RHS Mountain Biking starts new program


Photo courtesy of Mr. Crites

Collin Kilpatrick , Sports Editor

The Rochester High School Mountain Biking club will be entering its third year as a club sport this coming spring; however this year, athletes who meet varsity requirements will be able to receive a varsity letter. The varsity program will officially begin on Monday, May 3, at the beginning of the new season. 

The addition of a varsity program not only allows athletes the opportunity to possibly be given a varsity letter, but also the ability to compete at a higher level.

“Our vision for the varsity program is simply to offer students the opportunity to take their mountain biking to the next level,” Assistant Mountain Biking coach Mr. Crites said. “We have riders who are passionate about the sport and want to compete with other youth cyclists across the state. This varsity program allows them to do just that.”

The club has seen two seasons at Rochester High School, and has now officially gained lettering status after receiving approval from many Rochester administrators.

“We are a club sport and as such, we first got permission from Ms. Harris, the club

coordinator at RHS,” Coach Crites said. “Then we received permission from Mr. DeLuca and Mr. Allen to allow our students to letter in Mountain Biking if they meet our team’s varsity requirements.”

The addition of a varsity program will entail greater commitment to the team, for those athletes who are competing at the higher level.

“Our varsity athletes will certainly have a greater commitment to the club,” Coach Crites said. “Our varsity program requires that students attend additional race training practices, accumulate weekly mile quotas, participate in trail maintenance days, and compete in at least four of the six MiSCA (Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association) races in the fall.”

The new varsity program hopes to attract new riders to the club with the added incentive of a possible varsity letter.

“The bottom line is that we want to grow the team as much as we can,” Coach Crites said. “So if the new varsity program succeeds in attracting more students to join our team, then that’s great!”

Despite not having a varsity program, the club saw a great increase in participants from year one to year too.

“We saw tremendous growth in our first two years,” Coach Crites said. “We grew from a small team of just a handful of students to over 30 riders by the end of our 2020 season.”

 While many athletes will be competing at a higher level, the club still offers opportunities for new riders, or those who are not trying to ride competitively.

“Our club’s primary goal is to get kids on the bike and to have a good time,” Coach Crites said. “For example, our Monday night rides are designated ‘chill’ rides with a focus on building skills, learning the trails, and just having fun with the team.”

For students who are hesitant to join the club due to the cost of a bike, a Bike library will be added, giving athletes the ability to have a bike for the season.

“We have an exciting new Bike Library program coming this spring, coach Crites said “The program will allow students to loan a bike for the entire season free of cost.”

The season begins Monday, May 3, with the first race being held Aug 29. Students who are interested in joining can Visit rhsbiketeam.com or email [email protected] Students can also stop by room, B122 to ask Coach Crites any questions they might have