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Team Captains for 2018-19

Drake Captains

The Drake team captains provide on-the-trail and on-campus leadership for a team with an unparalleled record of consistency and excellence over the years. Drake captains are chosen for their integrity and leadership, helping the coaches with mentoring and support for such a large and diverse racing team. Perhaps most importantly, the captains are always available as resources for the other Riders on the Drake campus during school hours, something that coaches and parents cannot provide. And if captains are willing, they are encouraged to share their phone numbers so other Riders can text them for help.

The following individuals are currently Captains for the Drake MTB team:

Audrey Fehlhaber


When I joined the mountain biking team as a freshman, I had no idea what I was getting into. Little did I know that within a few short months, I would meet some of my closest friends, push myself harder than I thought possible, and find a group so tightly knit that I would consider it my second family. As a senior racing varsity this year, my motives for riding haven’t changed; I ride to be outside, to enjoy the company of this supportive team, to test the limits of my own strength, and because of my love for the sport. Mountain biking has brought me the satisfaction of victory and redemption, balanced by the frustration of sick days and broken chains. Through it all, I’ve learned to count on a group of peers, coaches, and parents who have the same passion for riding that I do; I owe my successes, large and small, to the entirety of the Drake MTB community. As a captain, I hope to help others learn to appreciate mountain biking, both the good and the bad, as much as I do. Here’s to another season full of the spirit of howdy!

Sasha Plichta


I joined the team as a freshman because I saw it as a natural continuation of the experiences I had had riding in middle and elementary school. It was my first real experience with competitive cycling and I quickly came to realize that the mountain bike team is so much more than just a collection of like-minded athletes. I’ve found some of my best friends through the team, and though I now ride more for enjoyment than the competition, I take great pleasure in being able to foster the same community that I found for the next generation of riders through my role as a captain.

Maggie Nelson


I’ve been biking for as long as I can remember. Thanks to my dad, I was on my bike, huffing and puffing up and down Five Corners every weekend as a young kid. I joined the Drake Mountain Biking Team as a freshman. It was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, considering the people I’ve met and how I’ve changed and evolved as a person, thanks to this community. I’ve not only become more sure of myself and my actions, but I’ve learned to persevere and lean on the people around me when I need them. I had a pretty successful season, so going into my junior year I’m really just excited to get back on my bike. I can’t wait to see our team kick some serious butt, and I am forever grateful for teammates, parents, ride leaders, and coaches who constantly provide their undying support in order for each and every one of us to succeed the way we do. Roll Pirates, forever and always.

Landon Schopp


I originally got into mountain biking because of my dad. He has been riding for many years and has been encouraging me to go with him for as long as I can remember. He was the reason I originally started mountain biking, and without him I probably wouldn’t even be on the team. I have been racing and riding with the Drake Mountain Bike team for the past two years. Before that I rode with my dad and my friends for about three years, but was never super into it. Joining the team at Drake helped me to realize how fun mountain biking can be and how passionate I am about this sport. The wonderful community only adds to my excitement that comes along with the beginning of each new season. This year I am going to race my first year in junior varsity; and I am excited for the challenges and hardships that will come along with the new category, but I am confident that my supportive teammates, coaches and parents will help me overcome them. Art is everywhere!

Drake Captains also meet a stringent set of requirements above and beyond showing up to team practices and races:

Passion and excitement for the team and the sport
Great captains are passionate captains. The spirit of the team drives our success; captains are constant ambassadors for the team and the sport, so taking the time to talk to anyone about the team, mountain biking, trail advocacy, girls on bikes, etc, is important for the future of the team. Captains also show excitement for team rides and team events; if the people Riders look up to are excited about going to pelo and yoga and races, then they are too.

Knowing the rules
All captains are asked to read the NICA RuleBook so that they can help coaches and ride leaders with the task of keeping the whole team working within the specified league rules. This is important for training rides and races; for example, a Rider who accepts mechanical assistance during a race can accrue a costly point penalty, and a Rider who rides illegal trails can be disqualified from racing.

Race reports
All Riders are encouraged to write race reports for each race that they participate in, so Captains are strongly encouraged to set a good example for the rest of the team. Race reports help new riders understand every aspect of the racing experience – training, nutrition, strategy, competitors, and nervousness. They are also fantastic tools for self-reflection for the writer of the report, and give parents and family a perspective on the racing experience that pictures or on-site viewing cannot provide.

Ride leaders
Training rides give new riders ways to get to know their own physical limits in what are often new and difficult surroundings. By having experienced and WFA+CPR certified student riders with every training ride, the coaches and ride leaders gain crucial depth for on-the-spot training, coaching, injury triage, and mechanical assistance.

WFA and CPR certified
Captains are strongly encouraged to take the time to be certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR training, so that they can set an example for other riders to be self-sufficient, helpful and safe trail riders, whether on a team ride or on a mid-summer out-of-state vacation. There are opportunities in the fall and summer (off-season) for anyone affiliated with the Drake team to get trained in WFA and CPR; contact DrakeMTBCoaches@gmail.com for dates.

Organize one team event per year
One of the most difficult aspects of building team cohesiveness is finding time outside of team practices to get together and just be kids. Each captain makes an effort to schedule and organize one event that is outside of team practices to build togetherness, whether it be a Superbowl picnic, post-ride barbecue, or a movie night. Parental supervision is mandatory, but the captains schedule and run the events, and can request team budget funding as needed.

Captains and #DrakeMTBGirls
Getting more girls on the Drake team is a mission-critical initiative for many reasons. Mountain biking is a gender-neutral activity, but the sport is still heavily skewed towards male. When the composition of the team reflects the general demographics of Drake High School, then we can consider #DrakeMTBGirls a success, and shorten the hashtag to #DrakeMTB. Until then, all of the captains have a responsibility to recruit, retain, and promote girls on the team so that girls see it as an activity that they own, vs one that is “boys only”. Activities include appropriate social media postings (see example below), organizing rides with younger female riders, having girls-only rides at least once a month (in lieu of a regular Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday team ride), and having at least one girls-only Drake MTB social event.

Social Media example

And finally, it is always good to check in with Title IX: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Social media and #DrakeMTB

DrakeMTB is a powerful voice in the local social community and the global mountain biking community, and each captain shares responsibility to expand this voice. Trail access is a critical local issue and projecting the positive aspects of mountain bike racing to those in our surrounding area is an important long-term goal for future #DrakeMTB riders. There is a reason Howdy is so prominently displayed on our team kit. DrakeMTB exists because of the the NICA and Norcal mission of “strong body, mind and character through the sport of cycling”, and Drake captains all share some responsibility for promoting these values in the greater social media community.

Pre-race talks
Each team captain can volunteer for pre-race talks to get the other riders ready to race. While adults can give guidance and suggestions for racing, over the years we have found that peers speaking about the pressures and strategy of racing can be more effective, though a rousing Roll Pirates! cheer is something that we encourage everyone in the Pit Zone to participate in.