The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) was started in 2001 in CA with the mission of building strong minds, bodies, character, and communities through cycling. There are now 25 leagues across the country, and many clubs within each state’s league. The Camden County Mountain Bike Crew is one on the growing list of clubs in the NJ league. Joe Brescia is Team Director of the Camden County MTB Crew. He also teaches Engineering Robotics at Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees, NJ.
PBE Did you have any particular education/training/experience that prepared you for your involvement with the CC MTB Crew?
JB As far as training goes, I am a certified Level 2 coach by NICA and also teach grades 9-12 on a daily basis. These will both kind of prepare you, but it also comes with just having riding knowledge and being involved with the right group of people to recruit really good coaches to help work with the students.
PBE How many riders are on the team?
JB We have 14 riders this year
PBE What’s their age range?
JB 11 – 18 years old Female/Male
PBE What’s your favorite part of your work?
JB I love seeing students having fun challenging themselves in this sport. They just see it as getting dirty and riding bikes with other kids. They don’t see the possible future and other benefits that come from riding and racing. You see students struggle with some trail section or a certain technique and then one day the light bulb goes off and they’re able to nail it. For a few students, it was just having the strength and endurance to finally finish a race. Oh, and the races are amazing. Talk about a professional setup with a super inclusive atmosphere. It’s pretty amazing.
PBE What are some of the challenging aspects of a youth cycling team?
JB There are many challenges. We have students of all different riding backgrounds, abilities, home lives, financial obligations, transportation, etc. It’s all about doing whatever it takes to get the students out on bikes. Funding the program takes a lot of effort in order to keep bikes maintained and having everything needed to run the team, but we make it work as a group.
PBE What inspires you?
JB We have a saying, “I wish this was around when I was in school.” That drives us to give this opportunity to any student that wants it. A bunch of us know how riding has benefitted our lives and that would’ve been amazing if it were around 20 or 30 years ago.
PBE What’s your favorite ride/route/destination?
JB I like riding to someplace new and exploring. Whenever there can be an adventure, there’s fun not too far behind.