Thursday, May 15, 2014

What Mountain Biking has done for my family!


Since my good friend and teammate Jeff was honest in one of his previous blogs about getting burnt out on the bike and contemplating taking a break from the cycling scene I feel that it is time for me to be honest as well.  Mid-way through the summer of 2013 I also started to get burnt out on riding my road bike.  I was going into races with the attitude of not really caring a whole lot about my results and that has never been me in the past.  I have always been a goal-oriented person and felt like I was doing an in-justice to myself and the team.  On top of that I was feeling guilty about driving to a race every weekend either without my family or dragging my family to a road race only to let them watch me start the race and finish the race while in between that time letting them sit in a car bored for multiple hours.  I myself was also thinking about taking a break away from the cycling scene in 2014 and focusing on my family, becoming a better husband and father. 

(Family camping trip to Scioto Trail SP)
 
As the summer of 2013 rolled into fall I was finding myself doing a lot of mountain biking thanks to my good friend JR lending me a bike to ride.  I did a few mountain bike races and really enjoyed them.  For the past couple years I have always listened to my teammates Jerry, Jeff, JR and Shawn tell me how much fun cross was so I decided to give that a shot on my steel framed single speed.  Between mountain biking, cyclocross and gravel road rides I was starting to get my mojo back for cycling.  Just not road riding & racing.  However, what about my family? 

(Enjoying to hilltop overlook)
 
Well, Arryn and Addie seemed to like going to the mountain bike and cross races with me much more because it is usually multiple laps where they could see me go by and it was usually in a park or scenic area that offered them much more things to do then what they would find at a road race.  I had also purchased a mountain bike for my Addie girl at Pathfinder and she was really enjoying the kids’ races at the ABRA mountain bike and cyclocross races.  Now fast-forward to winter of 2013.  Since I was getting into mountain biking I decided to make a trip up to Ray’s indoor mountain bike park with my buddy Jeff and to my surprise Arryn and Addie wanted to go as well.  The night before we were to head up to the indoor mountain bike park Arryn says to me; “I think I would like to rent a bike to ride tomorrow.”  I said, “Really?” and inside I was grinning from ear-to-ear. 

(Arryn's 2013 Raleigh Eva 29 Comp)
 
After a few trips up to the indoor mountain bike park and after I purchased a mountain bike for myself at Pathfinder Arryn says to me; “I think I would like to get a mountain bike.”  I had always been blessed in the past with her just supporting my hobby of cycling, but now she actually wanted to give it a try herself via mountain biking.  It has not been very long since Arryn got her new bike and she is already telling me that she would like to try a mountain bike race and some ABRA CX races this year.  This is still TBD, however, I am just happy that she is experiencing some of the same joy that I find in riding a bike and getting the health benefits that cycling offers as well. 

(OMBC Scioto Trail race)
 
However, the most important thing by far that mountain biking as done for me was bringing my family closer together.  Since purchasing mountain bikes for all three of us; Arryn, Addie & myself, we have been going to parks together as a family much more, going on camping trips to do some riding and racing, and even enjoying Sunday funday family towpath rides.  We have a park not too far from our house that offers a 3 mile mountain bike loop, miles of hiking trails, a playground, a lake, and an ice cream stand.  We have been spending a lot of time at this park seeing the beautiful nature that God has blessed us with and becoming closer as a family!

Thanks for reading and God bless,

Billy