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  1. #1
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    South Bay Composite High School Mountan Bike Team

    Announcing the formation of the South Bay Composite High School Mountain Bike Team.
    The season has started, so we are starting late but "better late than never".

    The Del Mar High School Team is changing. We are becoming a composite team, meaning we can take riders from other schools.

    This is a 5 race series with a couple of practices during the week and one on the weekend. In the past we have had racers doing two sports - working out the practice schedule accordingly.

    If you know of a high school student that is interested, have them contact me for additional infomation.

    Kathleen Meyer
    mtbikermom at yahooo dot com

  2. #2
    YESBRO!!!
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    awesome! good luck to you!

  3. #3
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    Good job and good luck.

    For some reason the south bay has been a tough nut to crack. I took a position at a Campbell Union HS District school who implied that they would be excited about a MTB team, only to have everyone in charge wimp out and cite weak excuses.

    I wish all of you a great season and see you on Sunday!

  4. #4
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    From what i have notice the southbay high school riders seems more interested in downhill racing. My club has 4 downhill racers that represents the club at their races.

  5. #5
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    And some like the riding, not the racing

    We had several kids that like the riding but not racing. One kid put way too much on his plate and can't do everything.
    I have one kid that wants to race but what fun is it going to be for a sophomore boy to train witha femile coach? The kids need peers just like us.
    What club are you at the races?

    Kathleen

  6. #6
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    Los Gatos has a team that has been training, but I don't know about their racing schedule. I saw a few of them at the last Kings of Kennedy ride several months ago. I'm trying to get my nephew (HS age) to a CCCX race. There were several coastal high school teams at the first CCCX XC race.
    Where would these 5 races be?
    Could riders from other schools compete for their schools?

  7. #7
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    Good call.

    The greatest predictor of the success of a team is the experience and desire adults bring to the effort combined with the athletic talent the kids show up with. Even more potent is the ambient XC talent in the community. This is why the Marin teams and teams surrounding race venues like CCCX, Toro, and TBF are so successful right out of the blocks.

    Other communities may have a germ of talent, adult and teen, within their High school giving the team a start. Building a bike team, though, is a matter of gathering all sorts of cycling talent including BMX and DH. In addition other athletic resources in the school must be formed to provide a greater inertia and dynamic presence on campus. El Cerrito Racing was formed of 1 XC rider and a bunch of skateboarders, jumpers, BMX'ers, kids who couldn't manage other "team" sports, an interested dad, a mountain biker with teen experience, and a teacher with passion. When the initial XC talents pass on the other riders and adults who have been developed keep the club going.

    Not all schools can make it past the initial stages for more than a season or two. Fine communities with schools like Windsor, Rocklin, Casa Grande, Salinas, and Woodside have come and gone and returned again later. Others have just disappeared or found their more motivate athletes gravitate to Composite groups where no one school has the resources to maintain a club.

    Individual schools thin on mtb talent have to work hard to develop athletes who can ride in safety and build the skills needed to race. Often a club is caught in a Catch 22 where athletes do not participate enough due to lack of dedication or lives too busy to be able to contribute well to the overall effort. New talents generally demand a lot of skill to manage. Some consume more resources than others and, in spite of that investment, may not succeed.

    When developing nascent talent there is a certain flexibility required to keep the kids involved, as the habits for regular attendance to practices do not exist. The relatively even style of XC riding compared to DH or BMX may be too great an adjustment for some and the supervising talent may not be abundant enough. Riders who show up infrequently continue to display the early-season problems of a lack of fitness and sharpness, insufficient gear and clothing support, or a poorly prepared or maintained bike. This can make a group ride with limited supervision a real nightmare with supervisors having to hold entire groups back, yet again and again, due to bonking, hydration and nutrition problems, mechanicals or accidents, all so simple to minimize with good attendance to practices.

    As such the drive for normalizing the team to the XC model and the demands for practice can lose athletes and is tricky. This is a concept adult riders often cannot understand as they created themselves as mountain bikers. Groups and teams of teens have other demands for survival; the management of new power and new freedom and a rapidly developing mind and body is a whole different kettle of fish. Add to that the idea that training to race is not just riding around. Just listen to the difference between how we talk on the Norcal Forum and how we talk on the XC Racing and Training forum.

