2016 Fall Newsletter

A Look at our Vision

BEA envisions a world with active, inspired, and more engaged people.

The best organizations- those that garner loyal supporters, that thrive over time, that make a lasting impact – are guided by a clear and motivating vision.

Since our founding nearly eight years ago, BEA has grown from humble beginnings to serving more than 800 kids in 2016. Countless supporters have contributed to BEA’s growth and positive impact. We couldn’t have come this far without the passion and hard work of the founding board and staff.

Today, as the BEA board and management plan for the future, we have challenged ourselves to define clearly the vision that I believe has always motivated what we do. In this process, I have conjured the images that have most inspired me. They are of a teen in his racing jersey guiding a pre-schooler on a strider through an obstacle course; a girl stretching for a rock hold with her teammates cheering her on; the National Nordic Sprint champion coaching a 12-year-old at the start of her first race.

These images are about more than sport and recreation. They are about community. The BEA community means different things to different people. For some, it is about playing in the snow or dirt; others cherish the team camaraderie; still others drive to compete at the top of their sport. Coaches are inspired by the joy of a kid learning a new skill, overcoming a fear, or success in their first race. Parents encourage their kids in their quest for more independence, to care for their own equipment, to be supportive teammates, to set their own goals and strive to reach them.

Regardless of what each of us takes from and contributes to the BEA community, I believe we are all motivated by a common vision for a world with active, inspired and more engaged people. The BEA community is an antidote to the stresses of modern life that too often leave people feeling cynical, run down, or isolated.

We are kids giggling in the snow, tweens exploring beyond the video screen, young adults striving to be the best we can be, coaches sharing the joy of our sport, and parents trying something new ourselves. And we are all energized by the possibilities ahead.

As we approach our tenth birthday in 2019, we will work to communicate and realize our vision. As you read this newsletter, pick up your kids after a session of fun on the trails, or cheer them on at competitions, please ask yourself how the BEA community inspires you, and how you can contribute to securing BEA’s future and the vision that drives us.

Cris Himes, Board President

A Window of White in our Western Skies

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. It’s Nature’s last-ditch effort to show versatility and glory.   Moisture awakes from deep slumber, quickly covering every surface. It often seems, in the midst of summer, that we would never see or feel it again. And just like that, we have a window of white in our western sky. The change of seasons is a rebirth for the staff at BEA.  Fall is when we spring into action. It is the time when we take stock of who we are and where we want to go in the coming year.   Fall is when we ask ourselves if we are staying true to our mission, how we can improve for the coming year.

In 2009 a group of parents, kids, and coaches, passionate about working to maintain and build a community around their sport, came together to form the Bend Nordic Team. We were an upstart ski club with 27 members that would grow into what today is the Bend Endurance Academy, engaging and inspiring more than 800 kids in Bend and beyond through our Nordic, Cycling and Climbing programs. We rose during a period of serious economic uncertainty, and we learned that an entrepreneurial spirit combined with a mission that families could embrace was a recipe for success.

As I write this, school has started and families are enrolling their kids in our programs at unprecedented levels. The summer cycling season is over, but 33 kids have continued pedaling into the Cyclocross season. A new year for our climbing programs kicked off with 97 kids. And as our year-round high school skiers got on snow for the first time this ski year, we already have more than 200 kids signed up to ski with us starting in December. There are still a few spots left, so don’t wait to enroll.

As we continue to welcome more participants to our programs there are, of course, challenges to overcome. We must manage the demands of including additional schools in our school partnership programs, finding creative solutions to offer expanded enrollment limits for popular programs, as well as finding and training quality staff. Above all, our growth is constrained primarily by the limits of BEA’s infrastructure: 1) securing affordable access to the venues where we operate our programs; 2) purchasing and maintaining vehicles for our transportation services; 3) building our inventory of loaner equipment, and 4) expanding office and storage space for our operations.

With the uptick in participation by local families in our programs this fall, we are more confident than ever that BEA will meet these challenges. By our tenth birthday, we expect to increase enrollment in the same high-quality programs we offer today to 1,000 Central Oregon youth.

