Dave and Andrea Bender
As a cyclist himself, competitively racing as a Pro, Dave Bender had a dream to one day give students in school the opportunity to be on a mountain bike team.
That dream became a reality when NICA was going to start a WI league. Dave and his wife, Andrea, went to the WI leaders Summit in 2014. Andrea was a cheerleading coach for 9 years, so used her experience to assist Dave in developing the team. Dave and Andrea presented the idea of a mountain bike team to Westosha Central High School, the future school of their twin babies. After getting the support from the Athletic department, recruitment
Season one, 2014, had a very humble beginning with just ONE
There was slow and steady growth over the first couple years.
The Benders did little to recruit, as their own “Team Bender” was doubling yet
again. Yes, Dave and Andrea Bender had 2 sets of Twin Boys in TWO years.
As the team started to multiply year after year, the Benders knew they needed more help. To incorporate a larger region of athletes from many different schools, SLSMTB was created. It’s a 501(c)3 organization and has a Board of Directors. Each year we are seeing incredible growth with not only athletes, but parent volunteers.
In 2020, a junior program was started so younger athletes could ride too! As a “test ride” during a pandemic, it was limited to families on the team. It was a great success.
Andrea is a great example of a novice coach. She has basic riding skills and no trail experience. She does not compete competitively. She has the simple joy of riding with her family and wants to be able to keep up with her kids. She is also a certified NICA coach.
The Benders are a package deal…Dave is the Coach Director and Andrea likes
to say she’s “the Boss.” If you get the opportunity to coach with Dave, you may also have a little Bender boy or 4 tagging along. They are “Team Bender”
and are hands-on in every aspect of the team. The long rides home after a
weekend of racing/camping are spent discussing the race weekend and
brainstorming on what can be improved, or what needs to be developed.
The team is truly family friendly. In fact, they encourage parents to become Coaches, and/or have a sibling join the team. In fact, athletes that have graduated, come back and coach. Some coaches don’t even have kids on the team. SLSMTB has athletes as young as 5 years old and coaches in their upper 60s. There is a place for everyone on this team. One of the best things to come out of the development of this team is the community of families. Weekends at the races are a safe, family friendly environment, and a wonderful opportunity to bond with families. The dream of having a team for the Bender children, has exceeded all expectations.
As Dave continues to handle the Coach Director role, Andrea continues to work with the Junior athletes during practice, motivates and cheers the athletes during races, and would like to develop our SLSMTB community to go to the next level. The community has
welcomed SLSMTB and have been very supportive and
generous in their sponsorship. Volunteering is a HUGE part
of the SLSMTB community. Every Coach and Board Member
is a volunteer! Thousands of hours have been spent to
develop our athletes and follow our mission. The athletes
complete trail work to maintain the trails they ride on.
Andrea wants to take the next step and have the athletes
give back to the community that has supported them through
volunteerism. Andrea has developed a new program she will
implement this year.
Be a PATH finder
Empowering women and families to gear up and ride
Educating communities on bike safety
Encouraging athletes to serve their communities
Be passionate in what you do and you will find your way!
As we come to the 2022 season, we anticipate another year of growth…potentially having over 100 athletes!
Some future events to look forward to:
Bike Rodeo- giving FREE helmets to children that attend
Kid’s Bike Race at Growing with Bristol’s Fall Fest
If you want our team to be part of your event, Contact Dave and Andrea Bender