Youth cyclists ready to hit Tilden Hill Farm course
VERNON — Some area cyclists will get to put their mettle to the pedal this weekend at a course close to home.
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s New York Interscholastic Cycling League has Tilden Hill Farm in Vernon as a stop for its mountain biking race series Sunday.
The first race as part of the event titled “Race The Farm” is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Races continue into the afternoon.
The event is set to include 27 teams from around New York state and have more than 300 youth cyclists from grades sixth through 12 participating in boys and girls divisions, according to Joe Misiaszek Jr., the founder and head coach for the Waterville Mountain Bike Club which is a host for the event.
In all, organizers are expecting over 1,000 people on race day.
Misiaszek Jr. said the Waterville Mountain Bike Club team includes cyclists from around the Mohawk Valley as part of a composite squad. The squad will have at least five participants Sunday, though there are about a dozen total that are participants in the group. Misiaszek’s sons were previously involved with the club when they were younger.
“I have riders from Clinton, New Hartford, Whitesboro, Ilion and Waterville,” he said. “Racing is for me is not the end game. Racing is the icing on top of the cake.”
There are also Central New York teams based in Syracuse and Norwich that will be participating, Misiaszek said. The New York league, which was started in 2012, is among 31 leagues in the United States. NICA was founded in 2009.
This weekend’s event is the first time that the NYICL’s race series will make a stop in the Utica-Rome area and the closest race since one in Norwich.
Misiaszek said the Waterville Mountain Bike Club has traveled around the state for events since 2016 when he started guiding the team.
The event at Tilden Hill is the third stop on the NICA New York League’s five-race schedule this spring. Misiaszek said there are many aspects that helped make the Vernon course a good option.
“It is a great venue,” Misiaszek said. “The variation of the course (stands out). The amount of space we have to setup and on-site camping as well as there are plenty of hotels and entertainment also (helps).”
The course can change from day-to-day and could be tweaked to make it more safe or alter the difficulty level in consultation with NICA officials, Misiaszek said.
In the two previous stops on the schedule this spring – races were staged in Thornwood and Liberty – participants finished in times between about 45 minutes and 90 minutes depending on the number of laps. There is a time limit for the races, according to league rules.
The schedule also includes a stop June 4 at Glimmerglass State Park in Cooperstown and June 11 in Old Forge.
“It took a lot of time to get those races up here,” Misiaszek said.
While rider registration is closed for the Tilden Hill race, people interested racing in the future or getting involved with the club can contact Misiaszek at watervilleMTB@gmail.com. More information is also available on the Waterville Mountain Bike Club’s Facebook page.
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