Great Valley School District teachers start bike team
Squad competes in cross country mountain biking
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.”
The team’s first competition took place in Marysville, Perry County.