The Tour de Whatcom bicycle ride offers little by way of competitive racing.
No worries, though. Bill Hasenjaeger and his daughter, Michelle, are just fine with a nice Saturday afternoon ride up to Ferndale and back.
"She mostly likes going on rides with her dad," Hasenjaeger said in a phone interview. "It's one of those things you like to find as a parent."
Hasenjaeger and his daughter are riding in the 8th Annual Tour de Whatcom on Saturday, July 27, for the second time together. The event offers three different routes that leave at staggering times throughout the morning. Those riding the 105-mile course will depart from Fairhaven Village Green at 7:30 a.m., followed by the 50-mile riders at 10 a.m. and the 25-mile riders at 11:30 a.m. Day-of registration is available with check-in times being 45 minutes before each of the three start times. All the proceeds from the race will go to Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition.
It's no surprise to Hasenjaeger that his 17-year-old daughter would seek out doing this ride together. In that fashion, she'd just be solidifying the fact that he and his family are meant to be on bikes, she just being the most recent addition.
"Mostly, (biking) is just a vehicle for us to go out and have fun," Hasenjaeger said of riding with his daughter and two older sons.
While Michelle is the most recent to join, he said, she took to the sport fairly quickly, building her own bike by hand.
"Her introduction into biking was, 'Here is a bunch of parts and some wrenches and I will help you put it together,'" he joked.
While only mountain biking since 1999, Hasenjeager wasn't new to the concept of a two-wheeled thing that moved forward. The pedaling part, though, was a bit of a novel concept.
"Found out that I'm not as good an engine than a regular engine," he said.
Hasenjaeger grew up racing dirt bikes in the Southern California desert years back. Speeding down 3-mile stretches of open desert with 50 to a 100 riders flanking either side was common place for him, all jockeying for placement as they siphoned off into a course that would loop back around in the warm heat.
"It's pure cross country," he said, describing the races he would compete in. "If you imagine open desert, mountains, hills, rocky trails, steep canyons, rugged, high-desert terrain."
But as he reached his early 40s, something changed. The fear of serious injury began to creep into his mind.
"I wrecked my knees a few times; wrecked my back a few times, but nothing too terribly life changing," he said, "but I saw friends around me that were having that happen to them, and I was like, 'No, it's a matter of time. It's time to move on to something else.'"
Falling on a dirt bike is much different than falling on a trail riding a mountain bike, he added.
"If you fall, you have this 250-pound thing cartwheeling after you down the trail," Hasenjaeger said, noting that mountain bikes fall but don't careen after you like you owed them money.
He was first introduced to the sport by his oldest son, Karl, who at the time opened and owned his own biking shop in California.
Given his son's relative experience, Hasenjaeger's early learning experiences were probably on trails he had no business being on, he said.
One trail in particular, he said, had black diamond-like inclines and declines. Safe to say, he was sore the next day.
"He took me down something really scary that he probably shouldn't have taken me down," he said. "It was pretty rough getting down to the bottom.
"When got down to the bottom, he had a big grin on his face and said, 'yeah, that's payback for all of those years of you taking me out.'"
Biking has given him a lot of memories he shares with his children, and he's looking to make one more with his daughter at the Tour de Whatcom on Saturday.
8TH ANNUAL TOUR DE WHATCOM
When: Saturday, July 27
Where: Fairhaven Village Green Park
Race times: 7:30 a.m. for 105-mile ride, 10 a.m. for 50-mile ride and 11:30 a.m. for 25-mile ride.
Race fees: $50 for 105-mile ride, $40 for 50-mile ride and $30 for 25-mile ride.
Tour de Whatcom offers day-of registration, with check-in times being 45 minutes from the start of each ride.