Bike team coach wants involvement

Spencer Salmon needs just one kid to join the movement to create a competitive high school mountain biking. In Salmon’s mind that would be a success.

It is a small goal, but Salmon sees it another way. He sees it as a first-step.

Coach Spencer Salmon is one of the faces behind the effort to get the bike team off the ground in Austin. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Coach Spencer Salmon is one of the faces behind the effort to get the bike team off the ground in Austin. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“I just want to get people involved,” Salmon said.

That ideal is a reflection of Salmon’s own biking passion; a passion that demands more of a competition with yourself rather than others. In that sense, the creation of a high school team is a positive byproduct of bettering one’s self.

“It’s about me being on a bike and testing myself,” he said. “It’s different than others maybe because I’m racing against myself.”

And that is what Salmon is most trying to convey to anybody interested in joining the team he, along with Dick Schindler and other volunteers, are hoping to create.

A new, fresh face

Salmon is fairly new to town, having moved from Fargo N.D. to Austin with his wife Danielle Salmon, who got a job as a high school counselor at Austin High School.

A bike enthusiast, Salmon himself got involved in biking a relatively short time ago in a cycle cross race in Fargo, and things took off from there.

“I did a couple of those and I was hooked,” Salmon said.

Not long after coming to Austin Salmon became acquainted with Schindler, who is also an avid bike enthusiast.

Through their common love for biking, both Salmon and Schindler started looking into a biking team for students which would race in the Minnesota High School Cycling League. As Schindler took up the mantle to be a facilitator and organizer, Salmon started working towards being a coach.

“I’m an organizer, with Jerry McCarthy, and we’ve been involved with getting things going,” Schindler said. “It was never with the intent of being coach.”

But Salmon seemed a good fit.

“We wanted somebody who could teach the kids skills and who can handle a bike,” Schindler said.

 Putting in the work

Salmon, Schindler and others have actively been getting into the community, trying to recruit potential team members. That means getting into the schools and while there has been interest there have been no names signed up.

“It seemed like we have a couple kids that seemed interested,” Salmon said.

Salmon realizes there are challenges ranging from expenses to track availability, but the good thing about the Minnesota High School Cycling League and what Salmon is hoping to accomplish is to make biking as available as possible.

There will be scholarships to help with expenses and coach and organizers will do everything in their power to help keep kids involved.

Of course there is also a safety concern parents may have right up to the description: mountain biking.

While Salmon understands the safety concerns parents may have, there are several steps state organizers take to ensure safety.

“In Minnesota you can see the entire course from one spot,” Salmon said. “There are also court marshals and EMTs on site.”

For Salmon, it just comes back to getting kids involved, a philosophy shared by the MHSCL.

“I want Austin to have its own high school cycling team that has as many boys and girls – 10 to 20 kids,” Salmon said. “I just want kids riding.

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