My Story: Tracy and Karen Honeycutt |
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My Story: Tracy and Karen Honeycutt

We are Karen and Tracy Honeycutt, and we are two of the head coaches for the Trojan Mountain Bike Team. Our team is composed of riders from Lassiter High School, Mabry and Simpson Middle Schools in Cobb County. We have two sons, Ethan (14) and Ashton (11), both of whom will be on the team this season. Ethan was a founding member of the Trojan Mountain Bike Team, and Ashton will join the team this year as a 6th grader. Ethan and Ashton grew up watching us ride bicycles and seeing how much we love it. The boys have been riding since they were old enough to ride a strider. Luckily for us, the boys fell in love with riding their bikes. Riding bicycles is a huge part of our family and how we spend our time together.

Tracy: I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and always had a love of bicycles. I remember getting my first “10 speed” bicycle when I was 10 years old, and I would lie in bed at night dreaming about riding it. I would ride that bike everywhere. For many years, I rode my bicycle for transportation and loved it. Life got busy; between college, joining the Army, and moving to Georgia, I lost touch with the bicycle. As an adult, I used to run for exercise, but after years of running and overuse injuries, I got reacquainted with the bike and immediately fell in love again. I have spent the last 15 years as a competitive road racer.

 

Karen: I grew up in the Atlanta area and graduated from Roswell High School and the University of Georgia. When I was in elementary school, I was gone all day riding my bike around the neighborhood with my friends. However, when I got to middle school, the bike went by the wayside because I was involved in many other sports and afterschool activities. It wasn’t until 14 years ago that I started riding a bike again when Tracy bought me a bicycle as a gift for my first Mother’s Day. I primarily rode a road bike and raced for years before falling in love with mountain biking. It wasn’t until I started coaching the Trojan Mountain bike team that it became my passion! Now you can find me riding at Blankets Creek, Rope Mill, or Big Creek several times per week.

The first time we heard about the Georgia Interscholastic Cycling League our family was riding the trails at Rope Mill. That day Lou Hablas was there with a group of kids from his team- NITRO (umbrella for Roswell High School and North Fulton Composite). We started talking to him about what he was doing. He was very enthusiastic and excited to tell us about the league. Lou encouraged us to get involved and invited us to reach out to him with any questions. After meeting Lou, we didn’t take any action because at that time our oldest son, Ethan, didn’t want to “race” bicycles. While he enjoyed riding his bike with the family, he wasn’t interested in racing.

That all changed in the spring of 2018 when Dan Thornton, a personal friend of ours, called to tell us that he wanted to start a Lassiter High School Mountain Bike Team. Dan held a meeting at his house with several of us that had kids who were slotted for Lassiter High School and asked if we would like to be involved. We were very excited and jumped at the chance. We loved hearing that the Georgia League was not about kids racing bicycles but was actually about teaching student-athletes the fundamentals of mountain biking and creating a solid mind, body, and character. Now all we had to do was figure out how to start a team!

 

We signed up to take OTB 101 (On the Bike Training) with Derek Boyd and Carrie Wilbur. Derek and Carrie were absolutely amazing coach supporters and made everything seem doable. We were both overwhelmed with everything that we learned about coaching student- athletes but were inspired to get started building our team. What we didn’t know that day was that the people teaching the class, as well as the others taking the class, would become part of our close-knit mountain biking family.

 

The first season was full of unknowns and a lot of trial and error, but we grew the team from 3 riders to 19. Now we are starting our third season and hope to have almost 40 riders! We never could have imagined how inspired we would become by the riders on our team. The student- athletes have become our athletes. We have a vested interest in each and every one of our riders. The friendships that the students have made with each other are special. These students have developed a love of biking, fitness, and being part of a team. Many of the students who joined the team did not have a sport. They had not found their passion yet. However, after spending a season on the team, they have THEIR sport and passion! They have found their mountain bike family!

For our family, being part of the Georgia League is an amazing experience. We have a sense of belonging, commitment, and dedication. Practice days in our house are a time for the whole family to be together doing a sport we all love. We get to be with friends, teammates, and coaches who have the same zeal for being on the team that we do. The Georgia League has truly changed our lives! We have been inspired and in return we try to inspire others. It is our hope that everyone is lucky enough to find an activity, sport, or pastime that brings them the kind of joy and sense of fulfillment that being part of the Georgia League has brought our family.