“It turned into something incredible!”

Last week, Norte wrapped up another stupendous season of Mountain Bike Team. We rolled out with 283 riders across 14 locations, and we had 83 coaches — 37 lead coaches and 46 assistants. Many of our coaches were returning, but others were coaching for the first time. Today we sit down with one coach who had her own learning experience while coaching.

Gina Render is a rider who loves to ride fast and ride far — she’s planning to roll in a 220-mile race later this summer. This spring, in her second season coaching, Gina shared her knowledge and enthusiasm for mountain biking with a group of young women at the Bartlett Trailhead. We sat down with her to talk about her experiences coaching with Norte.

Norte: How’d you end up coaching with Norte?  

Gina: I signed up my son for Norte at the Bartlett Trailhead and then would go for a ride while he rode with his team. He rides with Coach Wes and has the best time. Wes noticed that I rode at the same time and asked if I’d be interested in coaching. So I said, ‘Sure!’ Last fall was my first year, and I had a group of little rippers. They wanted to charge really hard from day one. It was a riot.

N: How was this season different?  

G: The coolest thing happened. The season started with this group of really timid girls. They were crying. They were younger. They were doing it because maybe their older brothers were doing it or their parents liked to ride. They didn’t want to be there. I was concerned. ‘How is this going to work?’ I wondered.

A lot of them were on bikes that were too small. What was really cool was that Norte had all these extra bikes. We got them all the correct sizes, and that was a game-changer. And then we worked on technique and getting them comfortable, so I could take them out further and ride the hills. Soon, they got very comfortable on their bikes — very strong. At the start, I wondered what I was in for, but in the end, it turned into something incredible. It turned into a group of girls that had so much fun together and loved riding.

N: What’s it like coaching a team of mostly girls? 

G: It can be intimidating when you’re trying to join in with a group of guys — at least it was for me. It’s fun for them to see other girls out there doing it. This season was a big learning experience for me. Seeing them come out of their shells and gain confidence was neat. We hit a couple of big hills out there. I remember once looking behind and seeing them all sit at the top. I climbed back up, and we came down together. They learned that they could still control their speed and crushed it. Seeing them build that kind of confidence and strength to do those things was cool. It was neat to be part of that. They were very silly and fun. And they worked hard for Starbursts.

Norte’s More Girls on Bikes initiative ramps up this summer with four clinics. Two are for young women in grades 6–8, one is for adults, and the final clinic is for all ages. Registration opens this Sunday, July 19, at 6 pm. More Girls on Bikes is sponsored by Frontier Computer Corp

Learn More ➡️ More Girls on Bikes.


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