    Further there are serious liability issues to manage. The concept of freedom on a bike is central to mtb yet it must be managed with an eye to the overall success of the group and, ultimately, the Racing League. Working with minors also places some very specific demands on adult behavior and the kind of cycling risks we can support. We don’t jump or promote “tricks”, though there are schools that do. We don’t ride with the kids off-season, though there are teams that do. We don’t promote a lot of the gnarly riding we adults do or press the kids beyond skills we know they have though there are teams that do. The piper will be paid, sooner or later.

    One of my long-time coach/mechanics, Lincoln Linsmith says “it’s all cool until it’s not.” My former Head coach Jeremiah Holland, a teacher at El Cerrito says, “ it only takes one bad event to cancel the entire program.” Alicia Butler of the YMCA said to me, “what I don’t want is for some Y in the future to be able to say ‘remember that kid who was hurt in Albany when they tried to teach mtb?’” Institutionally, poor supervision of a sport, which meets resistance at every turn, is deadly. It is something to keep in mind when some well-meaning but poorly experienced “coach” just wants to let the kids run free. There are, as much as the mtb-er in us wants to avoid them, limits and these limits make lines past which some kids do not progress.

    In this next statement I do not claim to speak for the NorCal High School Racing League. I speak only from my 7 seasons as a Director and Coach of 2 separate teams, El Cerrito Racing and Albany High Cougars, and as founder of the Albany YMCA MTB Program. While ALL ARE WELCOME, not everyone can do this NorCal thing. Adult talents new to this magnificent effort don’t want to hear that but after a season or two it sinks in. Once one learns to honor the effort needed to ride together in such numbers with such varied talents and venues it is clear that some kids, sadly, are not a very good fit. The one solution, which minimizes this effect, is that large numbers of adult volunteers go a long way to support the kind of flexibility needed to keep these athletes safely involved. Heaps of money works, too. Absent that, hard decisions have to be made.

    So, Kathleen, what you have done is learned, survived, and pooled your resources with others to form a Composite. I think it is a marvelous piece of work and look forward to seeing you and Sheldon at Ft. Ord this Sunday. Congratulations and best wishes. We are lucky to have you with us.

    Michael Mejia
    Albany High Cougars

    El Cerrito from start to full fledged running. The first image is from 2002, the second in 2007.
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    Last edited by Berkeley Mike; 02-24-2009 at 11:37 AM.

  8. #8
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    For information about the NorCal League go to

    www.norcalmtb.org

    Many things are possible. Look under RACES for a Schedule, Teams, and Rules.

  9. #9
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    Very well explained

    Thanks for laying that out, Mike.

    Kind of sounds like trying the keep the MTB horde in line as a general rule.

  10. #10
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    How did you know it was Sheldon?

    That's funny Mike.

    Yes, we are far behind on our training. He will have to catch up as the season progresses. Hopefully we can find him team mates to ride with.

    Good explaination too...

    Kathleen

  11. #11
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    so sweet. good job to you. i had the hardest part getting parent/teacher to want to coach.

  12. #12
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    pbXC speak volumes

    I watched him try to get something going with the help of his family. It just wasn't in the cards.

    By the way Sheldon and Miguel raced together in last seasons Frosh 900 class.

  13. #13
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    And that awesome finish pic

    of Miguel and Sheldon is hanging in their living room (it was a lucky shot on my part but I'll take it!),


  14. #14
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    It was a memorable start to NorCal Racing for both boys

    who raced together throughout the season. In this photos after a 56 rider crash 70 yards from the finish Miguel outsprinted the rest to the line for a top finish as no one could get out of the big sprinting gears they had crashed in. At season's end Sheldon beat out Miguel 2252 pts to 2251 and were compadres. Gotta love that!
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  15. #15
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    I finally found this one.

    This is what it is all about.
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    Man props to all of you guys. I'm a junior right now but school's still pretty crazy or I would be out riding with a team. Planning on pursuing my racing goals in college, hopefully it won't be too late by then :P.

  17. #17
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    Man props...

    I'm not sure about this one but perhaps it's like "guys" in referring to both genders.


    I am still having trouble uploading the photo (and here I thought I had it figured out!).
    Sheldon & Miguel crossing the finish line...


    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mtbikermom

    Kathleen

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