What does it mean to have a family? Is it unconditional love, support and care? Is it the happiness that is bounced from one to another on a daily basis? Or is it the thrill of doing things together for the reward of creating lasting memories? There is not a better answer other than “all of the above” when it comes to creating a family bond. Doing activities together, like the Tour de La Porte (TdL), is rewarding for families. Shawn Arnsbarger is a mother and a six year TdL veteran who enjoys biking the beautiful trails of La Porte with her kids and supporting the runners to be the best they can be.
“We just loved the idea that TdL was for the community,” Arnsbarger said, “it was easy to sign up for, it was ‘do-able,’ and for a good cause.”
Though only participant in the cycling events, Arnsbarger has been an avid supporter of the TdL running athletes for five years. It all started when she volunteered as a road guide, standing at the intersection of Orchard, Small, and Garden, cheering runners on towards the finish line. Arnsbarger noticed how important it was to push athletes, making sure they know that they are being supported in their endeavor. She added more to her cheering adventures by creating messages and pictures in chalk, cranking up good music, and even recruiting family and friends to help out.
This year, Shawn Arnsbarger will not just be a cheering face at her usual intersection. This year she will be one of those runners on the 5K course, feeling her sneakers meet the pavement. Though running is newer to Arnsbarger, she’s taken up the challenge and added running to her daily exercise routine as she works toward the 3.1 mile goal!
“Tour de La Porte is an awesome thing for families to get involved in.” Arnsbarger said. Arnsbarger has participated in TdL with her family! Together they have biked the trails, beginning with her kids being pulled in a cart behind her and her husband. As her children have grown, they’ve moved from the cart, to a tagalong style bike, and now ride alongside mom and dad.
Arnsbarger thought it “would be a fun and healthy thing for my kids to be included in.” Family time is important to everyone, and Arnsbarger takes advantage of family time by enjoying the beautiful trails of La Porte County with hers. The first year, Arnsbarger and her family rode the five-mile bike course. At the time her daughter Samira was five years old and her son Pierce had just turned two. After biking the five-mile course, it was time to challenge themselves more. Her kids had gotten older, and her admiration for TdL had gotten stronger. In 2014, the Arnsbarger family advanced to the fifteen-mile bike course which they repeated in 2015.
The Tour de La Porte is not only an athletic event, it is an event that brings family and friends together. Her motivation and strong love for La Porte continues to inspire the people around her to participate in TdL and to cheer others on.
Bring family and friends to take part in this event just like the Arnsbarger family has for the last five years.
Go to tourdelaporte.org for more information and to sign up for the event!