Amarillo and Canyon students will have an opportunity to be the first in the panhandle to benefit from a unique opportunity. High school students will have an alternative to earn Physical Education credits to fulfill their academic requirements for graduation by riding their bicycle. That’s right. Amarillo and Canyon Independent School Districts have programs in place that allow students to participate in private clubs that teach Olympic sports that are not available through the public school system and to earn Physical Education credits for their participation. Cycling is an Olympic sport not offered through these public schools.
Students who participate in the program must have a coach certified by the governing body of their sport. Chris Podzemny, coach of the Amarillo & Canyon High School Cycling Club, is certified by USA Cycling Inc. The goal of the Club is to prepare the students for participation in competitive and non-competitive road and mountain bike cycling events in collaboration with the Texas High School Cycling League and USA Cycling Inc.
At a membership meeting Sunday, August 12th at Gold’s Gym in Amarillo, Podzemny advised parents and students that the curriculum will include bicycle safety, bike care and maintenance, proper training techniques, handling skills, good nutrition, racing strategy and tactics. They must complete a minimum of 5 but not more than 14 hours per week of highly intense, professional, supervised training. This training will consist of stretching, running, rides, spin classes, and weight training. The Club will meet three times a week for these supervised trainings. All traffic laws will be followed during training rides, and routes will be predetermined to try to avoid main thoroughfares and heavy traffic routes. Rides will consist mainly of road cycling however some mountain bike rides will be considered.
Students will be encouraged, but not required to participate in organized cycling events. As a member of the Texas High School Cycling League, the Club will be participating in League events. The Club will also participate in other American Cycling Association and USA Cycling events unaffiliated with the League. Whenever possible the Club will try to participate in local events as well.
The Amarillo & Canyon High School Cycling Club is a private organization, unsupported and unsubsidized by the AISD or CISD. Each student is responsible for providing his/her own equipment. Such equipment will consist of no less than bike, helmet, suitable clothing, tool kit, inflation device, spare tube and patch kit, gloves, and sunglasses. Annual membership and monthly dues will be comparable to other such local sport clubs.
Outreach Coordinator Cunningham attended this meeting and extended a hardy welcome to this new endeavor and offered professional support and encouragement to Coach Podzemny.