Words by Kimatni D. Rawlins / Vision by Henri Fisher

It was an amazing weekend with the Fit Fathers crew as we hit Schaeffer Farms Mountain Bike Park on hardtails in Gaithersburg, MD. Typically when a group of dudes get together to catch up it’s at a sports bar, club or a live game. Nothing is wrong with either if that’s your cup of tea. For me, I am happy to have broken free from habits that I no longer care for. In comparison to my old self I’d rather bike or hike within the natural mystic of life with my brothers and sisters while eating nuts and berries opposed to clubbing with baby ballers. Thus, it’s amazing how quickly enlightenment is ascertained when the path to purity is chosen. There are never any excuses for energizing your body incessantly.

We call them “Social Workouts” whereas a group of dads, moms, kids or friends of the family get together for an exercise-focused activity in an environment conducive for life enhancing socializing. Prior examples include running and hiking meet-ups at national parks and local high school tracks. This past Saturday seven Fit Fathers went out on what is to be the first of a cadre of planned mountain bike outings.  And for those who didn’t own a cycle we made a call to Race Pace in Columbia, MD and reserved a few of their rentals for $45 a day. Again, “no excuses” is our daily mantra. “This experience provided a great alternative to the regular routine of weekly gym workouts. Both physically and mentally challenging, the scenic path allowed us to truly appreciate both the power and beauty of nature,’ said Shawn Ciers. “Enjoying this time with fellow brothers that wanted to spend a Saturday morning greeting mother nature opposed to snoring in bed or playing video games made this outing and the conversations magnificent!”

Mountain_Biking_Social_Workout...06We planned this particular Social Workout two weeks out to synchronize schedules since everybody has active and engaging families. I have to consistently check the calendar to mark off my two daughters busy routine before I can plan for myself. Yet, I love this lifestyle and wouldn’t have it any other way. We all met at the Fit Fathers compound, geared up, drank our performance smoothies and loaded the bikes on the Thule heavy-duty power rack. It was chilly so the heated seats (also has a cooling feature) and heated steering wheel were right on time.

Our 2016 Kia Sorento SUV held it down and proved to be an impressive vehicle by carrying four 29er mountain bikes, their riders and a boatload of equipment. Fresh off an optional dealer tow hitch installation the group was ready to rock and roll. Fit Fathers’ $44,200 Titanium Silver/Black Sorento featured the 2-liter Turbo, Direct Injected, 4-cylinder engine paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic, full-time all-wheel-drive traction with a lockable center differential and beautiful 19” alloy wheels tucked in grippy Michelin rubber. I was a bit surprised that neither its acceleration nor stopping power were compromised by the bikes and four 200-pound plus passengers. The interior provided adequate space for everyone and didn’t disappoint in any areas that we are typically accustomed to. Especially since Henri drives an X5, Anthony has a QX and Leon rolls with a Grand Cherokee. Mapping and directional navigation from the 8” touchscreen, UVO eServices Telematics and a rear camera display were poignant with the system guiding us directly to the entry of the trails which many Nav systems have complications locating. Upon arrival, I immediately switched on the Surround View Monitor to make sure no obscure objects were hanging loosely. All clear!

Mountain_Biking_Social_Workout...23But perhaps the most rewarding and brotherhood task of the day was finding Leon’s iPhone 6 Plus which he lost on the skills course after a few jumps. We had finished for the day but united and re-tracked our steps to help locate the smartphone, which he just recently purchased. “Teamwork makes the dream work” was the universal chant after we accomplished the mission while tacking on another 3.15 miles to our riding tally. Luckily Leon had his ringer on!Each and every one of us viewed the Mountain Biking Social Workout as a highlight of the year thus far. Especially when we arrived to a bevvy of adventurers hitting the trails hard. Literally, as a few of us did hit the pavement once or twice. We challenged our bodies to work harder than normal on the 3-hour course. Steep hills, water crossings, bunny hops, endos, a skills course and jumps took us back down memory lane when the same was accomplished on BMXs. “Today’s ride was great! I was excited to see that we had seven guys participating early on a Saturday morning,” stated Anthony Pankey. “Not only was this experience extremely fun, but it motivated me to push myself to do things that I might not have attempted had I been by myself (especially those hill climbs). Many times our weekly duties — whether it’s work or managing responsibilities at home — make it difficult to get out and enjoy some type of exercise. Of course I look forward to the next ride,” he further added.

Mountain_Biking_Social_Workout...16Afterwards we packed up while conversing about how intoxicating this natural high was. The Diamondbacks and Treks were muddy and so were we. Henri felt bad about soiling our Merlot Nappa leather interior, but I reminded him that it’s a family SUV and one of the intents of ownership. The extended Panoramic sunroof was opened to let in fresh air and sunlight in route to lunch at Whole Foods. Garbanzo bean burgers and quinoa/kale salads were the perfect protein infused meals for refueling.

With the SXL Technology Package ($2,500) the Sorento basically drove itself back to the crib. Smart Cruise Control was definitely activated and the Lane Departure Warning System assisted with my view because the bikes were hanging out from the tailgate. Bluetooth streamed the melodious rhythms of The Roots off my iPhone through the banging Infinity audio system. There is nothing like conscious hip hop or roots reggae to flow with a momentous day. The guys in the rear reclined the splitting bench seat, charged up their phones through the three power outlets (USB, AC115V and 12V) and latched the privacy shade to the windows.

Mountain_Biking_Social_Workout...22“Exhilarating day to get the heart racing with adrenaline while testing your physical mobility skills, and also a great opportunity to experience life with other like-minded gentlemen,” explained Leon Brittain. “In the biking world undertakings bring riders together even if unexpected turn of events such as flat tires arise. You never leave a man behind, and the same was true when Sam’s left crank arm broke off. Rightfully so, we all walked our bikes the last mile to show support and solidarity!”

Home at last, I walked into the house, hit the couch and didn’t arise for another few hours. Today was a good day once said Ice Cube. We’ll see you in a few weeks for another Single Track excursion.

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