Our staff and board are currently engaged in a strategic planning process that will help map our route to 2020. We know that if we raised tuition by $50 to $100 on all of our programs, we could meet all our needs, including the rising costs of rent and insurance, an expansion of our transportation fleet, more loaner equipment and potentially equipment maintenance workshops for kids. Importantly, we could offer nationally competitive salaries and benefits for what I believe to be our world class staff. Balancing these demands is a commitment to keeping the cost of our programs accessible to families of all economic backgrounds.

We have committed for at least one year to keep our program fees as accessible as they are today. To do that, we must inspire the families of greater economic capacity in our community to support our growth and commitment to quality by making a donation. You will be hearing more from us in the coming year about why we are a crucial part of our community, a catalyst for active, engaged and inspired youth. Our goal is to raise $15,000 in family contributions this year. I join Cris Himes, our board president; in asking you to consider what part you can play this year in reaching that goal.

Ben Husaby, Executive Director

Connecting with More Riders

403 cyclists have participated with us this season! By adding a few more school pick ups to the spring and fall, and by offering a few more teams like Enduro and Girls Team, we have continued to connect with more riders.

Sadly, Coach Chad left Bend at the end of July and we miss him. Chad led the competition enduro and cross-country teams, and helped with cyclocross riders going to Nationals. His energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and love of cycling all made him a great coach, but beyond that, Chad is an awesome mentor who is able to connect with kids in a way that inspires them to always work hard and love doing it.

Thanks Chad, and we wish him and his family the best in Durango. He’s back at Ft Lewis college so any juniors looking for a sweet place to ride bikes in college now you know a school to put on your list.

23 coaches have worked hard all session to lead rides, figure out logistics, teach skills and make group riding fun for every participant! Thanks for your excellent results this season. If any parents or older riders are interested in cycling coaching next year please get in touch.

Bill Warburton, Cycling Director

Pass the Passion

This season marks the eleventh year for me as a climbing coach. It’s a title/job that I never really set out to do, but more of one that I was fortunate enough to happen upon.   Early on, one of my goals as a climbing coach was to pass along my passion for the sport of climbing to others in the hopes that they would continue being involved in the sport and the community after they were done with the team and off to college as young adults.

This summer and early this fall I’ve been lucky to hear of climbing road trips taken by BEA climbing alums to destinations like Wild Iris and Squamish. One former BEA climber just embarked on an extended trip to New Zealand where I suspect he’ll be making a stop to the pastoral granite boulder fields of Castle Hills for a bouldering session.   Last month I received a text from a climber that they were going to be volunteering at the upcoming Portland Boulder Rally, the largest single day competition in the US. A couple weeks ago upon arriving at a competition over in Portland I was greeted by two former athletes- one who is now coaching a youth team, and one who is continuing to compete and climb in his freshman year at college.

These somewhat seemingly small things stand out to me as more of success stories of the BEA climbing program and as a coach more than any of the podium finishes at competitions or performances at national championships.

Mike Rougeux, Climbing Director

Excitement up as Temperatures Drop

Two days in Bend without sun?! Fall has officially arrived! This year, the shift in seasons has seemed significantly more dramatic than in past years.  October marks my sixth year as a ski coach and more importantly my sixth month with BEA.  Since I started this spring, I’ve transitioned from Head Coach to Nordic Director, an opportunity I’m tremendously grateful for.  Past winter seasons have been predominantly spent on the road for both national and international competitions. This year, and for the first time in my career, I’m looking forward to traveling less, calling Bend home and growing with the BEA community.  From qualifying races with the Competition Team to hot chocolate stops with the Mini Nordies, I am inspired by the energy and enthusiasm shared by all ages of our skiers and look forward to my first winter with BEA. The excitement is building as the temperatures drop and the Nordic programs are filling up fast!  All of our favorite programs are returning, new extensions have been added to popular programs to accommodate more skiers and some fun family based events have all been added this winter. Start your snow dances, we are ready!


