Joe Gerbrick reflects on the 2017 Leaders’ Summit and starting the Adams County Composite team this year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself…what’s your bicycling history & what motivated you to become a PICL Coach and start a team?
The value of physical fitness was instilled in me during 20 years in the U.S. Air Force. I was a runner because that was how we got tested. After I retired from the Air Force in 1991, I went back to work at Sheppard AFB in Wichita Falls, TX as a training instructor. Wichita Falls is the home of one of the biggest organized bike rides in the country, the Hotter N’ Hell Hundred in August each year. In 1992 I wanted to do the Hotter N’ Hell Hundred just to say I did. I purchased an old road bike for $100 in January 1992, learned how to maintain the bike, and trained until August. I completed my first Hotter N’ Hell Hundred in 1992, and have been an avid cyclist ever since. Then I got a mountain bike and joined the Wichita Mountains Bike Club in Lawton, OK. They were the organizers of the 12 Miles of Hell mountain bike race, so guess what…I had to do that. After they took me under their wing and trained me, I began mountain bike racing in the Texas-Oklahoma NORBA series. Fast forward 20+ years and here I am. When I saw the opportunity to share my experience with the kids in Adams County, I had to try it.
What were you expecting from the Leaders Summit?
My mission at the Leaders’ Summit was to find out what this interscholastic cycling program was all about, and if the program was an initiative I wanted to pursue as a coach. I was willing to make the minimal investment to get the information I needed to make an educated decision. If I determined to commit to the program, I wanted to be on the fast track for coaching credentials. The trip provided a significant return on my investment.
What was most impactful about the Leaders Summit? What are some of the most beneficial take-aways?
I was impressed by the commitment and willingness of the participants to share their knowledge and experience. The professionalism and helpfulness of the PICL staff put me at ease regarding the program quality. My most significant take-away was in the polite, helpful demeanor of everyone in attendance. I met some great folks who were willing to mentor me at in the local area. I also found out how rusty I was on the trails after being off the mountain bike for 15 years, but the support was amazing. My 1998 Cannondale CAD3 needs an upgrade.
How did you learn from other coaches there? Are there any bits of advice that stood out?
It is difficult to provide advice to other coaches because of the differences in geographical areas. I learned by listening to the experiences of others. The best advice I heard over and over was the “you build it and they will come” philosophy. It has to be about the student athletes!
What did you learn from the on-the-bike skills clinic? How will that help you with your team?
The bike skills clinic was, arguably, the most valuable segment of the summit. I not only became aware of the fundamental skills we need to teach, but also got exposed to the kind of great instruction every team requires.
Now that pre-season has begun, what steps are you taking to structure your team and garner support? What organizations are you connecting with in your community?
I learned from the PICL staff that the scope of the geographic area for a composite team must be narrowed and specific. I have empowered the folks currently interested to conduct outreach in their community and schools. The Gettysburg Bicycle and Fitness shop is an amazing supporter of the program, and I consider Jes and his shop to be the hub of all things cycling in the community. However, it would be easy to overwhelm a bike shop and disrupt operations without alternative facilities. I reached out to the Gettysburg Area Recreation Authority (GARA) for facility support in our scheduled registration event on May 6. I believe GARA will also be a valuable resource for practice area. I am scheduled to meet with the Healthy Adams Bicycle/Pedestrian Inc. (HABPI) group to provide awareness and outreach.
What are you most excited about getting this team rolling this year?
Right now I am most excited about the potential turn-out at the scheduled registration event. That will provide the kind of insight needed to decide the next steps.
Learn more about the Adams County Composite team on their Facebook Page.