Training with Bear Development Team over MLK weekend has been a highlight for the past three seasons. It's great to be able to give back to the MTB community and share my experiences with these awesome teenage athletes. We spent the weekend training in super wet weather, but despite the rain, wind mud and cold fingers, they just kept charging. It was cool to see, and be around such passion for the sport. It's such a powerful reminder for me of why I got into riding and racing when I was their age. The resources and support they have is incredible, really a lucky bunch of kids, and I think that most of them recognize it. Julia Violich does such an excellent job finding the riders who are good ambassadors, students, young people, and riders. They give me a heck of a lot of hope for the future of the sport!
I rarely had the opportunity to spend much time with elite riders growing up, but I know how much it meant when I was able to ride with them. It wasn't until my own World Championship experience as a Junior (2007) that I was able to make any kind of fledgling connections with riders like Adam Craig and JHK, but man that was inspiring! Having those guys be so approachable when I was 18 was huge for me, and I love being able to have the opportunity to be that rider for some of these young guns too. I may never know how much of an impact I make, if any, but knowing that I've put myself out there as a resource gives me a lot of personal satisfaction. I've tried to make a positive impact. That's what we all want for our legacy right?
So here's to the future of the sport! I think that it's bright!