No Mountains, No Problem for the PPCHS Mountain Biking Team

Lindsey Smith, Arts & Entertainment Editor

  Of all the mountain bikers in the biking community, junior Derek Mehlig is a real natural. Practically a bike mechanic, he manages to fix bottom brackets, tighten pivot bolts, and can whip out a solution for just about any situation. He sports a 29er, a hardtail bike and maneuvers through trees, glides over roots, and braves the steep inclines of the Markham Park Mountain bike trails. It’s difficult and requires practice, yet through rigorous training three times a week, it is evident that the Pembroke Pines Charter High School mountain biking team is ready for the 6 races they will endure this season.


What interested you about mountain biking?

“I have always been biking since I was little, I always went into trails with my dad, and COVID brought up an opportunity when I saw an email about joining the mountain biking team [my freshman year].”


What do you enjoy most about mountain biking?

“Probably the people because they are all a lot of fun. [I also enjoy] riding the trails as fast as [I] can.”


How long have you been racing for? Have you encountered any challenges along the way?

“When I first joined in freshman year, I had no clue anything about mountain biking so it was very intimidating, but once I learned it, rode a little, I really liked it and enjoyed it a lot, and I decided to start racing from then, so I have been racing for three years now.”


What was so intimidating about mountain biking?

“Probably just riding in general. You know how to ride a bike when you’re small, like through the neighborhood, but you don’t know how to ride going down hill, on jumps, or roots, so it’s just a different experience.”


What famous mountain bikers do you look up to? Why do you look up to these people?

“I look up to mountain bikers like Rémy Méittaler, Fabio Wibmer, and Matt Jones. When I first started mountain biking, they were my inspiration to be better than myself and what I was, so it inspired me to learn new, I guess new tricks, and a new riding style.”


Do you find that watching mountain biking videos helps improve your own riding?

“I do watch a lot of mountain biking videos. By watching, I am able to visually learn what to incorporate in my own riding.”


What advice do you have for anyone who is a bit scared of biking?

“Just keep trying and trying. Practice makes perfect.”


If you could describe mountain biking in three words, what would they be?

“Three words I can use to  describe it would be fun, exciting, and crazy!”