Last year we teamed up with like minded friends and started an informal club for young mountain bikers. We call this group weBEAST (I’m a sucker for a good acronym – Biking Experiences And Skills on Trails). The goals were simple: get out and bike with kids, and begin to create some local legitimacy for mountain biking as a youth sport.
This past Thursday I was lucky enough to ride along for a nice 5 miler down the Dam Road Trail (yes, the kids relish the opportunity to say this over and over and over) to Rocky Extension, up Dalton Road, down Wounded Knee, up Issaqueena Road to Indian Springs, and finishing with Hardwood back to the horseshoe parking area where we had started from. This trip always includes a long break for play at Willow Springs. All kids riding have a parent or mentor adult riding along. It has been a while since the last time I rode with this group, and though Drake has describes several times how much they have improved I was still blown away by their level of skill. These kids (and parents!) are killing it out there.
The last time I rode up Dalton Road to Wounded Knee with these kiddos there were tears, y’all. It’s a long steady uphill and it can be discouraging! Not this time, though. Everyone made it to the top pretty quickly, and when they needed to step off and walk they did so with confidence. Everyone waited until the whole group could start the downhill, cause that’s what friends do.
I’m amazed we are getting out for weekly rides in January. Looking around the other day, I could barely recognize in these kids the riders they were a year ago.