing at the next level with the Milligan Buffaloes.