Genea, 17, Joined El Grupo in January 2014
Hidden Talents: Does a really good Gollum impression and is really good at drawing horribly ugly caricatures of people
Favorite Band: Modest Mouse
Favorite Style of Riding: I used to only like road riding, but after the amazing Durango trip I’ve fallen in love with mountain biking. I love both.
Favorite Trip: My favorite El Grupo trip was the Luna Lake bike tour. I haven’t necessarily been a quitter, but when faced with big tasks I was an expert at shutting down. When I head that the Luna Lake bike tour was going to be 40, 50, and 60 miles, my almost instinctive response was to shut down. “It’s fiiiine, I’ll just go really slow.” On the first day, Daniela rode with me and my plan to sit on the back and cruise was thwarted. After the 40-mile struggle was up I realized that I could challenge myself and I would make it. I think that after that first day that wall of aversion broke down. I loved that trip.
Favorite Hobby: Practicing yoga
Favorite Ride in Tucson: North Loop. “It goes up super north, like to sunrise. It’s challenging because there’s some hills, but so beautiful because we’re right at the base of the Catalinas. It’s breathtaking.”
Favorite Food: Raspberries
Why do you like riding your bike?
I began exercising when I did track and cross country. However, when doing track and cross country, you’re really limited to about a 2 mile radius of the school. I love biking because I get to see so much of Tucson. My entire perspective of this city has changed and I think it is so beautiful.
Have you seen changes in your bike skills and character?
I remember the first time Ignacio had us ride bikes. We (the newbies) all lined up in a line and were just going to practice starting and stopping then were going to go. I remember that when I went I couldn’t even start by bicycle. It took me a good 3-4 tries to even get my bike started. To think that I have come from barely being able to ride my bike to where I am now is amazing.
Character wise, the changes El Grupo and cycling has had on me are enormous. As mentioned, I was previously one of the largest avoiders possible. However, cycling had completely broken down this wall. I no longer want to scuttle away from mountain bike practice but come to practice ready to hopefully get better.
How does El Grupo challenge you?
El Grupo has been one of the easiest things to wake up for in my life. Going to morning swim and running practice used to take me numerous tries to rip myself out of bed. However, mornings on which I have cycling practice I am usually up before my alarm rings. Physically, El Grupo has been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. Because I feel that I’ve stopped avoiding, I am always trying to work my hardest. I think that I am the most fit now than I ever have been but am still fairly slow and still continue to be challenged at every turn.
What are your current goals?
My goals with El Grupo are to be able to be comfortable and fit enough to be able to go on a challenging ride and have fun while enjoying the beautiful landscape and air and sky.
In 9 months of participation with El Grupo, what have I gotten out of it?
I have above all things gained a new perspective. I love Tucson and its beauty, I love exercising and facing new challenges, I love spending time with middle schoolers (my team mates), and most of all I love riding bicycles.