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Cycling program helps develop teen riders

By: Nick Pecoraro Telegraph Correspondent
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The Folsom and El Dorado Hills area has always been known for being a fantastic place for cycling. Over the past few years, some local coaches have been working to grow the development of the younger cyclists in the area. Mark Ferry, head coach of the Oak Ridge Trojan Mountain Biking team, founded Cycling Development, a non-profit organization, four years ago to aid the growth and development of local youth cycling and mountain biking. “This program has grown at an insane rate. We have about 150 kids this year, which is crazy for a bike team,” said Ferry. “It’s been a real blessing. We try to be there for the kids no matter what their situation.” Ferry says the organization has a “no cut” policy, meaning that if you simply show up to practice and work hard; there is a spot on the team waiting for you. “If you take a sport like basketball or lacrosse, you have a ton of kids trying out but there are only about 15-20 spots on the team available. We want to make sure that each kid in our group has an opportunity to be successful.” This year, Cycling Development is going to be a big contributor to five high school teams, including Oak Ridge, Vista del Lago, Folsom, Casa Roble and the Spartans, a composite team made up of a number of surrounding area high schools. There will also be a junior development team, mixed up of kids ranging from age 8 to pre-high school teens. The five local high school teams will be competing in the NorCal High School League, which is comprised of 40 teams racing in five different competitions before the state finals in May. Once the NorCal season is finished, Ferry, along with a number of others in his coaching staff, will be assisting the riders interested in competing in Nationals. A year ago, the Spartan team took first place in the state of California. “The national team is the real deal. It’s for kids who have tons of time to pedal,” Ferry says. Currently, despite the abundance of participants, Oak Ridge and Vista del Lago are still encouraging and seeking out participants for the upcoming NorCal season. The first practice for both teams is Oct. 20. To join or inquire about participating, visit cyclingdev.com or email Mark Ferry directly at coach@cyclingdev.com. Ferry concluded by saying, “This is for anybody who wants to learn about mountain biking. You just have to have fun to do it. There are all kinds of great benefits that can come from it.”