Being a coach has been something I’d done in the past for my daughter. Volleyball - I’m all over that. Track and field - I’m all over that. Road cycling - I could probably do that in my sleep. But mountain biking, OMG! That’s something that was out of my league. But, I wanted desperately to be part of my son’s athletic journey during his middle school years, like I was for my daughter. So, I strapped on my big girl ‘clothing’ and got to work. I road behind the team my son’s 6th grade year and enjoyed encouraging the kids at the back of the pack. The following year I was asked to be a coach for the middle school. I learned so much and once again, really enjoyed encouraging the kids. Big take-aways / things I treasured from last year: 1. Seeing several of our riders actually smile during bike races - when leading up to the season was fraught with occasional fear, fatigue and uncertainty. 2. Seeing young girls ride their hearts out and empower themselves. 3. Seeing kids goof off without their cell phones, tell stories around the campfire, hang out in the hammocks (pun intended), have quality time with their parents and watch movies Saturday night at the campsite. 4. Seeing these wonderful adults donate their time more than I could ever do - and most of them work full time too. It is truly a humbling and heartwarming thing - to be a part of this organization. This year I will do something I have been wanting to do for a long time, and that is to teach core stability to young kids. Maybe if they learn good ‘core’ habits, they won’t have as many problems as adults - - or at least, have as many problems during the racing season.