New Trippe’s employee enjoys road, mountain bike racing

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2010

NATCHEZ — Scott Kuppersmith moved to Natchez from Mobile, Ala., several months before oil from the Deepwater Horizon explosion washed up on Mobile’s shore.

Although the move was unrelated to the slick washing ashore, Kuppersmith said it ended up being highly convenient.

“It was kind of good timing. I had a bike shop there, and there’s nobody on the beach right now,” Kuppersmith said.

Kuppersmith has taken over at the bicycle shop at Trippe’s Western Auto, and store manager Christ Trippe said he’s already seen a difference in the Natchez Bicycle Club since he joined.

“We’re excited to have Scott here, and the quality of our club rides has definitely gone up. He’s been turning the heat up a bit,” Trippe said.

Kuppersmith, a Category 1 racer, is a member of the Herring Gas Cycling Team — a membership that wasn’t easy to come by, he said.

“I’ve been racing with them since 2006. When I started racing in 2004, they were the team to beat. I achieved the highest level, but didn’t have a team of my own, so I made it a point to beat them and get their attention,” Kuppersmith said.

“I was getting good results and putting myself out there, and it took half a season to get in touch with them.”

When he did, though, the biggest challenge was proving that he fit in as a person even more so than a racer.

“Frank Moat, our captain, lives in Brookhaven, and I was finally able to sit down with him after a few emails and race results. He always goes by every member and asks them before letting a new member in,” Kuppersmith said.

“It’s a really close-knit group. The have good riders, but they also have good people. There’s only nine guys, so you have to fit the profile.”

Kuppersmith didn’t start out as a road racer in cycling. That evolved from trying to improve himself as a mountain biker, he said.

“I was in the Air Force, and after I got out, I moved back home to Mobile in 2003. I started mountain biking, because a friend of mine had a mountain bike and took me out to the trails,” Kuppersmith said.

“Mountain bike races are shorter in distance, and I wanted to get faster. My friend said the way to do that was to get a road bike and build up endurance. It’s hard to ride a mountain bike for three to four hours, so you get more endurance from road biking. That’s the theory, anyway.”

And from doing both, Kuppersmith said he’s noticed a big difference between mountain and road biking.

“Mountain biking is much more individualized. It’s not as team-oriented. If you lose, it’s because you weren’t good enough, or you crashed,” he said.

In July, Kuppersmith will head to the Gramby Ranch in Colorado for the Pro National Mountain Bike Championships. For now, he’s enjoying the riding opportunities around the area.

“The terrain here’s great. You can ride your bike anywhere. It’s great for road biking, and the mountain bike trail at Clear Springs is awesome,” Kuppersmith said.