AISD mountain biking team in search of sponsor


PHOTO BY Cade Spencer

ROCKY ROAD: Liam Spencer practices mountain biking along the Violet Crown Trail in Austin. Spencer began mountain biking with the Bowie team in his freshman year.

Riley Payne, Reporter

As senior Liam Spencer rides his bike with speed over rough terrain, he takes a deep breath of fresh air and impatiently imagines how the upcoming racing season will look.

The mountain biking team is approaching their competition season in the new year, and each competition involves timed trials of individual team members or group races in which bikers race their competition.

“COVID-19 hasn’t affected the team a ton so far because it isn’t racing season yet,” Spencer said. “We aren’t exactly sure what our season will look like, but we know we will have to make some adjustments. If I had to guess, I would say that we will be racing time trials instead of group races like we were doing before.”

The team practices every day of the week excluding Mondays and Fridays. Practices are typically an hour and a half long and consist of the team riding together.

“A huge advantage of being a part of [the mountain biking club] is getting to do this sport with the community,” Spencer said. “It is not a super popular sport yet, so finding friends to do it with can be hard. However, being on the team [helps you] find tons of people who love to ride and will be willing to do it with you.”

In a normal year, races bring in teams from all across the state, so there is always good competition.

“You’re given the chance to race against people from all over Texas, which is a rare opportunity that has been amazing,” Spencer said. “The parents and coaches are incredibly knowledgeable and everything always runs so smoothly.”

Though mountain biking has been a great experience for Spencer, there are some unexpected disadvantages to the sport.

“I think one of the biggest disadvantages of being on the team may be the cost,” senior member Ethan Doucette said. “Gear and mountain bikes just aren’t cheap, but if you’re dedicated and it shows, your parents will definitely see that and hopefully pitch in [to help with costs]. In my opinion, it is definitely worth it because the team has taught me so many things in life.”

According to the Outdoor Foundation, biking is the second most popular outdoor activity for young people.

“My dad has always loved mountain biking, and he was definitely the reason that I first got involved with the sport,” Spencer said. “The first mountain biking rides, wherever you go, can be hard. It can be a very scary sport, so it takes some dedication to get over the learning curve and [overcome] your fears at first.”

The mountain biking team has been slowly growing in numbers and expects to keep expanding. As of last year, it attracted over 60 members across AISD who came together to race as a community and enjoy the sport together.

“I would love to see the team grow and reach our goal of having an under-23 junior team that can make it to nationals one year,” Doucette said. “If that happened, I would be just beyond thrilled.”

The mountain biking team is currently looking for a faculty sponsor. Students interested in joining the team are encouraged to reach out to principal Mark Robinson.

“Mr. Robinson removed our mountain bike team from the club list to reflect that there is not currently any affiliation between our program and Bowie,” volunteer coach Darren Poore said. “The reason we have no faculty sponsor and can’t get one is [due to] the extra burden on teachers because of COVID-19.”