Great Val­ley School District teach­ers start bike team

Squad com­petes in cross coun­try moun­tain bik­ing

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Adam Farence afarence@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @afarence on Twit­ter

EAST WHITELAND >> Mid­dle school and high school chil­dren may get to par­tic­i­pate in cross coun­try bike races, if oth­ers fol­low the bike tracks of two Great Val­ley School District teach­ers.

Tim Leary and Chad Sin­daco set out to form the Great Val­ley Moun­tain Bike Team in Jan­uary, and have com­pleted their first com­pe­ti­tion in Marysville Sun­day.

“We started this thing from the ground up,” Leary said. “It’s been amaz­ing to watch this grow.”

Leary said Sin­daco and him­self originally formed the team in Jan­uary, and they both have worked since then to find places for their team to train and get in­sur­ance through the Na­tional In­ter­scholas­tic Cy­cling As­so­ci­a­tion (NICA).

Founded in 2009, NICA aims to give mid­dle and high school stu­dents the chance to par­tic­i­pate in cross coun­try moun­tain bik­ing.

“Think of a cross coun­try race, but on a bike,” Sin­daco said at a re­cent East Whiteland Board of Su­per­vi­sors meet­ing.

Leary and Sin­daco ap­peared be­fore the board of su­per­vi­sors to seek per­mis­sion to use Val­ley Creek Park as part of their train­ing ground, a re­quest the board granted.

At the meet­ing they also stated the

team is not part of the school district, and at the mo­ment cross coun­try cy­cling is not a Penn­syl­va­nia In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (PIAA) sanc­tioned sport.

Cur­rently, Leary said they roughly 20 cy­clists com­pris­ing of both boys and girls in grades six through 12, and fre­quently prac­tice at Bright­side Farm in Charlestown town­ship.

“Penn­syl­va­nia is such a cy­cling state,” Leary said. “Par­ents have stepped up to ride with us and be coaches.”

The Great Val­ley Moun­tain Bike Team com­pleted its first in­ter­scholas­tic race Sun­day, where sev­eral rac­ers from the team fin­ished the com­pe­ti­tion on the podium.

Ai­den Casey took sec­ond place out of 38 com­peti­tors in the boys sev­enth-grade race, Bri­ana Rivera took sec­ond out of nine in the fresh­man girls race, and Gavin Pan­tel­las placed fifth out of 38 in the ju­nior var­sity boys race.

Leary said the race length for dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories vary, but fresh­man and sopho­mores typ­i­cally race be­tween eight and 10 miles, where ju­niors and se­niors bike 16 and 20 miles.

To train, Leary said the team meets three times a week, twice for work­outs and once for a long week­end bike ride.

“The kids are through the roof,” Leary said. “We couldn’t be hap­pier for the kids.”

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — GREAT VAL­LEY MOUN­TAIN BIKE TEAM

The team’s first com­pe­ti­tion took place in Marysville, Perry County.

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