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Get to Know B-Line Racing

By: Page Heller  October 03, 2020

B-Line Racing is a primarily downhill and enduro mountain biking team based out of Duvall, Washington. They currently have nine riders on their team. B-Line is dedicated to making riding fun and challenging for everyone, with the primary goal of promoting the sport of cycling within all disciplines.

Through embracing the journey, building community, and having fun, B-Line is making a positive impact on their riders and the Pacific North West cycling community.

We got the opportunity to connect with Mark Bender, the team director, and coach for B-Line, to ask him about the program's history, performance, future goals, and values!


History

After Mark suffered a spinal cord injury in 2013 in the hills of Duvall, WA, he was inspired with the idea of starting B-Line. The objective was to stay involved in his four son's adventures, while at the same time creating a team environment allowing riders to thrive and grow in their love for mountain biking. Mark claims he has gotten so much of cycling and has made many great friends through the sport, and he wants to create the same opportunities for the youth in Washington state.

Mark's way of giving back to a community that poured out tons of love post-injury. He wants his team to know it's not all about racing, that the beautiful thing about cycling is that it can be a lifelong passion, as well as provide a very healthy lifestyle. B-Line believes in developing and maintaining a dynamic community, bringing safety, vitality, and resources to those who love to ride, have fun, and race their bikes.

The “B” in B-Line refers to Bender & Buckley, the last names of the two founding families. However, it also represents the direction in which a bee fly’s after gathering nectar. When they are ready to return to the hive they fly the quickest and fastest way back. This is why when someone is trying to get to their destination quickly they are said to be "making a B-line".

Performance

Giddien Bender, Mark's son, repped the USA at the downhill 2018 UCI Worlds. B-line also supported Scott Funston, as he went to the world championships that year as well.

In 2019, B-Line had their first national downhill junior women championship rider, Autumn Parham. She also was on the world championships team, and the program's first female to do this!

In addition, Ella Erickson made the junior World team selection this year!

Future

The pandemic has reminded the team why they ride, because it’s fun, and there's a great community they get to be apart of! Mark wants to bring the community aspect to his riders, to help them develop their cycling community- whether that be trail building or helping other riders.

Mark says, "If we’re at a race, I’ll never say no to a kid if they need help and I can help them. I have pretty much no hand movement, I can move my arms but I’m in a manual wheelchair. At a race, this kid from California comes by with broken spokes and asks if I can fix the problem for him. I told him, 'If you’re willing to put in the work, I can tell you and guide you through everything to get it fixed.' I think it’s important for the kids, seeing me as an individual who is limited functionally, still willing and able to help. I want our riders to understand that everything comes full circle like someone is asking me to help and I may not have all the resources, but I still have something to offer. Whatever you have to offer, you should offer to help strengthen the local community."

B-line plans to continue promoting the sport of cycling. They will be supporting athletes in the disciplines of downhill and enduro mountain biking and also support two XC riders. They will continue to volunteer with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Association. As a team, they hold multiple group rides, clinics, and encourage beginner level riders and juniors to continue to pursue and grow in the sport.

Values

Mark wants his riders to know that "done is better than perfect," that sometimes showing up to the race, pinning your number on, and crossing the start and the finish line is enough. He wants his team to enjoy riding, and know it's not all about winning. Mark often tells his team, "enjoy your journey," "dream fearlessly," and "progress, not perfection." At B-line, they focus on each individual's personal growth, and what they are getting out of the sport.

Recalling one of his favorite memories of a rider, Mark says, "We had a young junior, and after he completed the race he ran over to me so ecstatic you would have thought he won the world championships! Well, he was so happy because he took six seconds off his time from last year. Even though he finished second to last in the results, it didn’t matter to him, it was all about him competing against himself. I knew at that moment that he got it. It was great for the other riders because they can get tied up in that number on the piece of paper that shows what place they came in."

Self-improvement is a huge factor at B-line. Each rider is on their own journey and no one is no more important than another. The team is dedicated to making riding fun and challenging for everyone. "Embracing the journey of getting to the start line, putting on a number, showing up to the race, being happy and fun to be around and kind to fellow racers. That is winning!"

If you are interested in helping clubs like B-Line grow the sport of cycling, please consider donating to the USA Cycling Foundation's Center of Excellence: DONATE HERE