Monday, June 12, 2017

Montgomery County-based Youth Mountain Bike Team to Hold First Practice of 2017 on Thursday, July 6th

The first official practice of the SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team will be held on Thursday July 6, 6pm at Lorimer Park, 183 Moredon Rd, Huntingdon Valley, PA.  

SoMont (Southern Montgomery County) Cycling Youth MTB Team is a chartered composite team of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) and the National Interscholastic Cycling League (NICA).  Co-founders, Wyncote/Cheltenham neighbors and friends, John Raisch and Thuong Nguyen are mountain biking enthusiasts.  Raisch, a Rockledge-native and Abington High School graduate, grew up mountain biking in Lorimer Park while Nguyen, who grew up in Lancaster, became an avid Fairmount Park rider while earning his BA at the University of the Arts. 

 Today, both are also fathers with children developing their own affinity for cycling. During the league’s inaugural season last year, Raisch and Nguyen planned and conducted learning experiences, training, and practices for the youth in Lorimer Park, Baederwood Park, Tookany Creek Parkway, Pennypack Park & Rail Trail, Forbidden Drive, and at the Philly Pumptrack.  Along the way, they picked up new team recruits and supporters. For the 2017 season, the SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team will attract over 20 student-athletes, spanning grades 6 through 10, and draw athletes from public and private schools throughout southern Montgomery County (Cheltenham, Abington, Springfield, Lower Moreland and other areas).  The team is also enthusiastically and financially supported by many community businesses.  

Our athletes impress me every time we’re out on the bikes,” said Nguyen. He further added, ”Last year, their confidence grew off the charts, but, more importantly, they developed meaningful friendships. They’re just a great bunch of kids.”

“We have a fantastic group of dedicated community based sponsors, coaches, student-athletes and families. I am so proud of what we’ve collectively accomplished and I look forward to seeing our team race and represent Southern Montgomery County this season,” remarked Raisch. However, Raisch is boldly looking forward to this new season, “We are actively recruiting more student-athletes, preparing for a time when Abington, Cheltenham, Lower Moreland and other school districts adopt mountain biking as an interscholastic sport. This wonderful sport promotes physical and mental fitness, equality, inclusivity, and an appreciation of the great outdoors. We don’t think it gets much better than that.”

Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through their efforts on the bike.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) is a non-profit 501(c)3 NICA Project League. The league was organized in 2014 with the goal to provide fun, safe, and competitive mountain biking opportunities for middle (grades 6-8) & high school students in the Commonwealth.

SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team is a PICL sanctioned composite team, organized in 2016.  It is an independent youth mountain bike team in the Cheltenham, Abington, Rockledge, Lower Moreland and Springfield areas of southern Montgomery County. The goal of SoMont Youth MTB is to introduce boys and girls (6th to 12th grade) to the sport of mountain biking and to help them use the sport as a way of developing a new life-long athletic interest.  The team and coaching philosophy is to use cycling, and the mountain bike itself, as a way-of-thinking to transport our riders to a sense of adventure, exploration, excitement, friendship and good health.

Who: SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team (youth athletes grade 6-12 at start of 2017-18 school year)
When: Thursday July 6, 6pm
Where: Lorimer Park, 183 Moredon Rd, Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006
* helmet and mountain bike required

For more information please contact:
John Raisch, Director, SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team