RANDOLPH, NJ - A youth mountain bike team made up of students from Roxbury and Randolph, recently had the opportunity to ride some local trails with with Katie Compton, a 14-time winner of the elite women’s class USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.
The event, arranged by Marty’s Reliable Cycle and Trek, brought Compton from her home in Colorado all the way to New Jersey for a short visit following her last race of the season in Belgium. The days leading up to the event consisted of weather ranging from freezing temperatures in the teens to drenching rain. That, combined with a deep cut to her knee sustained in her final race, resulted in some wondering if the event would go off as planned.
However, Mother Nature cooperated and delivered temperatures in the sixties and Compton, as tough as ever, showed no signs of her injury and was as strong as ever during the ride.
Cyclocross features athletes on a bike that resembles a reinforced road bike, riding through terrain that might typically be reserved for mountain biking. For this ride though, Compton traded in the narrow wheels of a ‘cross bike and rode a Trek Farley “fat bike” with 5-inch tires.
The group headed out and first enjoyed some fun on a mini sandy pump track in the park behind Marty’s Randolph shop. They then headed through Horseshoe Lake in Succasuna to the trailhead of the West Morris Greenway before heading up a steep trail to ride under the power-lines running parallel to the Greenway.
Finally, the group headed back down a single track trail to the Greenway and to the store to complete a loop of over 10 miles.
When asked how she liked the fat bike, Compton commented that it took a little getting used to. Once the group was on the more challenging trails, Compton's long history of mountain bike riding and racing before cyclocross had her feeling right at home and tearing up the hills.
Following the ride, the group headed back to the store for some pizza and discussion. Jesse Epstein, who coaches a Morristown based team and is a co-owner of the bike shop, interviewed Katie. The two knew each other from college and shared some older cycling stories before moving on to other topics.
The Randolph Revolutions is a composite team consisting of middle school and high school riders from Randolph, Roxbury and a few other surrounding towns. They ride as a group for about eight months throughout the year and race in the spring against other teams throughout New Jersey in the New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League.
The NJICL is a chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) which has just expanded to 22 leagues operating throughout the country with additional leagues planned. Students interested in riding are encouraged to come on a “try-it-out” ride to meet some of the team and coaches. No experience is necessary and the team embraces the vision and mission of the league, accepting anyone with a desire to ride, whether experienced or new to the sport.
Cycling has traditionally been a male dominated sport and recruiting female riders has often been a challenge. While the Revolutions hope to eventually have an equal number of male and female riders, they still have a long way to go, but events like this certainly help. For additional information on the league, check out www.newjerseymtb.org.
The team rides several time per week as well as participates in other events like this. Riders can also race in the statewide series beginning in April and registration continues throughout the spring season, so there is still plenty of time to get in on the action. Students from other towns are eligible to ride on the team that is closest to them is there if no direct representation.