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A look into the mountain biking team

Junior Alex Davis reflects on season

Henry Burreson, Staff Reporter
Originally published June 14, 2016

Photo courtesy of Alex DavisJunior Alex Davis Battles for positioning in the first race of the season at Swan Creek Park in Tacoma on April 3rd in the Junior Varsity division.

Photo courtesy of Alex Davis

Junior Alex Davis Battles for positioning in the first race of the season at Swan Creek Park in Tacoma on April 3rd in the Junior Varsity division.

Racers stand at the starting line, some conversing, others look to the course that they will soon navigate. Bikes are inspected, items are checked off a mental list: water, tire pressure, gear combination. An announcer suddenly begins a countdown. The voice nears the number zero the racers, as well as the crowd, ready themselves. Suddenly, and in unicen, they’re off. Opponents push past each other, some pull ahead. The crowd cheers wildly. Racers lungs may begin to burn, their legs may beg to stop but they can’t be bothered to think about anything besides the finish line. This is how junior Alex Davis experiences mountain biking races.

Junior Davis, the only Junior Varsity racer on the team is hoping for top five at State this sunday.
Ballard’s mountain biking team started working out last December. All through the winter and spring the team has been practicing at both lower woodland after school and putting in 15-20 mile days all over Western Washington on Saturday mornings.

The Co-Ed team has ten members that have the opportunity to race in four different divisions: Beginners, Intermediate, Junior Varsity, and Advanced. Every division does one more lap of the race course.
Each division is divided by timed heats of the race, where higher divisions start their race earlier. The heats are also separated by gender.

The coaching staff is headed by Tom Phillips who is aided at various times by six different assistant coaches.
There are 21 high schools represented in races around the state and some of the teams are consolidated from multiple different schools. However, Ballard is made up of all Ballard Students except for two Ingraham girls who joined due to a lack of a program at their school.

This season there were four scheduled races that Ballard competed in.
The team is sponsored by a Ballard native bike shop: Second Ascent, now called Ascent Cycles. Each member of the team receives a 20 percent discount off of all bike gear at the shop.
“Everybody on the team is hoping for improvement. All year long everyone has been improving their skills,” says Davis.
It is possible for the team to win as a combined team however, due to their size it’s more common for cyclist to place as individuals.

“We all mingle pretty nicely,” said Davis.
Davis was a fifth place medalist in his division at the State Championship meet.
The meet took place in Spokane on May 15th. The weather was calm with a slight drizzle and overcast skies, “Which is a lot better than super hot and sunny,” said Davis.
Overall the team didn’t place collectively due to their size, however, individuals mostly set personal records or place
“Great improvement across the board for everyone,” said Davis.

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A look into the mountain biking team