If you're a LERT alum, the alumni luncheon is on Oct. 28 at Bacaro. To learn more about the luncheon or SMBA, go to lertprograms.com.
The kids around here are rippers.
Not Jack the Ripper. This isn't a Halloween story. I'm talking about these kids who straight-line past you on their little skis, use their tiny fingers and spritely strength to climb harder than you (despite lacking height and reach), and of course, the ones who bomb downhill, smoking us grown-up mountain bikers.
It's no wonder that one fine Boulder day, a mom -- whose kid learned how to rip from mountain bike coach Jessie Vogt -- said to Jessie, "it would be a good idea to be able to keep up with our kids."
To that mom: A lot of us would like to be able to keep up with your kids.
What happens, Jessie said, is that "the parents are like, 'I need to get my kids into camp so I can ride with them,' and then within a summer, they're faster."
As a kid growing up in Boulder, Jessie learned to rip from Matt Tomasko and other coaches with Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures (SMBA), a program of the Lake Eldora Race Team (LERT) for young rippers on skis, snowboards and bikes.
Tomasko is now the executive director of LERT and Jessie is SMBA's team director...which means that when a parent says, 'I'd like to be able to keep up,' Jessie can say, 'let's start a keep-up-with-the-kids clinic here.
So in August, Jessie started teaching a handful of moms of SMBA kids how to ride faster, stronger and with more skill.
"We met every week," she said. "We'd go out for about 2 hours and work on the traditional SMBA skills curriculum -- cornering, climbing, descending. And balance is a good one."
"That's a good one as a life skill, especially as you get older," said the 29-year-old coach with a chuckle.
Jessie said that though the curriculum is the same, there were some differences when she taught the moms.
"They're a lot more willing to ask a ton of questions," she said. "They also get really excited. Sometimes the kids are really excited they made a section, but they pretend to be cool."
"I've got some moms who are already shredders, they're just amazing," she said. "They've got such great style, so it's just a matter of perfecting their skills."
Yep, they're already shredders, and they need to get better still to keep up with the kids. When I talked with Jessie, it sounded like she relished this idea.
I'm not surprised -- the first time I met her, she told me her passion was getting more women to race, and she's lived it. Jessie became "a SMBA kid" around age 14 or 15, started racing at 16 and kept going. She raced cyclocross and on the road for the CU Cycling Team, plus raced downhill and four-cross as a pro for eight years.
After some racing and riding abroad, she came back to Boulder to what she thinks is the best job, she said -- teaching kids, and now adults, to rip.
Jessie's keep-up clinics are over for the season for now, but she's starting them up again in the spring -- for anyone, not just women, and not just parents. Even if you just want to keep up with the neighborhood kids, she said, sign up in the spring, and you, too, can rip.