As we all know, mountain biking is addicting. And when one person in the family starts riding, the rest often can’t resist. The Legge family from the SoCal League is a great example of this. Father Mike Legge started riding first and coaches on the Newbury Park High School team, and now his twin sons Jake and Kyle are riders on the team. Their journey to the League and the sport of mountain biking was a family affair.
Q: How did the family get involved with the SoCal League?
A [Mike]: Jake and Kyle have always played many different sports–baseball, soccer, skateboarding, surfing, sailing, skiing, snowboarding, etc…. But as sports have come and gone, mountain biking has been a constant. My wife and I told the boys that once they got into high school they had to choose one or two sports and focus on those and get really good.
They chose cross-country running and mountain biking. Newbury Park High School has a cross-country running team but no mountain bike team. They had planned to race in private mountain-bike races on the weekends and train on their own.
I did a little research and found out about the SoCal League. The boys then asked if I would coach if they started the team. The rest is history (in the making).
A [Jake and Kyle]: The family got involved with the League when our dad told us about it and we were really stoked.
Q: Who was the first one in the family to start riding?
A [Mike]: Me. I started riding back in high school. I rode road bikes and then mountain bikes (hard tail and nose – no suspension). Although I have been riding the longest, the boys are way better than me. I was hoping to stay up with them until they reached eighteen, but not a chance. The only thing I can still get them on is a sprint but if it is longer than a couple hundred meters, I’m done.
A [Jake and Kyle]: The first one in the family to start riding was our dad.
Q. How has mountain biking and the League impacted your family?
A [Mike]: Family activities now revolve around riding. We have to be careful that we don’t let it take over our lives completely. My wife is good about making sure we still have a balance with school and other non-biking family activities like motorcycle riding and surfing.
A [Jake and Kyle]: It impacted us a lot because we are now focused on one sport instead of multiple sports.
Q: Is there competition among each other, especially Kyle and Jake, or are you guys all out there just having fun?
A [Mike]: There is definitely competition, but that’s what makes it fun. I think that is what has driven them to get so good. It’s friendly, though. If one does better than the other one, he is the first to congratulate him. They each have their strengths and they help each other that way.
A [Jake and Kyle]: Kyle and I are very, very competitive with each other. When he beats me it motivates me to do better and to work harder to beat him.
Q. What is your favorite part about being out there together on race weekend? Do other family members get involved?
A [Mike]: The whole family goes to races. Most races have grandparents out there, too. The best part is being together and helping the team to the best result possible. Everyone helps in a different way. It can be wrenching on a bike or helping with pre-race meal prep or just being the loudest cheerleader out there–we all contribute.
A [Jake and Kyle]:The best part is that we get to race bikes and I couldn’t ask for anything better. Yes, a lot of the families are involved.
Q: What is the team community like? It is a new team, but a large one for its first year.
A [Mike]: The core of the team are Jake and Kyle’s friends. They were the first ones to sign on. They then recruited a bunch of great kids, some with experience and some without. The club is starting to get word-of-mouth attention around school and the community.
We even have kids from other schools around us wanting to work out with the team. I think the fact that we live in such a great area for riding helps us build the team size. We were lucky enough to sign on a couple of great female riders who have helped bring the MTB team recognition with the female student body. We are hoping that next year we will have as many female riders as male.
A [Jake and Kyle]: The team is amazing. They are all fun to be around and we make each other all laugh.
Q. What are you all most looking forward to this season? Is there a particular race location or team activity?
A [Mike]: We look forward to every race. Since it is our first year, each race is new and different. We are really looking forward to the Los Olivos race and State–Los Olivos because it is somewhat local and we will have a large group of family and friends there, and State because we get to see how we stack up to NorCal. NorCal has a pretty good reputation for turning out fast riders but I think SoCal will be very strong.
A [Jake and Kyle]: I am looking forward to the championships because we get to ride against people in a different League. This will show us how good we are overall.
Q. What advice would you give other families about getting involved in the League and/or mountain biking?
A [Mike]: Just Do It. Yes, I know that is a trademarked slogan but it applies, even if you are new to the sport. It will enrich your family life and give your family an activity they can enjoy together for a long time. Our family has three generations of riders that ride together. It is a very bonding activity.
If you are not part of a team, contact one near you and ask to join in on their fun. The teams are very supportive and will help you. You may even be motivated to start your own team.
A [Jake and Kyle]: All I would say is try it least once. It won’t hurt you and I can guarantee that once you try it you will love the sport!