Wowee, Maui— XTERRA Racers Visit Maui Prep Academy
What happens when XTERRA pro riders visit Maui Prep Academy, a local Riding for Focus middle school after racing the XTERRA World Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii? The athletes share abundant tips on riding, bike skills and how they use cycling to stay focused when training and racing. Sound familiar? Race—Ride—Focus! What a generous way for athletes to give back, high-five the middle school students and inspire a new generation of riders and maybe future racers?
Bradley Weiss, XTERRA 2017 World Champion, 2018 Runner-up and Specialized sponsored pro, ran students through a sequence of challenging activities helping them hone their bike handling skills program in the middle school PE classes. Also on site for the visit, XTERRA pro Roger Serrano from Spain and USA racer Anders Johnson. Anders shared his own story about spending time with the students.
“After racing the XTERRA World Championships in Kapalua, Hawaii, I had the opportunity to go to the Maui Preparatory academy and talk bikes with some of the students. I quickly told them my story of how I biking has affected my life and shaped me into the person I am today and then we went up to the field to ride some bikes.
The kids all grabbed their bikes and got them ready to ride. They had to go through an “ABC quick check.” A – air in the tires. B – brakes. C – crank arm. Quick – quick releases. Check – overall check on the bike. I thought it was so cool that the kids were not only learning how to ride their Specialized bikes, but they were also learning to care for them and make sure they were ready to ride.
After a quick lesson, it was time for the kids to practice shifting. They learned very quickly and by the time they had taken a few laps, they were eager to try playing my favorite game, foot-down. It was a huge hit filled with lots of laughs and smiles. I could notice their bike handling skills improving game by game.
Overall, this was an awesome experience and I loved working with these enthusiastic kids. I was in complete awe of what an amazing opportunity these students have which wouldn’t be possible without the Specialized Foundation. Although everyone was excited about bikes, the best part was seeing those select few kids whose eyes completely lit up with just the thought of biking. It was clear that biking will be an important part of their life for many years to come.”
Maui Prep Academy Principal, Ryan Kirkham enthusiastically welcomed the racers.
“Obviously having XTERRA World Championship literally in our backyard helps gives us access to athletes that other locations might not have. All three visiting athletes were so excited to share their passions and experiences with our kids; our kids (I can speak from a first-hand account, my daughter is part of these classes) LOVED it.”
Maui Prep Physical Education teacher, Annalisa Figueroa was impressed too by racer Anders Johnson who joined the class. “He shared his story about his life and his passion for mountain biking. As a teacher, I loved seeing the joy on the kid's faces as they were riding with Anders—the perfect Riding for Focus ambassador.
Having Specialized athletes visit our Riding for Focus schools gives the Foundation an opportunity to provide role models for our kids. With stories such as Anders', describing the impact of cycling on his life as a whole, the athletes describe multiple points of relatability for the kids - giving them perspective on how cycling is more than just something they're doing in PE or a competitive activity.
A big Mahalo to West Maui Cycles for building the new bikes for the school. Maui Prep partnered with the local bike shop to build and maintain the school bike fleet. West Maui Cycles is family-owned and operated, and now celebrating 25 years on Maui. With four staff rocking the shop the bikes were built up in record time. Led by owner James Boote and Store Manager, Mike Rodney, they delivered service at the highest level—“it’s what we are all about”, shared Mike.
“We share a passion for riding and racing—from kids to World Champions. Count on us to deliver”.