Team takes to the Trails

Pelham High School Mountain Bikers Spencer Wilson, Maurice Miller, Saul Flores Dominguez and  Robert Plummer review safety with Coach Ryan Dye before they take to the trails with additional team member Tanner Goguen. The team is still accepting new members. (Contributed)

Pelham High School Mountain Bikers Spencer Wilson, Maurice Miller, Saul Flores Dominguez and Robert Plummer review safety with Coach Ryan Dye before they take to the trails with additional team member Tanner Goguen. The team is still accepting new members. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

“Getting people outside is healthy for the mind, body and spirit,” Pelham High School English teacher Ryan Dye said.

Sharing his love of the outdoors by sponsoring Habitat for Humanity student volunteers and by leading student excursions to Yellowstone in the past, this year Dye is bringing a new outdoor team to PHS—the Pelham Panther Mountain Biking team.

“We are an official NICA team. NICA stands for National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Being part of this mountain bike league allows us to compete against other high school teams in the state. This is Alabama’s first year to be a part of NICA,” Dye said.

Other school teams include Oak Mountain, Hoover, Gadsden, Auburn and Tuscaloosa. The PHS Mountain Bike Team will compete in four races this spring—and race for a state championship.

“I joined the team because I love biking,” senior mountain biker Spencer Wilson said. “This team focuses on immersing oneself in nature while speeding through the woods with a group of like-minded, hardworking teammates. Mountain biking provides me a great escape from the stresses of school, work, the future pressures of college and our technologically-suffocated world.”

Involvement in the biking community not only expands Pelham’s extracurricular activities, but also offers volunteering opportunities to set up events and maintain trails.

An avid cyclist himself, Dye puts safety first. Bringing in devices to convert the mountain bikes into indoor training bikes—and painstakingly setting these up to allow the team to have their first sessions indoors, Dye covered basic safety before taking to the trails with his team.

“I asked The Pelham City School System and the students if they would be interested in creating a NICA team because I believe being a part of teams, sports and competition builds life skills for our young people,” Dye said.

The team is still recruiting new members. Any students interested in joining the PHS Mountain Biking Team should contact Dye at school or through email at rdye@pelhamcityschools.org.