Peddling through life

While some students prefer car transportation, those involved in competitive cycling enjoy a different mode of transportation.

Although West High seems to have no shortage of sports to offer, there is one that does not make the list. Competitive cycling. While cycling is not available for athletes to participate in at West, there are options for those who are interested. Awelu Abdalla ‘20, Devon Skyles ‘20  and Victor Kariuki ‘20 are both competitive cyclists and a part of a club called Youth Off-Road Riders

Much like other club sports, Youth Off-Road Riders offers weekly practices and various competitions for those interested to participate in. The program is for both competitive and non-competitive cyclists and strives to bring forth a sense of community and safety in the biking world. 

“[The goal] is just to get the community around it together and get it as involved as well as [provide] a kind of safe haven from problems outside of it,” said Kariuki.

The club focuses more on the athlete’s personal goals, and as a result has a more flexible practice schedule.   

You can be extremely tired at some point and your body will want to give and the only thing that will push you will be your will to win and a strong mentality.”

— Victor Kariuki '20

“I train two times a week when it’s the school year and three to four times a week during the summer. As a team, we train once or twice a week and the rest I do myself,” said Abdalla. 

Unlike other sports, competitive cycling has a few different variations available for athletes to compete in. There are three different kinds of competitive cycling according to Kariuki: mountain biking, road, and Cycle Cross. 

“Mountain is more about handling and is not so power focused, while road is putting your head down and putting down power and cycle cross is a mix of both but requires a lot more endurance,” said Kariuki.

Because of the community aspect of the sport, the majority of people ended up joining because of friendships they had with those already participating in the club.

Abdalla started competitively cycling when he was in the fifth grade and said his passion for the sport stemmed from a childhood bike and one of his coaches. 

Abdalla got his first bike when he was five and ended up biking everywhere he went from that moment on. “I’d bike everywhere whenever I could,” said Abdalla.

Kariuki started about three years ago because one of his friends suggested the sport to him. He says one of the main things he enjoys about cycling is the mental game. 

“I mostly like the mentality you have to have because you can be extremely tired at some point and your body will want to give and the only thing that will push you will be your will to win and a strong mentality,” said Kariuki.

Similarly to Kariuki, Skyles also started cycling because he had friends who also participated in the sport. 

It’s different from other sports because when our whole team is together it seems like we’re a family rather than just a team.”

— Awelu Abdalla

“I got into cycling first by watching some of my friends do it and [tell] stories about how fun it was,” said Skyles. 

While Kariuki’s favorite aspect of cycling is the mental game, Skyles enjoys the community aspect of it. 

“My favorite part is the trip to the races because we’re just listening to music and goofing around, getting our minds off the anxiety of the race,” said Skyles. 

Abdalla agrees with Skyles on the team aspect of the sport. 

“It’s different from other sports because when our whole team is together it seems like we’re a family rather than just a team. We’ve created a strong bond through all the hours of car rides and having to be around each other so much,” said Abdalla. 

 

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