Bowling alley? Pizza place? Where is the best venue for holding the end of the year celebration for a youth mountain biking team? The pit zone of a mountain bike race, of course! Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Coach Steve’s Tidewater Challenge provided an opportunity for our youth and coaches to race and then cheer on the expert men and women who were literally racing as the team acknowledged their own numerous accomplishments for the season.
High School rider, James, led the team in a “Walk of Fame” during which each rider shook the hand and greeted each coach with a personal thank you. Middle School rider, Parker, spoke on behalf of the team thanking Coach Mike for his dedication, encouragement, and sense of humor. Coach Mike was presented with an original up-cycled plaque created by our very own team mom and artist, Lisa Wiertel, complete with bike chains and gears.
Coach Mike created one-of-a-kind plaques and reflections for each rider. Coaches Rick and Christie created generously stuffed grab bags for the coaches. Coach Christie also put her artistic talent into a custom Lang Gang doormat for Coach Mike’s family and a free-standing plaque for our webmaster. Such personal touches keep it real!
The EOY celebration was also an opportunity to pay tribute to coach-extraordinaire, Paul Penetta, as he and his family, including our team captain, Kevin, embark on their adventure west. The oversized posters, glitter race plates and mustache lightened our spirits knowing that a big hole was being created. Paul and Kevin touched the hearts and improved the skills of all!
Coach Paul shared with the team that this race was not an easy one; today wasn’t his day. He thought about walking off the course, but was motivated by the youth lining the course rooting for him. He toughed it out for them just like they have for him with each new skill learned, each hill conquered, each challenge faced. That sums up our 2017 season, folks.