Sophomore Haegan Altizer races bikes

The+most+recent+race+Altizer+competed+in+was+the+2012+Tundra+Junior+Time+Trials%2C+where+he+finished+fourteenth+out+of+42+riders.

Mike Waine

The most recent race Altizer competed in was the 2012 Tundra Junior Time Trials, where he finished fourteenth out of 42 riders.

Haegan Altizer remembers racing down a mountain, reaching a 60 mph speed, and feeling the wind all around him. This is his favorite memory, a feeling he will never forget. He was 13.

When he was younger, Altizer played soccer and fenced. But he soon turned to biking as his primary physical outlet. “I bike because it presents both a mental and physical challenge,” Altizer said.

The change from soccer and fencing was unexpected, as Altizer’s dad is the soccer coach at Decatur. Despite his independence from his family with this new after-school elective, Altizer’s parents remain very supportive. “ I mean, my mom drove me to my last race at like 5:30 in the morning,” Altizer said.

Altizer’s racing group, the Junior Flyers Club, practices several days a week. Although it’s a team practice, each individual can bike by themselves. This change from other team sports was what Altizer really began to appreciate about the sport.

Even though it seems individual, Altizer’s coach, John Kelly, explained why a team is necessary. “The kids all ride in formation, and they support each other in the group,” Kelly said.

Another benefit to riding as a group is the shelter from wind and elements, the people up front get most of the blast, and everyone keeps switching places.

Altizer’s growing love for biking soon found an additional outlet. As a freshman, Altizer got his first job at a bike store near Decatur. Bike South has been in business for 37 years and provides guidance for inexperienced bikers.

Altizer’s favorite memory is from the Six Gap Century, a 100-mile race where all participants ride over six mountains to get to the finish. Altizer’s memory of the end, where he and his teammates raced down the last mountain, going the fastest they had ever gone, is something that inspires him to keep racing and find that thrill again.