Spoke Talk: The next generation
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
My 9-year-old did her first Town Challenge bike race. I am so excited — I have been waiting for her to choose this.
Recently, we went for a ride and saw the course marking arrows, and she said “I want to do the race!”
I try not to push too hard, to recognize that my passions may not be her passions.
As a mountain biking mom and a coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, I spend a lot of time bringing up the next generation of cyclists. My goal is not just to create the next generation of bike racers. Beyond racing, cycling has so much to offer. It is something that can enrich your entire life. Starting at a young age can teach kids so much more than how to pedal a bike.
Heading out on my bike immerses me in nature. It gives me an appreciation for the natural beauty of this area and inspires me to be a good ambassador of the land. It works my body and keeps me healthy. It releases the stress in my brain — and sometimes pushes me further mentally than I thought I could go. It offers an opportunity to play with my friends. It is my happy place.
I want to give the next generation of cyclists the tools to have this same kind of experience. First and foremost, I want them to have fun, making biking a happy place for them. Beyond the fun, I hope that sharing my love of the great outdoors will inspire them to help take care of our local ecosystem and the planet in general.
I am teaching them to physically work hard, to be fit and healthy. A habit of exercise can make a huge impact throughout a lifetime. When a trail or situation gets difficult, I am encouraging mental toughness, hopefully creating grit, which is a characteristic associated with success in all facets of life. I am helping them improve their hand-eye coordination, which will help in any sport they choose to pursue. I am teaching them to obey the rules of the trail and respect other trail users.
Biking for me is a lifestyle. Hopefully, as a mom — and a coach — I can help my kids find their happy place, be it on or off the bike.
Jessica Lobeck is a board member for Routt County Riders and coaches for Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
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