ShareThis Page

Southmoreland grad Hummel looks to defend national mountain biking title

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Mike Hummel stands center stage on the podium wearing the the American flag shirt he recieved for his big win, with son Garrett in front of him sporting dad's medal in July 2012.

Mike Hummel has been involved in cycling dating back to his days as a student at Southmoreland High School.

The 1993 graduate of Southmoreland has progressed in the sport to a point where he can be called a national champion.

Hummel, who now lives in West Newton, is the 2012 USA Cycling Downhill National Champion on the mountain bike in the Men's 35-39 division.

“It felt amazing,” Hummel said of the championship. “It's unexplainable.”

He earned the title in July with a time of 2:43.7 competing in the U.S. Downhill Championships at Beech Mountain, N.C.

“It's a timed run,” Hummel said of the race. “(There's) a course that comes down slopes, into woods and rock gardens with turns and jumps.”

Hummel outlasted some 15 guys in his division. The key for him is staying focused on the task at hand.

“Just focusing on what's 20 feet ahead of me,” Hummel explained. “More or less being able to control your breathing. There's a lot of adrenaline flowing through your body. You have to really be focused, have a clear head.”Something else he thinks about is “making it down in one piece.” Fortunately, he has not suffered any major injuries while racing.

“Just some regular bumps and bruises, nothing major. Thank God,” Hummel said.

Hummel first became involved in riding more than 25 years ago through a friend. In that time, Hummel has participated in cycling, BMX and downhill mountain bike racing.

“We used to race downhill mountain bikes,” Hummel recalled. “He got me involved in the Gravity Racing scene.”

Hummel, 37, entered his first BMX race in 1989. In addition to winning the downhill in 2012, other wins included the Capital Cup race at the Wisp Resort in Maryland and placing third overall in the 2012 Gravity East Series.

Hummel has a 4-year-old son named Garret, who is the National Bicycle League USA BMX National Champion. His 2-year-old son Ty will start racing this year. Their father built his own track for his boys to train.

Among the training regimen are learning to ride bikes without pedals that sport handlebars and a seat to work on balance.

“We learn to ride without training wheels at the age of 3,” Hummel said.

Hummel and his wife, Ashley, travel to many destinations for BMX races and downhill mountain bike races with their three children (they also have a daughter Alyssa, 16). Among the locations they will be traveling to this year are Ohio, New York and Maryland.

Hummel has been training to maintain the National Champion Title for 2013. He will defend it Aug. 3-4 in New Mexico. Other championships for which Hummel is training is the Gravity East Series at Seven Springs resort at a date to be determined and the USA BMX in Tulsa Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

Hummel recalls his time living in Scottdale and attending Southmoreland with fondness. He was involved with student council and held the position of class president for three years. Hummel also participated in track and cross country while at Southmoreland High School.

“I had a lot of good times in high school, a lot of fun,” Hummel said.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.