It all started as a possibility – that I might be selected as a coach to go on a three day Hut Trip with The Cycle Effect! I got invited to join the Hut Trip and was really happy! The idea of sharing a couple of days doing what we love, riding bikes in nature with some of the girls, coaching not only mountain biking but life lessons through our experiences and challenges, and meeting the other teams and coming together as a big family was really exciting.

The planning and the selecting began and I spoke with all of the Spanish speaking parents to explain a little more about what the trip was all about and got some girls to come! I did some research and planned extra activities just in case the weather wasn’t in our favor for riding. I packed all my gear and was anxiously awaiting for the trip to begin!

On the 1st day, we met in Summit County with 12 girls and 4 coaches. The team was very helpful at gathering everything, packing the vans and checking the trailer for their gear. We were all set and off we went! The team was chatting about their expectations, pre-selecting sleeping teams, calling out who was going to sleep in a tent and who wanted to sleep in the hut. Playing music, singing and enjoying!

We got to the trailhead and we were all full of adrenaline and thrilled to get on our bikes. We got the bikes together and grabbed a snack in the parking lot while girls on the team from Eagle County Teams were slowly arriving. It is crazy to me that just by being part of The Cycle Effect, I have instantaneous best friends. I met these ladies just 5 minutes ago and am already feeling like I’ve known them for years. We jumped on the trail, biked towards the huts and regrouped a little so we could gather our gear and start setting up camp for the next few days. Here we played a game and started introducing ourselves so we could learn everyone’s name. Then we started making trips to shuttle all our group gear and food to the huts! This to my surprise flowed a lot easier than I anticipated! The girls were awesome at figuring out their sleeping arrangements, setting up tents, and helping each other (to be honest I didn’t know what to expect). We split into three rotating groups that were responsible for either making breakfast, lunch, dinner, or cleaning afterward. This was nice because the groups got to do a little bit of everything! I liked seeing the girls communicating and figure out things on their own, being responsible and being in charge.

We rode some trails every day, and we also split into different groups depending on how your energy level was going and your riding skills. It was really fun and a beautiful area with so many wildflowers, prairies, amazing views, and great mentorship conversations. It was amazing hearing the girls and team members cheer for each other when we would session a section of the trail to improve our skills. We talked about the environment and growth mindset and how this can help us reach our life goals. We had time to connect with new people, to ride, to chill, to do activities where we were challenged as a group, and we became stronger as a Cycle Effect Team.

The girls were super responsible with managing their time and being smart about it. They went to bed at an appropriate time since they knew the next day would be early and there would be many things to do. It was nice to see girls helping each other out, fixing their bikes, warming up, cleaning before leaving, and packing the vans. After all, that is what we coach to them at every practice. We talk about teamwork, cheering and helping friends out. It was impressive to see the evidence that we are planting a seed in each participant and watching it grow.

The whole trip was a unique experience for me as a coach. I certainly felt like my job was done with this group when the trip was over. The seed that we planted had started to bloom. All the things that we have been coaching the girls in the spring and summer and for some participants, year after year, was paying off. All we have to do is keep watering the seeds so the plants don’t dry out. It makes me feel really proud of what the girls have achieved and learned in such little time. This was the first year of The Cycle Effect for many of the girls on the trip and they were riding long trails and very technical sections. Seeing the girls overcome their own fears from when they started to today is amazing! Even the parents have commented to me things like, “Thanks to The Cycle Effect my daughter is so much stronger. She used to make a big deal out of getting a small paper cut, but ever since she started at The Cycle Effect nothing really upsets her anymore.” I feel the same way!