Riders: Samantha Kinder & Ben Kinder
City: Mercer Island
Schools: Mercer Island High School, Islander Middle School
Grade: Samantha: 10, Ben: 7
# of years with League: Samantha: 2, Ben: 1
How long have you been mountain biking? Samantha: 2, Ben: 1
How did you end up riding with the League?
Samantha: One day a good friend of mine and her mom took me mountain biking. I loved it! When they started the Mercer Island Mountain Biking Team, I was excited to join.
Ben: My sister started mountain biking with some friends and she liked it so
much she convinced our whole family try it. Then when I was old enough to join
the Mercer Island Mountain Biking Team, she encouraged me to give it a try.
What do you like best about it?
Samantha: It’s really fun being outside on trails and spending time with friends. It reminds me a lot of skiing. I also like that it’s not competitive but rather centered around personal improvement.
Ben: I really like being outside in nature and being part of a team
What’s the hardest or most challenging part about it?
Samantha: For me, it’s having the endurance and the strength to make it up long steep hills. I also get nervous before races.
Ben: Having the skills to get over roots and obstacles without hopping off my bike.
What did you do about that challenge/how did you overcome it?
Samantha: Before my first race, my friends and coaches helped calm my nerves. After that, I realized racing wasn’t so scary because everyone is super nice and cheer you on. My chain has even fallen off during races but people were there to help me get it back on so that I could finish. And during those times when I couldn’t make it up a hill, I just hopped off my bike and ran it up.
Ben: Our coaches teach us techniques for how to handle different types of terrain. Before races, they even lead us through the race course so we know what to expect. We also practice a lot!
How has participating impacted you and/or the rest of your life?
Samantha: Before I started mountain biking, I wasn’t very athletic – but participating helped me realize how much I like exercising. It also introduced me to how much fun it is to be on a team and meet new people.
Ben: It’s been great finding a sport I like and can do with my family when ski season is over.
What would you say to a friend who was considering joining a League team?
Samantha: Join! Don’t be intimidated– it’s fun and completely doable even if you’ve never mountain biked before.
Ben: You should try it. It’s more fun than you think!
What’s one word that describes your experience with the League?