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Maggie and Betsy Barr at mountain bike race

Plattsmouth freshmen Maggie and Betsy Barr smile with their medals at the Dakota Five-O mountain biking race in Spearfish, S.D. The sisters are taking part in the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling Series this fall.

PLATTSMOUTH – Maggie and Betsy Barr have enjoyed the scenic views of mountains and the thrill of athletic competition for many years.

They have combined those loves into a sport that offers the best of both worlds.

The sisters are representing Plattsmouth in this fall’s Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling Series. This year’s schedule began Sept. 8 with a race in Omaha and included September events in both Papillion and Bellevue. The series will continue Oct. 13 at Branched Oak State Recreation Area near Malcolm and will conclude Nov. 3 at Camp Calvin Crest near Fremont.

Plattsmouth resident Steve Barr is coaching a local mountain biking team that includes students from several schools. He said he has seen many teenagers benefit from their involvement with the activity.

“It’s a great addition for kids that might not be participating in traditional sports,” Barr said. “Sports like cycling are growing in participation by high school students around the United States.”

Omaha teachers and brothers Ryan and Nathan Moseley began the Nebraska Interscholastic Cycling Series (NICS) four years ago to promote the sport in the metro area. Millard West, Omaha Westside, Papillion-La Vista, Omaha North, Omaha Central, Ralston and Seward have since established mountain biking teams within their school districts.

Plattsmouth athletes have been practicing at Swanson Park in Bellevue every Monday from 4:30 p.m. to dusk. Barr said all students are welcome to join the team. He said those who are interested may contact him at steve.robert.barr@gmail.com to learn more information.

All NICS racers are required to wear helmets and must use mountain bikes that have hand brakes. They ride bicycles that include flat handlebars, multiple gears and wide tires.

Maggie and Betsy Barr have competed in several NICS races this fall and have ventured to additional events across the Midwest. The Plattsmouth freshmen recently took part in the Dakota Five-O race in Spearfish, S.D. They joined more than 650 athletes who completed the 48-mile course. The Black Hills route featured a minimum elevation of 3,269 feet above sea level and a maximum elevation of 6,128 feet.

Maggie Barr finished sixth in the 14-and-under division in a time of 9 hours, 5 minutes, 19 seconds. Betsy Barr claimed seventh place in the race in 9:05:23. Both averaged 10:54 per mile on the hilly course.

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