We recently spent a few days at the Clif Pro Team gathering in San Luis Obispo, California, and then saw them interact with employees and staff at Clif HQ. We all came away inspired and hopeful for the future of our sport. It’s a team that exudes confidence and creativity and hope.
Team member and national collegiate champion Hannah Finchamp sums it up well: “The only place I see the sport of mountain biking going is up. The sport continues to grow through all disciplines. I think that with programs like NICA [National Interscholastic Cycling Association], and more kids getting on bikes, we can expect to see more racers, more spectators and more equality on the bike.”
Hannah also provides a reminder to not forget why we all began riding bikes in the first place: for fun. “NICA opened my eyes to the importance of playing on your bike,” she says. “As adults or competitive athletes, training comes second nature and is easy to schedule into our day. What we rarely remember to schedule is time to play on our bikes. For kids, playing is the first step. I remember high school practices where the kids would spend hours practicing wheelies and tricks. Those are the skills that are often overlooked. I want to play on my bike forever, not only to have childlike joy every time I turn over the pedals but also to sharpen those skills that are easily overlooked or lost.”
New team member Russel Finsterwald brings it all back to his first race as a 12-year old. “Joining the Clif Pro Team is an incredible opportunity in so many ways and I couldn’t be more ecstatic for the season to unfold,” he says. “When I first got into racing as a little 12-year old, fellow Colorado Springs resident Alison Dunlap had just won the world [cross-country] championship in Vail. Needless to say, she was someone I looked up to in the sport from day one and I became a fan of the LUNA Chix soon after. To be able to ride on the same program is a dream come true.”
The diverse Clif Pro Team will take part in a variety of traditional and non-traditional races and events in 2019 and we look forward to stories and adventures for this wonderful group of athletes.
You can follow along with the team’s journey on Instagram.