The Madison, WI, Westside Composite Mountain Bike team formed in 2014 with 10 riders and coach Mike McGarry. In 2021, our team had grown to over 250 riders. We now have 3 teams under one main umbrella – Madison West, Madison Memorial, and Verona Composite (which includes students from Verona, Belleville, New Glarus, and Oregon.)
The teams create a positive environment for young riders to discover the lifelong joy of being able to ride a bike safely and well on trails. Some athletes set goals that are performance- or skill-related, while others focus on making new friends and having fun out on the trails.
We practice at a variety of awesome mountain bike trails on the South and West sides of Madison, including Quarry Ridge, Seminole Trails, Blackhawk, Pleasant View, and Quarry Park. Many athletes bike in groups with their coaches to/from practice, using local bike paths. All trails are maintained by our friends at CORP (and we encourage athletes to join trail maintenance days with CORP). We are a member of the Wisconsin Cycling League, which is part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). All rides are led by coaches who are background-checked, trained, and certified by NICA and have wilderness first aid or higher training.
Dedicated volunteer coaches, trained and certified through NICA, lead our teams. Our lead coaches have many years of experience riding and/or racing and have Level 2 or 3 certifications. They are supported by Level 1 coaches, who are often interested parents who may have very little mountain biking experience.
We are always looking for help with coaching! If you are a parent of a rider on the team or simply an adult who loves to ride on dirt and wants to help get more kids on bikes, please drop us a line. None of our coaches are professional mountain bikers (in case you were wondering). We will give you the training you need to help out.
If you’d like to ride with the team, you must attain this basic certification (mountain bike skills not required). Level 1 coaches go through background checks, as well as training on safety and concussion awareness. Level 1 coaches assist as directed by the head coach and generally participate in practices, gaining skills alongside student athletes.
Level 2 coaches satisfy all of the Level 1 requirements but also add CPR, on the bike skills courses, and a minimum of 20 hours riding with the team, gaining valuable experience. Level 2 coaches assist level 3 coaches with advanced tasks, such as leading rides.
Level 3 coaches satisfy all of the Level 1 and 2 requirements and have further training and wilderness first aid. Level 3 coaches take on leadership roles within the team and have equivalent competencies to the head coach.