Mountain biking team encourages families to be involvedNov 22, 2021 02:25PM ● By Greg James
West Granite rider Kason Holt finished his two laps at Eagle Mountain in 52 minutes and 14 seconds for eighth place in his division. (Greg James/City Journals)
By Greg James | [email protected]
Kearns Senior Joseph Davis was introduced to mountain biking two years ago by a friend. Now his younger brother and sister have started competing and it has turned into a full family adventure.
“We were all in to support our kids,” Joseph’s mom, Melissa Davis, said. “With all three of them involved, we have had to find ways to make it work.”
Joseph, Hyrum and Alexia are all competing this season in the Utah High School Cycling League. They each ride in their own age group and ability levels. Their season hinges on them having equipment and the ability to race.
“We needed to find a way to pay for all of the stuff,” Melissa Davis said. “Bake sales and yard care—you name it, we did it. We spent a couple of weekends making dozens of cookies and passing them out to our neighbors, all to keep this season going.”
The team is full of these kinds of stories. Parents cook lunch, fix bikes, transport the equipment to the race site and organize the team’s rest area.
The West Granite Composite Mountain Biking team is composed of kids from Kearns, Hunter, Granger and Cyprus high schools and the junior high teams that feed into those schools.
The team began the season in July. It practiced twice a week at Lodestone park in West Valley. Members even worked with the county to add training trails to the park. They also traveled to available trails to practice skills that would help them on the racecourse.
The racing season began in August at Powder Mountain ski resort. Members also ran in Cedar City, Price and Eagle Mountain.
“We have loved to watch and support the kids,” Melissa Davis said. “Our team cheers loud for everyone, and we like to see them all do better.”
The West Granite Composite team has 30 riders this season. It includes junior high and high school student-athletes. Some are more experienced than others, but each races every week with others of equal ability.
The league had 6,300 participants this season. It has raced in four regions across the state and is scheduled to hold the state finals Oct. 28–29 in St. George (after press deadline).
“Our league grew more than we expected this season,” Atack said. “In some of our race venues, we are bursting at the seams. We also had a tough weather year with several lightning delays and rain. We will be headed to St George for our finals with approximately 2,100 riders who have qualified.”
The league culture is different than most people of experienced.
“Mountain biking culture is different than a lot of the other sporting cultures,” Atack said. “Everyone helps each other. They are racing for a team but also for themselves. The only way to get better is for you to get better. Everyone races, no one rides the bench.”
The top finishers for West Granite Composite in the regional qualifier include an eighth-place finish by Kason Holt. Jack Haymond finished fourth, Eric Bucio 21st, Keira Kemp 28th and Lemont Weaver 30th.
The team competes in division 3 of the central region. It had 24 riders compete at the regional qualifier.