Saturday, March 16, the Idyllwild Middle School Mountain Bike Team raced at the Vail Lake Challenge. Coach Josh White (rear with arms raised) said the team has made great improvement since last year and in the past several weeks. Photo courtesy Josh White

Editor’s note: Coach Josh White talks about the Idyllwild School Mountain Bike team:
We kicked off the 2019 Mountain Bike season back in October with a meeting to recruit new students to the team. This year our team grew from six to eight students: Cameron Gage (6th/new), Kaleb Mann (6th/new), Carter Johnson (7th/new), Isabela Asiedu (7th/new), Jake Fey (7th/returning), Colby Sonnier (7th/returning), Mei Li Stroud (7th/returning) and Seth White (7th/returning).
Official practices began in November with some skill/training days and rides, and then in to our regular practice schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and some Saturdays (with the Hemet squad) running from December through the end of the season in May.
In December and January, we were getting some great practices in and seeing some big improvement, especially with the new riders.
Since February, though, it’s been difficult to be on the bikes outside and we’ve spent many practices in the Fitness Lab at Idyllwild School.
While we are grateful for the space inside to practice, it does make it difficult to have the kids push themselves and increase their on-the-bike skills.
The first race of the season was at Lake Perris Recreation Area the weekend of Feb. 23-24. All told, there were more than 1,000 riders between middle school, which raced Saturday, and high school, which raced Sunday.
Between the road closures and illness, only four of the team were able to compete at the first race; Isabela, Cameron, Kaleb and Seth.
The first race of the season always brings lots of nerves and is a big learning experience for the kids. The kids raced the weekend of March 16-17 at Vail Lake Resort. This is one of the kids’ favorite races from last year.
I couldn’t do all of this without a fantastic group of volunteer coaches: Diana Kirkham, Misty Hitchcock, Dawne Harris, Tanya Pino, Nikki Peterson, Kevin Holldber and Tim Westcott.

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