Bernie Nelson, Nordic Director

Featured Athlete: Alex Walker

Alex recently won the Junior Expert category for Enduro and placed 6th in Downhill at the Cascadia MTB Championships in Port Angeles, WA. This was a great way for him to wrap up the season and we’re excited to build the Enduro Team for next season.

“The 2016 season was my first real season racing bikes, and I have fallen in love with it. Cascadia mountain bike championships was hands down my favorite course of the year! The course had everything steep, roots, flats, climbs and a full stage of pure Loam. I was super excited to take the win on Saturday and get king of the mountain for the whole weekend in my category. Good time with good friend to end an amazing year. Can’t wait for 2017!”

Hometown: Bellingham Washington

When did you move to Bend? June 2016

How did you get involved with racing? My first mountain bike team got me into racing and I fell in love with it.

Do you have any mentors or cycling heroes? I have had a couple of mentors in my riding the biggest one would be Spencer Paxson and the other Shaums March.

What’s your favorite pizza? My mom’s pizza is the best because everything she makes is the best.

A Look at a Day of a Youth Cycling Coach

A typical day in the life of a Bend Endurance Academy youth cycling coach, step by step:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Make a big breakfast knowing that you’ll be on a bike for the next four hours.
  3. Make a snack.
  4. Anticipate the details of the day: route, snack spots, games, interesting viewpoints. What did we do last week?
  5. Get on your bike.
  6. Relish in step five.
  7. Bike to bus-loading area.
  8. Greet everyone in the cool(er than the day) morning air.
  9. Administer the morning dose of high fives.
  10. Bus. “Where are we going today, coach?!”
  11. Tell students where we are going.
  12. Arrive at trailhead. “Where are we going today, coach?!”
  13. Tell students where we are going.
  14. Bike. “Are we there yet, coach?”
  15. Remind student that the trail is the destination; we are here.
  16. Play games.
  17. Administer second dose of high fives.
  18. Find a shady area that can fit everyone and their bikes off of the trail. “Where are we, coach?”
  19. Break. Announce emphatically that, yes, it is indeed snack time and that yes, we are finally here. Wherever here might be.
  20. “What did you eat this morning?”
  21. Tell a ominous story about this morning’s breakfast.
  22. Host spontaneous spelling and arithmetic test. “Can you spell ‘derailleur’?”
  23. Consume snack with veiled voraciousness.
  24. Bike. “Where are we going now, coach?!”
  25. Bike. “Coach, I’m hungry.”
  26. Bike. “Weee!”
  27. Bus.
  28. Administer third dose of high fives.
  29. Administer additional high fives to build hype for next week’s ride.
  30. Bike home.
  31. Enjoy the silence.
  32. Eat lunch.
  33. Go to work.

The careful observer will note that, in the typical day of a Bend Endurance Academy Youth Cycling Coach, work doesn’t happen until step 33. The reason for this is simple: compared to coaching, the job I go to afterword always feels more job-like. It’s typically in-doors, there is usually a deadline or due date too close, and my bicycle is absent.

While this routine is more than acceptable, breaking the routine can be exciting.

Two weeks ago I visited a good friend on Vancouver Island, BC. Quaint, village-sized Cumberland is their home, where the rich silt and many roots make the rolling trails often slippery. After riding for three days in the rain in Cumberland, the sun broke free. So instead of riding half-mud—that pernicious, precocious, proto-dirt—we decided to find a different island with some different soil. Enter Hornby Island: two ferries and two islands removed from the Big Island; started as a small community of hippies who had become fed-up with city life in Vancouver; a wedge-shaped mound of stouter, slightly less grimy topsoil.

We rode our bikes off the ferry and up the steep side for maybe an hour. The trail network extends down the other, gradual slope. It’s a small island, so in about six hours we rode almost every trail including steep and loamy chutes, an overgrown dual-slalom track, built-up flow trails like you see in your favorite Pinkbike videos, and many iterations of grippy, sweeping, “grin-your-teeth-and-holler” type single track. It was a season-ender appropriate for feet of rain expected this winter.

Thank you Bend Endurance Academy for the many hours of exploration and skills development in Bend; thank you BC for the rain-forest reprieve.

Cameron Carrick, Youth Cycling Coach