The Gilmer Cartecay Youth Mountain Bike Team has been busy planning to get more area kids and their parents on bikes.
As the 2020 Georgia League Mountain Bike season approaches, returning and new riders alike are dreaming of getting back on the trail with their mountain bikes.
Team Cartecay has enjoyed explosive growth since its inaugural 2017 season, finishing last year with 32 youth riders and 21 parents registered as coaches. With Team Cartecay scoring a fifth-place team finish in the Georgia League for the 2019 season, the team is excited to get back to honing their cycling craft.
Because the team has enjoyed such rapid growth, expansion as required by league rules will force the team to be split into three, or possibly four distinct squads for the 2020 season, all racing under the Team Cartecay moniker. Possible squad divisions this year will include: Cartecay, Cohutta and Gilmer High School.
The squad divisions only matter on the five race weekends, where point tallies are kept for race series points. The team practices as one big mountain biking family for the entire season, and the kids prefer it that way.
“Friendship is what holds the whole team together,” says Elsbeth Gray, a sophomore rider for the GHS. “It’s the bonding that happens when we ride together that makes us so happy as a team.”
Rising junior racer, Lorenzo Alonso agrees, saying, “The best thing about the team is having fun riding with people who become an extended family, and to think these are folks you might not otherwise get to meet.”
The present realities of COVID-19 have impacted the spring preseason for the Georgia League. However, a season launch in July is still planned at this point, assuming a gradual return to normal activities.
Reflecting on the success of the team over the past three years, Coach Chris Harbin calls out the unusual opportunity the team provides for families to participate in a sport together.
“This group isn’t just a team, we’re family,” he said. “No other high school sport that I’m aware of allows parents to participate alongside their kids in practices.
“We develop a mutual respect for each other, forged by a shared purpose that strengthens family ties, builds lasting bonds of friendship between parents and athletes and sets the stage for lifetime enjoyment of exercise and the out of doors.”
A virtual Team Cartecay informational meeting is planned for Thursday, May 21, at 6 p.m. Details are available on the team’s Facebook page: Gilmer Cartecay Youth Mountain Bike Team.
(By The Gilmer Cartecay Youth Mountain Bike Team)