The Warren County Composite Mountain Biking Team is rolling toward the finish line of a successful season in the newly-formed Kentucky Interscholastic Cycling League.
The Warren County team, known as the Hollow Riders, has completed four races with the first-ever state championship set Saturday on the Bo Beckett Memorial Trail in Gilbertsville.
“The team’s doing really well,” Warren County team director Scott Duvall said. “We had our first jv rider get on the podium, which would be a top-three finish. And we had several riders get up in position, so it’s going really well. The whole league is doing well, a lot of excitement around it.”
The Hollow Riders aren’t new to competition, having raced the past four seasons in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. But with no state umbrella organization until this year, the team spent most of its time out of state.
“It was a pretty big process to actually get that formed and go through the process and the paperwork,” Duvall said. “So this is the first year that we’ve raced in Kentucky. All of our races are in Kentucky. The Hollow Riders have been in existence for about five years and all those other years we’ve raced in Tennessee. All of the teams that we competed against were in Tennessee, except for Marshall County.”
The Hollow Riders, open to riders ranging from sixth to 12th grade, is a composite team with members from various schools in the city and county. Currently, the team has 12 members and holds regular practices at Weldon Peete Park’s Low Hollow Trail or the Twisted Oliver Trail at Port Oliver on Barren River Lake.
In addition to practicing on those trails and the others the team races on during the season, the Hollow Riders put in plenty of time – well over 100 hours this season – in constructing and maintaining the trails.
“We’re very involved with keeping the trails up to date,” Duvall said of the team’s parents, volunteers, riders and coaches who regularly put in trail crew hours. “That’s a whole other aspect of mountain biking is getting involved and helping build these trails. It also brings a lot of economic benefit to the area. Mountain bikers travel a lot to be able to ride.”
The state league, known as the KICL, holds races during the season at courses on public land. Most courses are 3-5 miles in length, consisting of two laps for jv riders and up to double that for varsity races. The 13-team KICL has teams stretching west to Paducah/McCracken County to Clark County/Winchester in the east.
Duvall said Marshall County, the host for the state competition, has more than 40 riders and is probably the best team in the state. The Bo Beckett Trail will offer plenty of challenges for riders.
“The course will probably be a little over four miles,” Duvall said. “It’s twisty single track, and the single track is usually about 10 inches wide. It’ll be hard-pack dirt, rock, there will be climbs and short downhill section – what we call flowy trail, which is bumps and where you can pick up some speed and kind of roll over the obstacles.
“They’ll go through a lot of forest with some tight turns and berms. It’s a really good trail. It’s Marshall County’s home course, and they’re probably the best team in the state and they’ve had many years to improve that trail and make it a really good cross country trail.”
Duvall said mountain biking is a unique sport that allows boys and girls to train together, although they do compete in separate divisions on race day.
“It’s a very adventurous sport, to be on bikes going that fast, so the league really puts a lot of time and effort into making sure that our trails are as safe as possible for good competition,” Duvall said.
Although the season is drawing to a close, Duvall said the team is always looking to add new members.
“That’s the goal is just to grow it and get some more kids on bikes,” Duvall said.
– For more information, email the Hollow Riders at email@example.com, visit Warren-BGMTB on Facebook, or call Duvall at 270-272-8735.