Friday, December 4, 2009

A Little Bit of Everything

Last night, Lunchbox and I attended the Tarheel Trailblazers regular monthly meeting. We gathered at Fuel Pizza to discuss all things mountain biking, and of course all of the up to date information regarding the club. It’s more like a social gathering with a little mountain biking talk mixed it. We discussed new trail happenings as well as events and trail work opportunities. It’s nice to get together with these guys every month. The funny thing is, out of over 400 members, we only get about 40 or so at these meetings. I guess most of the club members aren’t meeting types. That fine, since we are a mountain biking club, after all. We do most of our stuff on the trail.

In other news, this week seems to have gone by way too fast. In all the confusion, I neglected to post up anything about the Tarheel Trailblazers Kids Ride that occurred last Sunday. The ride was held at Colonel Francis Beatty Park, on what couldn’t have been a nicer day. The turnout was a little low though, most likely because of the long holiday weekend from Turkey Day. No worries though, since we’ll hold the ride even if it’s just Lunchbox and I. For this ride, I was in my official capacity as a Bike Patroller, which is always a pleasure.

Group shot.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, we stop at all the trail features to help the little ones (and adults as needed) attempt to try things in the safest environment possible. Even with such a small group this time, we still had plenty of opportunities to help.

This may not look like much of a climb, but it’s a little intimidating to the younger ones.

I just stood by to watch Lunchbox show us how it’s done.

Sometimes they just need a little push.

No one was there to help the lonely Bike Patroller.

We always stop at what the locals call “Gravity Cavity” to let the kids play around. You drop into a pit and then ride out of the other side, sometimes catching a little air in the process. We didn’t have our usual bunch of daredevils this time, so Lunchbox posed for a photo opportunity.

This photo’s gonna cost you!

The next obstacle is a nice little log skinny, which the kids are a little hesitant to try. This time though, we didn’t have as many takers (including adults.) Lunchbox again gives us a demonstration.

No spotter required.

The small yet challenging rock garden was next on the agenda, with Lunchbox leading the way. He sets a great example for the younger kids. I think that they like to see another kid try these obstacles, as it helps with their confidence. Lunchbox is still a kid you know, albeit a big one.

I think he really likes this one.

Sometimes they need a little extra help to get through it.

The last obstacle is cleared successfully.

We love providing a safe and fun environment for these kids, and that’s why I am happy to help put on these rides. The kids get a lot of encouragement to try things they wouldn’t normally do, and in the end that will make them better mountain bikers. I feel that the higher the skill level, the more fun can be had, as well as the added bonus of more confidence. It sure beats sitting on the couch playing video games on such a lovely day. Sometimes the kids get so excited that it gets their parents more involved. Since we have such a problem with obesity in this country, it’s nice to see whole families out doing something to help prevent that. Their lives are better for it.

We typically end each ride with treats and drinks for the kids (and adults if they are so inclined.) I know they enjoy this part of the day, but I have a feeling that that’s not the only reason they come out. These kids are the future of our sport, and the future is looking bright. Whether they end up racing, or just riding for fun, it’s all worth it. I hope to be doing this long enough to see multiple generations fall in love with mountain biking as I have. Thanks to all who come out and ride with us!

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