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 Bikers from the Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association gather at an event.

Bikers from the Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association gather at an event.

Photo provided by Sean Warren


Cycling association offers kids a chance to compete on a mountain bike

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 1, 2020

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Not every kid can hit a baseball, throw a football or knock down a tough shot in basketball.

But many children either know how to ride a bicycle or are in the process of learning.

For those who would like to make it more than just a hobby and take it beyond the neighborhood, there is an option.

West Bloomfield resident Sean Warren is the president and executive director of the Michigan Scholastic Cycling Association, which he referred to as “like Little League for mountain biking in Michigan.”

There are approximately 15 active teams in the association, with competitions taking place in various parts of the state, including southeast Michigan. Each team has at least one coach.

The season typically starts the weekend before Labor Day and ends in mid-October.

There are five races during the season, followed by a championship.

The association keeps track of series points.

Following the last race of the season, a state championship is awarded to series leaders.

Warren compared it to NASCAR.

He said MiSCA has 17 categories, including varsity boys and girls, as well as JV boys and girls.

Warren said the age range is typically K-12, but that there is no minimum.

He said the objective of the association is to get more kids mountain biking.

“We’re not in the business of developing athletes, necessarily,” Warren said. “It’s way more about developing a lifelong love for cycling and the sport of mountain biking, because it can be done throughout adulthood. … It’s about finding fun in an activity you can do your whole life.”

White Lake resident Jacob Rende is 17 years old and has been part of MiSCA for more than three years.

He discussed some reasons why he has stuck with it.

“I’ve met a lot of people who I now ride with,” Rende said. “With the people that I ride with, that helped a lot. And it’s just a good sport to be in for me.”

Parents may also enjoy the benefits their children can get from being part of an organized cycling association.

“It’s been very beneficial,” Rende said. “While you can get exercise, at the same time you’re also getting social interaction in a different way from, like on social media or something; you’re interacting with people, and it’s a great thing to be a part of for those reasons.”

Warren has been in his role with MiSCA since 2012. He said, “All year, it is like a ton of work.”

But despite all the work that goes into it, which he does despite also having a full-time job, there can be plenty of rewards.

“I can see on these kids’ faces how much effort they put into it, and the excitement that they get for doing well — not even winning, but having finished the race or doing better than they had done before,” Warren said. “Just seeing the look on their face, knowing that they can do it, and that they accomplished something maybe they didn’t think they could, or that six months earlier they never would’ve been able to do.”

Warren said there were more than 500 kids in the program last year, although not all of them raced. Having such a high number of kids, along with all the coaches and parents who get involved, can create quite the atmosphere.

“It’s a really cool community of people,” Warren said. “It’s not about how good you are or what level you’re at — it’s all about doing your personal best. And this sport really lends itself to that, too.”

It isn’t just the competition that draws some people to mountain biking.

“It can be whatever level you want it to be of an activity,” Warren said. “It can be an exercise, or it can just be a stroll. And I think what it gives you is (an) outlet. For me, it’s like a mental outlet. I can shut my brain off for a short period of time. … I can turn off the regular, outside world.”

For more information, call Sean Warren at (248) 671-3029 or visit miscabike.org.

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