Cycling enthusiasts launch mountain biking club
By Lisa Liu
At a grand total of four members, the mountain biking club is, by all standards, small. Most of its members haven’t biked competitively before this year. However, the newly-founded club is not letting that deter them.
“I think it’s kind of cool to be the first generation of College Station High School’s mountain bike team,” junior Mason Ouren said. “I like the fact that we, as a team, are getting this started for years [afterward].”
Since the club is just getting started and is mainly comprised of relatively new bikers, the upcoming competitions will be a challenge. But, the thrill of a challenge is why some of them enjoy biking so much.
“Regular biking is just on the road, so that’s boring to me,” Ouren said. “[Mountain biking] is a lot more fun. I like going fast, and I like the risk and danger.”
Junior Nathaniel Foster, who convinced Ouren to try mountain biking this past summer, also appreciates the speed and other unique perks of mountain biking. Unfortunately, this comes at a steep price—that of the bikes themselves. Foster paid $1200 for one that had all of the necessary adjustments, like wider tires.
“You’d pop your tires on a road bike, no doubt, if you tried riding off the road,” Foster said. “They make [mountain bikes] out of carbon fiber, which is a heck of a lot more expensive and a whole lot lighter. You can also do a lot more to the bike, like change out parts.”
Still, the cost is worth it to the bikers. Junior Julia Lawrence’s favorite part of the sport is the chance for being outdoors.
“I enjoy getting out there and being in nature,” Lawrence said. “Our society is so tech-oriented, and sometimes that’s fun, but sometimes I just need to be out in the wild.”
Other members, like Ouren and freshman Ben Worley, also like taking the opportunity to just be outside.
“It’s kind of liberating to get on the trails and just go riding for a little while with your friends,” Ouren said. “It really helps me get my mind off of things.”
But it’s not always smooth riding for the bikers. For example, they have to accept the frequent falls that naturally occur on rough terrain and obstacles.
“There are definitely injuries involved, but I feel like that’s standard in most sports,” Lawrence said. “The more you ride, the more experienced you are on your bike, and the less of a chance of injury you have.”
Experience does make a difference, as Ouren has found. In the case of a certain large hill at the Millican Reserve, where the club sometimes practices, persistence has paid off for him.
“The first time, I just went around it, because it’s super steep, and you have to go really fast to get up,” Ouren said. “In subsequent visits, I tried it. I fell a lot. [I’d get] about three-fourths of the way up and then crash back down. But, I’ve since been able to do it, and it’s awesome.”
As with any group of people who share a passion, the mountain bikers often form bonds with each other.
“The people in the club are really chill,” Foster said. “Just going out there and meeting new people is fun.”
Lawrence, who has attended a mountain biking camp in Colorado before, agrees on this point. During the camp, she met other bikers who she considered friendly and helpful. They were, she said, the kind of people who would help you out if you got a spare tire during a race.
“[The camp] was really fun. Everybody got along,” Lawrence said. “Mountain biking people are the best people you can find, by far.”
Lawrence does not plan on racing in college, but will continue to do it as a hobby, just like the club’s coaches currently do. Ouren plans to do the same.
“[I’ll] definitely [race] throughout high school. After that, I’ll still hit the trails every now and then,” Ouren said. “The fun’s not going to end, even if the competition does.” ●