by Carrie and Todd Lundell
It was seven years ago when we found ourselves toeing the line for our first mountain bike race. We can’t recall exactly how we learned about Over the Hump—then just a fledging little race series with big ambitions—but there we were on the starting line. Although we were both fairly avid mountain bikers at the time, we had never considered racing. We’re busy, working parents with four kids (well, back then it was only three), not uber-fit athletes with ninja-like bike skills. Racing wouldn’t be fun or family-friendly, right? Uh, wrong.
We have no idea how we finished in that first race; pretty sure we were both close to last. What we do know is that we have rarely missed a race since. For us, Over the Hump is a summer ritual. And with the introduction of the weekly kids classes (sponsored by Linked Cyclery) in 2011, it’s now a can’t miss event for the entire family.
We think anyone who rides bikes should join us, particularly if you have kids! So here is a list of reasons you and your kids should come out to the races, or as we are calling this post: 5 ways Over the Hump can help you win at parenting.
Let’s not sugar coat this, racing mountain bikes is hard. It’s fun, but it’s also really, really hard. And that’s a perfect combination. Racing bikes has taught our kids that they can do hard things and get really good at them. We’ve watched our kids go from barely being able to get around the course, to winning ribbons (top 1/3 get ribbons) and even podiums! I love seeing the determination on their faces as they reach a little bit higher and go a little bit faster than they thought they could.
Because racing a mountain bike is hard, there are going to be days when things don’t totally go your way. I’ve watched my kids crash, break their bike, and just have bad days. I’ve seen the disappointment on their faces when the race didn’t play out quite as well as they dreamed it the night before. And I’ve watched them pick themselves up and try that much harder next time. Learning important life lessons has never been so much fun.
The start line. My kids can’t stop fretting about the start line. Standing there with 80 other kids waiting for that horn to sound is nerve racking. My kids are nervous each and every week. But each and every week they and dozens of other nervous kids saddle up anyway, conquer their fears, and have a great time. It’s awesome. There’s no other way to describe it.
. . . and for meeting boys . . . and for just meeting awesome new friends. The racing is competitive, but the atmosphere before, after, and even during the race is friendly and fun. We’ve met great people who have helped our kids enjoy mountain biking even more. Because everything is more fun with friends.
The only thing better than the simple pleasure of riding your bike is riding your bike with the whole family. We’ll never be the fastest riders on the course. Not even close. But whether racing or cheering each other on from the sideline, we’re definitely having the most fun. (And thanks to Sparkle Athletic, we’re also the most stylish.)