Something happens when a family trains together, when a family spends its free time actually learning together, teaching one another, sharing lessons, experiences, ah-ha moments, when a family invests in being a family.
As a family, we spend a lot of time together biking… hours, and I mean hours and hours. It started a few years ago, Aimee and I would take the kids out on family rides. Usually one of the kids was tailing far off behind either not wanting to, or feeling that they just couldn’t go for another ride. Our long family rides started out to Spencer Smith Park (approx. 8km one way), then our family rides went to the lift bridge (11km), and eventually all the way to the end of the beach path in Confederation Park or as we call them our rides “to the fence and back” (40km round trip). These family trips started a number of years back, and at first some of the rides were quite long, especially for Serena. So long in fact that we would bring a rope so that we could tugboat her back into harbour when the little engine had enough. Over the years, these rides have grown from being once a week events to daily training rides.
Now because our speeds are starting to differentiate, the ladies tend to ride together and the men go on their own rides, but as a family we still head out together, especially when its off-road. When we introduced off-roading to the kids… lets just say we didn’t think we would ever be leaving Kelso Conservation Area. The kids enjoyed the new challenge so much that road riding became yesterdays news. No problem, we figured out how to get our long training rides in… if the kids wanted to ride @Kelso, then we would have to bike to Kelso in order to ride at Kelso.
No different than the first rides to Spencers, or the lift bridge, or the fence and back… the first ride to Kelso became a success just because we all made it to Kelso (approx. 30k one way). Those rides grew as the kids then wanted to spend more and more time in Kelso, and after realizing that they could make it to the Conservation Area and back home, not only did their confidence grow and grow, so did their skills and their enjoyment of the simple pleasure of riding.
In fact, Aimee and I had business to attend to one weekend and being unable to do our family ride together, the kids decided that they would do the family ride on their own anyhow. The two of them headed out and rode 40km on their own… because… because its what we do.
Last year, we added a new dimension to our family time… we created an Annual Event: the Labour Day weekend Epic Family ride. Building the ride around an amazing bakery in Vineland which would become our pitstop, we headed out to De la Terre Bakery for their awesome scones, date squares, strudels, and fudge brownie bars. The family put in an epic 120km ride on mountain bikes (which still amazes the crew @Brant Cycle).
This year… not sure, but Labour Day weekend is upon us so we will come up with something.
Remember though that the opportunity to create epic family adventures started… 6-7 years ago, back when the kids were small and family rides were not always so ‘fun’. Some were filled with more ‘are we there yet’, ‘can we be done’ and ‘I wanna go home’ than any of us want to recall. It took patience and a lot of coaching on our end as parents, but I don’t think you have to ask us if it was worth it.
Now, as a family we not only do epic training rides, we compete as a family and this year the results of competing as a family at the Kelso Conservation Area Mountain Bike (MTB) Race Series was totally EPIC! All four of us stood on the podium. Wow! What a blessing. Praise God.
Next… the Kelso Cyclocross Race Series. Aimee is signed up for the series, and the kids will join in a few races now that school is starting back up. I will likely be support crew, but will definitely jump into at a couple of races myself. With Erik Box creating what he calls “the most challenging Cyclocross course in North America” (this coming from the 2015 Ontario Cyclocross Champ & an UCI level athlete)… one surely cannot miss out on such an opportunity.
Next year in the Kelso MTB series we will be moving up categories. Will we podium? I don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter.
The point is that we will be doing it together, as a family.
The Kelso MTB race series ends with a season finale, an evening filled with fun… a skills competition, a BBQ, an awards ceremony, and a raffle where title sponsor Devinci bikes gave away 4 bikes and a $2,000 prize to build a dream bike.
Believe me when I say, a good time was had by all!
Hope to see you next year @Kelso.