A new competitive sport for high school and middle school students is growing quickly across the state of Wisconsin. Last year, Eau Claire started a team and now they are hosting their first race in Eau Claire.
“It’s a lifetime sport; these kids can do it for the rest of their life,” said Kathy Mock, the Co-Director of the Wisconsin High School Cycling League.
It’s a chance for kids to hop on their bikes and just ride. “To see kids get excited about bikes and to ride is the best,” said Coach Supporter, Mike McGarry.
The Wisconsin High School Cycling League is taking off across the state with more and more riders each year.
“We joined them five years ago, we had 150 kids and in 5 short seasons we’re up to 950,” Mock said.For the first time, hundreds of riders came to Eau Claire to hit the trails at Lowe’s Creek Park.
“There is some technical parts, some pretty easy parts but everything was pretty fun,” said 7th grade rider from Eau Claire, Kristian Hudacek.
Students in grades 6-12 are able to compete against students from other public schools, private schools and home-schooled students.
“I like getting to know the other people you are racing against and making new friends,” said 7th grade rider from Eau Claire, Alice Tibbitts.
There were about 600 racers from more than 50 teams across the state all pedaling towards the same goal.
“We do something different every time so there is a lot of variety and we are constantly challenging ourselves,” said Esme Olstadt, a 7th grade rider from Eau Claire.
For a sport focused on learning and having some fun outdoors.
“My heart is so happy, it’s just so great to see these kids and to see their growth from the beginning of the season to this point in the confidence, skills and friendships so it’s about so much more than just races for us,” said Eau Claire coach, Tiffany Tibbitts.
The sport continues to grow in Eau Claire with the team doubling in size over the last year.
“Everyone else goes to soccer practice and I’m like oh, I’m off to bike practice, wish me luck,” Olstadt said.