Feb 2, 2022
After taking part in competitive mountain bike racing for four years, Healdsburg High School (HHS) student Harrison Threlfall finally decided it was time to bring his love for biking to the HHS community.
Anyone who knows Healdsburg High School (HHS) student Harrison Threlfall knows he likes bikes. It is not uncommon to see Threlfall riding through town on his Surly Crosscheck Fixed Gear bike with pink handlebars — it certainly is a sight to see. After taking part in competitive mountain bike racing for four years, Threlfall finally decided it was time to bring his love for biking to the HHS community.
Mountain biking is a fast growing sport that recently has begun to be integrated more commonly into schools across the country. This outdoor sport was especially popular amidst the pandemic due to its easy compliance with COVID-19 safety rules and precautions. The National Interscholastic Cycling Association, also known as NICA, saw an increase of 12% this past year in student cycling involvement. This nationwide nonprofit organization promotes high school mountain biking programs in the United States, and is critical in Threlfall’s plan to bring the sport to HHS. NICA as a whole is made up of several different leagues, Healdsburg being in the NorCo Cycling League. Leagues are then made up of teams.
“Basically all of our riders who are going to race are signed up for the Santa Rosa composite team, but we're still going to be practicing mostly on our own and wearing our own jerseys at races,” Threlfall explained.
Threlfall’s ultimate plan is to kickstart the club this year, and next year bring a more competitive attitude to the table. Practices are set to take place three times a week, and will vary day to day. “Maybe one day we'll go do skills, and another day do a workout. Friday would usually be a fun ride,” explained Threlfall. He emphasized that he aims to create a low pressure environment, with the main goal of having fun.
Practices will not be limited to people who want to race. Instead, they will be open to anyone who wants to participate. The appeal of such a “fun-oriented” club has drawn a large number of people to sign up. As a brand new program at HHS, Threlfall already has nearly 20 people signed up for the club, 14 of which wanting to race.
In order for Threlfall’s ideas to prosper in full effect, fundraising efforts will be at the height of issues to assess. To do so, Harrison has partnered with the Outride foundation, a program created to assist schools around the country in creating cycling programs.
“Through Outride I am hoping to raise enough money to get team bikes that could be used by students who are unable to afford their own,” he said.
“I'm going to try my best to make Healdsburg an actual independent team in the league. With the right coaches and people, mountain biking will be really cool in the years to come … I just want to show everyone how fun this underrecognized sport is,” concluded Threlfall, who has high hopes for the future.