Mountain bike team wins back-to-back state tournament

Toby Weiss, Camera Editor

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Photo by Toby Weiss
The mountain bike team celebrates after winning the biking tournament. This is the second year in a row the team has won. Another trophy will be added to the school’s collection.

The mountain biking team is settling down after their two year back-to-back victory at the Minnesota State Mountain Bike Tournament in Mankato.

The Minnesota High School Cycling League was founded in 2012 to help high schoolers be inclusive and equal while building strong character, bodies and minds. On the last few days of Oct. at the Minnesota State Mountain Bike Tournament, up to 1,500 racers from all around Minnesota competed, which could be the largest race to date. The course is the hardest of the season totaling four miles in length, and an elevation gain of 400 feet per lap. The last two years for the Ponies have not only been about winning, but about building stronger real-life skills and relationships.

Each member contributes to the success of the whole team. Whether it be racing or being a mechanic, the team is dependent on each contribution made by individual people.

“I scored for the team a few times this year, and even though it wasn’t very much, they all ad up in the end. We all did our part,” junior Patrick Roisum said about his contributions to the team.

For any team to win, they first need to be good. And for a team to be good, they have to train. Training is just as important as the racing aspect of this sport. Without training, someone can be unprepared and unfit to bike a winning race. Without preparation, the race might not be won, leading to another team winning it all.

“We officially start training as a team in July followed by a four day training camp up in Cable Wisc. These early season rides really are just for building a foundation for the really hard riding and racing we do during the season,” co-head coach Joel Nichols said, about what training looks like for the team.

We officially start training as a team in July followed by a four day training camp up in Cable Wisc. These early season rides really are just for building a foundation for the really hard riding and racing we do during the season.”

— Joel Nichols

The concept of a team sport is that obviously everybody works together, and Stillwater MTB is the largest program in the state. With more teammates comes more knowledge of who can do what, and more need to know people who you can work with. Since the program pushes the students to work with each other, friendships are formed.

Sophomore Evan Roddy said, “I’ve gotten a lot more friends. At the start of the year I didn’t really have many friends because I didn’t know a lot of people, cause I went to Marine and that’s a small school so, I got a lot of friends from knowing all the kids and just bonding with all the other people in my grade.”

This sport helps students become more healthy and teaches them life-lessons, it is giving them a unique opportunity on how to make important decisions on their own.

“The mountain bike team is unique in that the majority of the time, when kids compete in a race, it’s the one event they partake in where all the decisions are up to them. For the most part there are no coaches, parents or referees barking orders at them. They’re out in the middle of the woods, tackling the elements of nature, weather and competitors, and even mechanical issues, all on their own,” co head coach Annie Perkins said about why the team is beneficial for the students who join.

This is more than just a sport, it is a community. Almost all the teammates know one another, and they all cheer each other on. The team has won the Minnesota State Mountain Bike Tournament for the last two years in a row. The team is obviously good, but not all their success is due to their skill, but their friendships, and their love for the sport. Both Roisum and Roddy suggested joining the team to anyone who is considering.

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