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  1. #1
    Retro on Steroids
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    High school MTB teams

    My daughter attends Sir Francis Drake High School at ground zero for mountain biking, San Anselmo California. The school is two blocks from the place where Gary Fisher and I opened our business "MountainBikes" in 1979.

    Some kids from a video class interviewed me for a project on hiker v. biker conflicts, and during the conversation I learned something wonderful.

    Drake High has a varsity mountain bike team, and I see the kids in their matching jerseys riding in groups, always with a coach, on weekends at the local private singletrack course. The team won the NorCal championship a couple of years ago.

    Here's what I didn't know about the team. In a school with fewer than 1100 students, there are SIXTY members of the MTB team! It is by far the most popular varsity sport, even though the kids have to supply their own bikes and arrange transportation to the events.

    If football players had to buy their own equipment and get to the games on their own, football would disappear.
    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that
    shui.

  2. #2
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    Woah thats a lot of people for that small of a school. I'm trying to start a composite team for Oakland, because my school (Oakland Tech) has 1600 people but only 4 who are intrested in rmountain biking and only 2 who can race.
    "My scraper bike go hard, I don't need no car."

  3. #3
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    Hey RR, San Marin in Novato also has a very competitive team that competes alongside Tam. I see 'em all the time on Burdell. Numbers are similar, I think. Great kids. I think Summit offers some sort of sponsorship/schwag to both teams.

    You should post this up on the Norcal board.

  4. #4
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    Wow. I would love to start a mountain bike team in my hishschool. But where i live 1000 kids is a lot! And it's hard considering the other mainstream sports gets in the way. Plus I only know of two other bikers at my school and only one has raced (i beat him woohoo!). But the park is only a couple miles away. If you live in/around Bedford, Va and your willing to coach a mountain bike team, LET ME KNOW!

  5. #5
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    i wish my school had a mtb team but its impossible when only 2 people in the whole school mountain bike out of 350 students. lots of people make fun of mountain biking in my school to me and i never get to see the other person who likes mountain biking in my school it sucks for me.

    why is mountain biking so unpopular most people i know have never mountain biked and in my school its like 2 mountain bikers to 200 basketball players.

  6. #6
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    This is one of the strongest mountain biking communities you will ever find.

    You see families riding together all the time in Fairfax and other near points. All 9 Marin High School have mountain bike teams. This is a community which understands mountain biking. The success is really cool but hardly rocket science.

  7. #7
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    I'm sure the availability of a lot of good places to ride has a lot to do with the popularity of mountain biking in the Marin County schools. On the other hand, the Marin County high school surfing teams suck.
    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that
    shui.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider
    I'm sure the availability of a lot of good places to ride has a lot to do with the popularity of mountain biking in the Marin County schools. On the other hand, the Marin County high school surfing teams suck.

    Wow...not to sound like a starf*cker, but you are the Charlie Kelly???

    We're not worthy.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThrashNY
    We're not worthy.
    I thought of a hundred tasteless responses to that, which I will keep to myself.

    Now, weren't we discussing HS sports?
    It don't mean a feng if it ain't got that
    shui.

  10. #10
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    Dude, I'd only barely heard of mountain biking in high school (late 90's in Indianapolis). My high school had something like 3,000 students there's no way you could have formed a HS mtb racing team. Our soccer program was limited enough that we couldn't afford to cut players who weren't very good (and forget about uniforms).

    I tried to form a cycling team in college, and it was only slightly better. We had a few riders on the team (2 guys, 1 girl). Still, I couldn't afford to race. I didn't have enough money for entry fees, transportation, or lodging. The school gave us a little bit of money, but it was only enough to cover the road racing season, and since those 3 riders all raced during the road season, if anyone wanted to race mtb they had to pay for it themselves.

    I sure hope those kids on the HS mtb teams understand how lucky they are, even if they do have to supply their own bikes and transportation to races.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider
    I thought of a hundred tasteless responses to that, which I will keep to myself.

    Now, weren't we discussing HS sports?
    You can take those comments down to F88 with us, and throw them around like it's everyday language.

