Western Mountain Biking Team to Build Trails Around School


Credit: Shelly Liebler

“We practice in many different locations, some of them are upwards of 45 miles away.” -Darius Mehta, senior team captain.

Annie Flamm, Staff writer

Western Albemarle High School’s Mountain Biking Team has never had a home turf, until now. They have relied on courses elsewhere in the county to practice and compete. Now, members of the team are trading in their bikes for trail tools as they work to build trails behind the school.


The process started slow, but team captain and Western senior Darius Mehta remains optimistic as the team prepares to start building the trails that will extend around the extensive backwoods of Western.


Mehta explains the process, “We are flagging the trails before we get approval to build them. We’ve been doing this every Friday since school started,” Mehta explained, “I think it’s going to be over four miles of trail that will be built eventually. There are lots of thorns in the Western woods, so it’s been kind of painful. I got stung by a bunch of them once.” 


Thorns aside, the team’s hard work is expected to pay off soon. Sophomore rider Kai Fusco explained  that the team was in the process of receiving full approval. The team has been granted full approval by the county since this interview, so construction should be soon underway. 


The idea behind these trails came from Jackie Neilon, a former Western student. “She first came up with the idea to build trails at Western because we have cross-country trails, but they really don’t work that well for mountain biking.” Mehta said. The trails will allow riders to have a course that matches their desired difficulty, and to have an appropriate spot for practice and meets.


After Neilon moved schools, the rest of the team took on the initiative. “It’s really so we don’t have to go super far away to practice because we practice in many different locations, some of them are upwards of 45 miles away, so, it’ll help with convenience,” Mehta said.


The current team aims to make the trails rideable and finish by November 5th. The trails will remain in effect for future team members and other teams as well.