Home Team apparel Interested in mountain bike racing? Youth team reunion set for October 5 – Salisbury Post

Interested in mountain bike racing? Youth team reunion set for October 5 – Salisbury Post

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Interested in mountain bike racing? Youth team meeting set for October 5

Posted at 12:02 a.m. on Saturday, September 24, 2022

SALISBURY — In early 2023, the Rowan Rockhounds will begin a new season of youth mountain bike racing in the North Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League (NCICL).

The Rockhounds will host a meeting for all potential team members on Oct. 5 at 6:15 p.m. at The Pedal Factory, 311 East Council St. The meeting is open to anyone interested in learning more about the team, the NCICL and National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). He will focus on sharing information about the upcoming season and how to sign up for the team. Trials are not necessary; any student in grades 6 through 12 in Rowan County is welcome to join the Rockhounds. Team training will begin in December and registration will begin in mid-October. Ability to ride a bike is required, but trail experience is not a prerequisite. Strengthening individual skills is the main focus of the season, rather than competition.

Launched in 2019 by Skinny Wheels Bike Shop owner Eric Phillips, the Rowan Rockhounds returned to riding and racing in 2022 after two seasons canceled due to COVID. The Rockhounds are part of NICA, a national organization dedicated to providing youth mountain biking opportunities, which has grown to include leagues in nearly every state.

All students in grades 6 through 12 attending Rowan County schools are eligible to join the Rockhounds. Team Rowan is a composite team, which means students attend various schools across the county. Last season, the team had about 10 athletes who trained and raced regularly. Several students were completely new to mountain biking. The league encourages new runners and focuses on building confidence, developing skills, and the values ​​of fairness and inclusion.

Mary Rosser, executive director of The Pedal Factory, will take over Phillips’ role as head coach of the Rockhounds this year. She has worked to fund the team through grants and scholarships to make it accessible to all students who want to join.

“I see tremendous value in getting students to be active and get out into nature,” Rosser said. “We have a tremendous asset here in our hometown with the Salisbury Community Park (SCP) trails, where the Rockhounds train and the NCICL hosts a race weekend.”

In April 2022, hundreds of families came to Salisbury to take advantage of mountain biking opportunities during the NICA race. “It really put our park on people’s radars as a destination to ride,” Rosser said of the race.

The team has a secondary goal of helping to maintain and preserve trails for all and has participated in several trail work days. Salisbury’s mountain bike trails offer tremendous opportunities for our youngsters, Rosser believes. “As a lifelong recreational activity, mountain biking really helps young people grow into healthy, confident adults who care about protecting our natural spaces,” she added. Beyond their time hiking the trails, Rockhounds members helped set up SCP’s newest trail, the Green Briar Beginner’s Loop. Rockhound Josh Douthit also built a bridge connecting two park trails as part of an Eagle Scout project.

Mountain biking is an expensive sport due to the cost of specialized bikes, safety equipment and maintenance. To help cover costs, the Rockhounds received a $5,000 matching grant from the Outride Fund, which enables communities to start youth cycling initiatives. Currently, just over half of the target has been raised. Sponsors in attendance include Skinny Wheels Bike Shop and Consolidated Truck Parts. Major sponsors include AudraMatic Cleaning and Bebe’s Tire Service. When the $5,000 goal has been reached, the Outride Fund will match the goal, providing $10,000 in total funds to the team for the season.

“The funds will cover league fees, team uniforms and equipment,” Rosser said. “As many of the team members need this help to participate, it is crucial that we reach the target this year.” Sponsors will be prominently displayed on team apparel and will receive advertising exposure at events. Donations are tax deductible and go directly to support team needs.

According to Rockhounds team member Sergio Bamaca-Diaz, the benefits are worth the investment.

Bamaca-Diaz joined the Rowan Rockhounds as a rookie in 2021. His experience was limited to basic cycling between school and home every day.

However, as someone who struggled to fit into sports in high school, he was drawn to the team after hearing about it from Aleiah Martin, a former Rockhound.

He saved his money to buy a used GT mountain bike that was more trail-worthy than his commuter. He found that hiking the trails helped him get out of a lingering depression and boosted his self-confidence. Bamaca-Diaz, along with three other riders, is under consideration for a Trek NICA Pathfinders scholarship this season, which would provide him with a new bike, gear and league fees.

The Trek NICA Pathfinders Scholarship brings greater diversity, equity, and inclusion to youth mountain biking by providing people of color with the bikes, gear, and resources they need to overcome historic barriers to the sport.

Since 2021, they have received over 500 individual applications from student athletes representing 97 teams from over 26 states, and after an intense review process, we have awarded 250 of these applicants Pathfinder Scholarships. Athletes of color and Hispanic populations are vastly underrepresented in sports like mountain biking, and the Trek scholarship helps break down barriers to entry.

“We invite anyone interested in mountain biking to meet us at 6:15 p.m. on October 5 at The Pedal Factory,” Rosser noted. “You could open the door to a healthier life with new friends!”

To learn more, contact Mary Rosser by email at [email protected] or by calling 704-870-7145.