    Very cool about your daughter's school team for sure.

    I work in a middle school, and have attempted to form a biking club with hopes way too high when I initially planned it out. Biking to middle schoolers in the community I work consists of BMX style bikes and worn out rigs that required much maintenance. Never a big turnout year after year.

    No HS bike teams around my area, although the high schools incorporated mtn bkg into the PE curriculum. I'm not sure if that's still the case though.

  12. #12
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    MTB is free spirited and fun

    but the infrastructure and culture to make it work is a lot elaborate and time consuming. That is where and MTB community comes in very handy; you have a ton of momentum and goodwill. They already understand the gray areas.

  13. #13
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    Norcal Series

    Is starting up again ( as some of you well know). Here is a link to the schedule:

    http://www.norcalmtb.org/race/index.htm

    Sadly, the only HS not to field a team is Marin Catholic (which I just don't get at all). Which is a shame, because I know they have a few phenomenal riders there.

  14. #14
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    According to the new rule book

    the Marin Catholic boys can ride as independants. The challenge for them is getting structured guidance and support.

  15. #15
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    That is great. My school never had one. I wish they had one. But I hope they don't have varsity jackets for mountain biking. That would be....I'll just keep my two cents to myself.

    Although try to open one in Texas and all the varsity football players will kick their ass.

    But my school had "varsity orchestra." One guy bought one, (nerdish guy) and he got his ass handed to him by football players. he never wore that jacket again.

    Heck, even cross country teams get criticism for having the varsity team and having varisty jackets.

    Sorry went off the trail.
    "Prison sports are really fun. I get used as a frisbee, a dartboard, and a second base!" - Kneemoi

  16. #16
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    Daff makes an interesting point

    Part of the challenge to setting up and sustaining and MTB racing club at a school is the cultural resistance. Cycling doesn't fit in with the long held views about what is sport or what is athletic.

    Just think of the conversations you have had with people who don't ride. It comes down to "you have how many bikes!?," it was how much?", or you rode 50 miles!!?" they have no way of relating. If you want to get somewhere you use a car. My favorite episode is often repeated in my local Barber Shop where my Barber, Jerry, never misses an opportunity to ask how my High School MTB Racing club is doing. Playboys close and newspapers drop when we talk about it. The response is, inevitably "you have a mountain bike racing team at your high school?! I love it.

    Our public image is manifest only in the sensational margins of our sport. Armored DH'ers screaming downhill, Gravity types with their feet flailing in the air doing tricks, and a month of watching a peleton of foreigners in skin tight clothing eat lunch out of a canvas purse.

    There is something inescapably antic in the perception of a bicycle. We are so enamored with the machine we no longer see it but it is still seen as something slightly arcane and a bit daffy. Think of the Wicked Witch in Oz or the eccentric old british lady on her 3-speed with a basket. These images are deep in our culture.

    I have heard athletes and coaches and parents say out loud that our cycling is not a sport. If you want sport then use a goal and a ball. The I talk with them about our training, our race courses and the distances we cover in all conditions and they tend to come around. Yet they don't come around so far as to share any Athletic Department money.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    I have heard athletes and coaches and parents say out loud that our cycling is not a sport. If you want sport then use a goal and a ball.

    I hate people who discriminate sports.

    Football jock said that anything that doesn't use a ball and a goal is not a sport.

    So I told him that wrestling isn't a sport either.

    He said wrestling is an exception. (He also wrestled)

    That was when I realized that they are not that smart.
    "Prison sports are really fun. I get used as a frisbee, a dartboard, and a second base!" - Kneemoi

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    the Marin Catholic boys can ride as independants. The challenge for them is getting structured guidance and support.
    And that Mike, is the issue. These guys would love to race, but as you know a large part of racing success boils down to back-end support. It' s not everything (you can race successfully as an independent) but it sure helps at the beginning and end of the day.

    Marin Catholic could easily hire a coach and form a team. They have the money--they just haven't made it a priority.

    I will pass the word along though.

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