Mountain bikers often find themselves riding trails of all sorts.
So, it’s fitting that one would, eventually, blaze a trail of their own.
Cade Estes, a senior homeschooled student, on Monday began his trailblazing by becoming the first homeschooler from western Kentucky to earn an athletic scholarship – joining the cycling team at Lindsey Wilson College.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Estes, following a brief ceremony in the showroom at BikeWorld in Paducah. “(For) the Paducah/McCracken composite team, if you just live in McCracken County area, you can be on the team. So, homeschoolers, private schoolers (or) kids that go to (Paducah) Tilghman or McCracken can be on the team. The team will be coming up on (its) fourth year. I raced for three years and there are a lot of opportunities out there. I always tell kids if you’re going to try something different, or have never really enjoyed regular sports, then give mountain biking a shot. It’s a really cool sport.”
After going on a ride with his youth pastor, Estes found himself bitten. First, perhaps by some mosquitos, but then by a more important bug – the one for his sport.
“Then, I heard about this team that was getting started that was through BikeWorld,” Estes said. “Chad Cash, he started the team. I just kind of showed up, rode with the team and I was like, ‘Man, this seems really cool.’
“After that, it kind of progressed. We did four races a year and it went on from there. I’ve really fallen in love with it.”
While homeschooling possesses different rigors than those of traditional schools, there also exists a level of flexibility in scheduling that lent itself to training, Estes said.
“Because of the team, I was able to have a lot of spare time,” he said. “You can kind of train on your own time. I dual-enrolled at the community college (West Kentucky Community College) and I worked at a videography business at that time, so it helped me balance it. It was really helpful.”
Estes said he plans to major in business, with a minor in graphic design in the hopes of continuing in videography.