Mountain bike teams coast into practice season
By Taylor J. Hale
STEVENS POINT – Check your chains and pump up your tires, the practice season for the Stevens Point Area Senior High (SPASH) and Central Wisconsin Composite mountain bike teams is kicking off on July 9. The groups switched their practice location to Standing Rocks County Park this year, and young riders are eager to hit the trails.
“The league started six years ago. At that point, they got a handful of kids that were interested in racing and found a coach and made a school team,” said Coach Jeff Dahlseng. “We had a large enough contingent from just SPASH to split off into their own component of the team. So we have SPASH and the Central Wisconsin Composite team. The composite team has students from Wisconsin Rapids, Amherst, and the Pacelli system.”
The composite team was formed roughly two years ago to accommodate the growing number of interested riders in grades 6-12. While the two teams compete as separate entities at racing events, they train together and share gear when needed. Dahlseng noted that the coed teams allow students to find a “home” in a recreational activity that may seem inaccessible to some.
“We want people of all skill levels to know they can come out and ride,” Dahlseng said.
The mountain biking teams are part of the Wisconsin High School Cycling League, which is associated with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. The program was created to give students a chance to grow their trail riding skills and developed a lifelong hobby.
“It’s something that you can do for the rest of your life,” Dahlseng added. “We want people to give it a shot.”
The first race of the year is Sept. 8 at Lowes’s Creek in Eau Claire. Practices will be held at Standing Rocks Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5-6:30 p.m.
To learn more about the co-ed SPASH and Central Wisconsin Composite teams visit: http://www.wisconsinmtb.org.