The Woodstock High School Mountain Bike Team has gotten off to a hot start in its fourth season of existence, taking first place in the second race of the 2020 Georgia Interscholastic Cycling League season at Kingston Downs near Rome.
Following a first place finish at the Allatoona Creek Park race in Acworth on Sept. 12 and 13, the team came roaring out again during the Kingston Downs race on Sept. 26 and 27. At the Kingston Downs race, Jarod Gollob claimed first place in the varsity boys category, while Kyleigh Faust took fourth place in the girls varsity category and Kate Battista earned first place in the girls junior varsity 1 (a junior varsity category made up of more experienced racers than the junior varsity 2 category) field.
“This is the best team start we’ve ever had,” Team Director Robert Hinkelmann said. “If I’m not mistaken, these two races are the first times we’ve ever podiumed (having a team finish of first through fifth place in a race).”
Made up of 18 male and female athletes ranging from sixth-graders to high school seniors, the Woodstock High School Mountain Bike Team is one of the 65 high school and composite teams and more than 800 student-athletes from across the state competing in the Georgia Interscholastic Cycling League. The league hosts five fall races every year, with the next race scheduled for Oct. 10 and 11 at Dauset Trails in Jackson.
Practicing three times a week at Rope Mill and Blankets Creek parks under his and head coach Bill Brown’s direction, Hinkelmann said the team is continuing to work hard, despite the changes to this year’s racing format. Under more normal circumstances, Hinkelmann said there would be a designated time for each category of racers (middle school, junior varsity 1, junior varsity 2 and varsity) to hit the course and all participants in that classification racing at once. However, due to the ongoing pandemic, he said teams are given a set time each race weekend to be at the course and each racer sent off individually. Prior to the race, a plate with an electronic chip is placed on a racer’s bike, which activates once the racer crossing the starting line and then logs the time elapsed when the bike crosses the finish line. Once all racers have completed the course, all of the times are logged into a software program that can sort them to determine individual and team finishes, with the results being sent out on Sunday night, Hinkelmann said.
As a result of finishing first as a team at both the Allatoona Creek Park and Kingston Downs races, the Woodstock team has taken a firm lead in the hunt for its first state championship, a fact Hinkelmann says has the team that much more fired up.
“We’re extremely excited to be in this