DHS Mountain Biking Team Finishes First Season


DHS Mountain Biking Team. Left to right: Ben Markham, Boyd Braden, Drew Brock, Vance Taylor, Lizzie Madden

Averill Payne

In fall 2020, Decatur High School sophomore Ben Markham formed a club based on his local mountain biking team, NorDek. Markham did this to abide by Georgia Cycling Association rules that require if there are multiple people from the same high school on one team, it has to be associated with said school. 

“When the team first started, it was just a small group of families that enjoyed mountain biking and would go to the trails and ride,” Tricia Madden, one of the coaches on the DHS mountain biking team, said.

Before the pandemic, the team had only six riders. However, upon the club’s start, it had a spike in members, with over 20 bikers. The initial spike in riders only included one girl, Lizzie Madden, daughter of Tricia Madden. 

The under-representation of non-male riders isn’t an uncommon occurrence in the sport, according to Tricia Madden. She and other coaches have dedicated specific recruitment rides to focus on adding non-male to the team, and in the past year, five more girls, including Lizzie, have joined the team.

Lizzie, a freshman, was one of many riders who succeeded in this recent season. She was consistently on the podium at races and finished the season ranking 3rd place in the state for freshman girls’ mountain biking.

To combat this issue, the team has become a non-profit organization, meaning they can now accept donations of gear for riders who aren’t able to afford the supplies necessary to safely ride. This includes helmets, gloves, even bikes. “You don’t want to walk into a team for the first time and not have the right gear,” Tricia Madden says.

Making the team a non-profit has allowed them to accept any rider who wants to participate, regardless of gear or experience. “A lot of my riders, before [joining the team], have only gone down the sidewalk in the neighborhood, so there’s a range of experience,” Tricia Madden says.

Although the team has experienced success this year, Madden and other coaches remain focused on creating a growth environment to “develop your lifelong love of biking, the sport, … you can [enjoy] your whole life.”


If you’re interested in learning more about the team or donating bike gear, visit the team’s website here.