By Savanah Bandy
Have you been to Chicago?
How did you get there? By car? By plane?
The Hendricks family … they traveled by bicycle!
“In 2019, we cycled from Joplin to Chicago via Route 66,” said Chris Hendricks. “That was a 700-miles-in-seven-days trip we rode as our family vacation that year.”
Chris, his wife, Amber, and son, Coren, love life on two wheels. They enjoy road biking, mountain biking and have even done multiple rides of 200 miles in a day together. Chris and Coren are avid racers, competing in criterium racing, road racing and time trials.
In fact, at 17-years-old, Coren has set his sights on turning pro. This spring, he will apply for the U.S. Olympic Development Academy, which is a program that helps US Juniors develop into professional cyclists on the World Tour and Continental teams.
“This opportunity means he could train with the coach that is the U.S. Olympic team coach, the best coach in the country,” Chris said. “They train in facilities in the U.S. and spend three to four months over in Europe. They have a training camp in the Netherlands, and they take kids to Belgium to do some racing in the European scene over there where road racing is a lot bigger.”
Chris and Amber started riding together in 2014 after Amber underwent a series of spinal surgeries that prevented her from participating in high-impact sports. Coren joined them a couple years later, and it didn’t take long for his parents to realize he had a natural talent for the sport.
“We started racing in 2020, so last year was his first full year of racing,” Chris said. “There’s a group of fast guys here in town who he looks up to and who got him motivated. Now, he’s crazy fast, and I do everything I can just to keep up with him!”
While Coren’s talent means he may have a bright career in cycling ahead of him, at the end of the day, it remains a fun way for the Hendricks family to spend time together.
“Amber and I are both supportive and we’re low pressure in that we want all his drive and motivation to be internal. So, we just try to instill good work ethic and sportsmanship and provide the opportunities for him if he wants them,” Chris said. “Ultimately, cycling has allowed us to ride together, train together and spend quality time together as a family while enjoying a sport we love.”
See more photos in the March 2022 print edition of Show Me The Ozarks Magazine.