DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Monday, September 21, 2020

No mountain bike season, but Gators continue to ride

 Mountain bike riders from Xavier Prep and their counterparts from Brophy Prep will be scooting over the terrain in the coming weeks, just not in the same format that originally was intended.

The organization in which the combined club team competes, the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League, has announced the cancellation of its five-race season due to complications with some of the issues related to the Covid-19 virus.

Both the girls and boys will continue to practice, however, and compete in events independent of the AICL, according to Xavier/Brophy Head Coach and Team Director Rich Perrott.

Shortly after a visit by The XCP Files to a Xavier practice ride in the mountainous Dreamy Draw area in Phoenix around the start of September, the AICL made the decision and informed its 80 teams, including a handful in New Mexico. It came in the form of a letter from Mike Perry, President and Executive Director of the AICL.

“Despite our resolve, event gathering size restrictions, physical distancing requirements and the ongoing threat of transmission persist,’’ Perry wrote. “It’s become clear that we will not be able to host a race this season.’’

The AICL will refund teams’ entry fees, and seeks to help teams continue to be insured and ride through the official end of the season on Dec. 6.

“It’s been about two weeks (since it happened),’’ Perrott said. “It kind of blindsided us. For the first couple of days, we asked ourselves, “What are we going to do?’ ’’

The Xavier and Brophy riding groups voted to continue to work and ride together.

They rode on their own recently on the course of the Arizona Nordic Village in Flagstaff, which would have hosted the AICL’s first race last weekend. And they were expected to ride in three events, including the three-hour Humboldt Hill Climb that goes 1,680 feet and has an 81 percent average grade, according to the event’s Web site.

Other sites, according to Perrott, are the White Tank Regional Park in the west Valley community of Waddell (a location for AICL races in prior years), and the McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills, which was listed fourth on this year’s five-race schedule.

Perrott said Xavier, which has about 10 riders, and the larger Brophy group “are excited as we continue to move forward.’’

Hopefully, that will include operating with a clean slate in 2021.

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