The Utah High School Cycling League surpassed many people’s expectations in 2012. From overall rider participation, coach participation, to even the speed and competitive levels of the riders. The first year of the Utah Cycling League was quite impressive. Although the numbers and results are fun to look at, the core of what makes the Utah League so successful is the individuals who participate in it. Said (pronounced sah eed) Hirsi is one of those individuals whose story speaks volumes to how the Utah League has impacted its local community.
Said move to Utah from Nairobi, Kenya with his mom and sister when he was 10 years old. Said’s played football in his freshman year, but when he transferred to another high school in Utah, he discovered mountain biking. As a sophomore, Said was one of seven riders on the high school’s mountain bike team. In addition to mountain biking, Said plays basketball and is a teachers aid for a class called Outdoor Lifestyles. We asked Said some questions to learn more about his story and how he became involved in the Utah High School Cycling League.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got involved in the Utah High School Cycling League?
Said: My name is Said Hirsi. I’m from Nairobi, Kenya and I have been in the United States for approximately six years. I got involved with the Utah High School Cycling League through Mr.Eaton Cavett at my school, the Salt Lake Center for Science Education (SLCSE). I had heard about it before but when I asked him he told me exactly where to go.
Q: When and how were you introduced into mountain biking?
Said: Well, when I knew where to go I went straight up to the coach’s room and I told him that I wanted to join. He said OK go get a bike and a helmet then go on a ride with the team.
Q: What about mountain biking do you like the most?
Said: What I like the most is the adrenaline.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a part of the Utah High School Cycling League?
Said: The thing I like the most about the Utah High School Cycling League is the way they were welcoming. They welcomed me in and treated me as if they had known me my whole life.
Q: What is the biggest challenge for you in high school mountain bike racing?
Said: I would have to say it is trying to keep up with the pros!
Q: What has the team experience done for you, and how does it compare to other team experiences?
Said: Well it has been very exciting and fun for me. For me, I would say it does not compare to other team experiences because the parents were so involved. For example, one time Alison’s mom (a teammate) took us to her house and served us some good spaghetti.
Q: What are some lifelong lessons you have learned from mountain biking?
Said: Don’t give up, ‘cause my first race I was in the last spot but I didn’t quit. I kept racing until I started improving and my goal changed from keeping up with the pros to not losing and finishing every race.
Q: What would you like to tell someone that is thinking about joining the team?
Said: I guess I would only say, “Just say Do it, and don’t think about it! If you truly love biking you’ll truly love mountain biking”