How do I make the team? Are there team tryouts?
The Jefferson County Composite Mountain Bike team does not have team tryouts. Everyone who shows up with a positive attitude, is willing to learn, and can participate regularly as a team member (attend practices and/or races) can join the team. The beauty of mountain biking is that no one ever sits on the bench and every single rider can participate in every practice and, if they choose, every race!
I am new to the sport and I have little experience. How can I integrate into this team?
The Jefferson County Composite Mountain Bike Team is here to accommodate all levels of riding ability and experience. We have different ride groups which train at levels appropriate to the rider’s ability and experience. Anyone who knows how to ride a bike can quickly learn the basics of safe mountain biking. If you are new to the sport, be sure to ask your coaches, as there are no questions not worth asking!
My son or daughter doesn’t know much about mountain biking or cycling. Will they be taught preparedness, safety and the basics of bike mechanics?
Yes, many of our ride leaders and coaches have been riding mountain bikes and other bikes for decades. Athletes will be taught what to bring to be prepared and how to ride safely on the trails and on the surface roads to reach trail networks.
Where, when and how often are team rides?
Our team training rides are held 2-3 times a week, typically Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Practices should start in early July and are held at Cliff Cave Park or at other trails in the St Louis County area.
How do practices work?
Typically each practice starts with a skills lesson and a game to incorporate the new skill. Then the team is divided into groups based on riding ability and we hit the trail for the remainder of practice. The night is completed by discussing the ride and setting goals for the next practice.
Each group will have at least one NICA certified coach or Ride Leader accompany them.
Ride volunteers are distributed throughout each group and there is always a ‘Sweep’ ride leader taking up the rear.
What do I need to bring to team rides?
- A well maintained mountain bike designed for trails and fire roads- a hardtail is the preferred type of bike
- A certified mountain bike helmet meeting safety requirements.
- Proper clothing for potential weather changes, especially an appropriate lightweight rain/ windbreaker jacket
- Water, either in a water bottle or a hydration pack worn as a backpack
- Snacks and nutrition bars
- A repair kit, an extra inner tube, and pump to repair a flat tire
- Gloves and glasses are highly recommended
How do I sign up? What is the Pit Zone?
The Pit Zone is an online resource that the team uses. It is administered by the team director, as well as by the Missouri league. This is where your athlete gets registered as a Missouri league racer and pays for the season. It is also where ride leaders are registered and certified for the team. Once you decide to join the team, you will receive an invitation to the Pit Zone.
To join the team, you need to contact us with a parent email as well as the student’s email. We’ll then send you the invite to Pit Zone!
How many practices am I required to attend?
Some athletes can only make one practice a week but train on their own due to other commitments. This is important because if you only train once a week, you will find it increasingly difficult to stay with the group and your experience will become less than satisfying. Athletes are encouraged to ride and practice as often as possible.
How much will I have to pay for a season?
The Jeffco Mountain Bike Team is not a sport financially supported by school athletics in Jefferson County. Therefore the team supports itself through sponsorship money and dues paid by individuals who are members of the team. At minimum, families should expect to pay these amounts for their involvement with the team:
- Initial registration. You will need to pay the $300 NICA fee to get started. In addition to providing insurance for your child while riding at NICA events, it also covers all of the pre-season events, all season practices, and all of the NICA events this year (you can attend and have fun whether you race or not).
- $0-$200 – Other cycling gear (shorts, jacket, vest, arm warmers, leg warmers, gloves, glasses)
- $0-$100 – Helmet (not optional)
- $0-250 – Lodging, campsites, etc, for away races (if you attend)
- $0-200 – Bicycle maintenance (tires, brake pads, chain, etc., spare tubes, if needed)
- $0-$2000 – Bike: If you are investing in a new bike, or want help picking out a quality used bike, please consult with a coach first.
What is the right type of bike for training and racing?
This is a very common question for incoming riders. Based on the terrain and trails we train on, and the courses we race on, a good choice is a hard tail 27.5” or 29”, though the 26″ tire size is fine, too. The hard tail means it does not have rear suspension, only front suspension. This makes it a lot less expensive. If you are investing in a new bike, or want help picking out a good used one, consult with a coach first as every rider’s needs are different. You may also use this guide as a starting point in your research.
As a parent, how can I be involved with the team?
Involvement with the team is one of the most fulfilling parts of this sport for any family. Parents have many opportunities to get involved with the team on multiple levels. This allows parents to stay connected to their kid’s athletic pursuits while interacting with many other like-minded parents. The feeling of camaraderie created by this team is unlike any other high school sport. Parents can become involved by:
- Becoming a ride leader and riding with the team during team training
- Volunteering in the dozens of positions available during race day
- Cheering from the start, finish and on the course during races
- Providing assistance with your talents that may include videography, photography, team party planning, meal planning, etc.
How can I sponsor the team?
There are 4 basic sponsorship levels. Bronze is $100. Silver is $250. Gold is $500. Platinum is over $1000. We’ll put your link on our sponsors page and we have plans to include logos and/or company names on training jerseys, tents, etc, but in our launch season we might not have those fancy things yet. If you’re ready to help the kids on our team, please visit our sponsors page for a donation link. You can also contact us at coaches (at) jeffcoMTB (dot) com if you’d like to know more.
Your sponsorship helps cover the cost of race and training jerseys for the kids, bike maintenance and equipment costs for less advantaged students, and will eventually be used for team canopies, race supplies, and other equipment used on race days.
When do the races start?
There are 5 races in a season. The races begin the last week of August. Races continue with one every two weeks until late Oct. The current schedule can be found at MICL’s website.
Where are the races and how does the team get there?
Race venues for the 5 races are in different corners of Missouri. At this time we aren’t sure of the venues, but expect cities like St. Louis, Springfield, KC, and Jefferson City to make the list.
Each athlete is responsible for their own transportation to and from the events. Athletes may carpool, arriving the afternoon before the event to pre-ride the course. These weekends are the payoff for all the hard work done in practices.
Do I have to race?
No! But in all the leagues around America, the common thing is for students to find out how cool the race events can be and then want to be a part of the action. Our coaches will teach you the fundamentals of trail riding, and the purpose of our league is to make that riding safe and enjoyable. Some students want to push themselves to try to win races, but the majority of our riders attend races simply to have fun and spend a weekend on mountain bikes with their friends! See the video below, from another NICA league, to see what it’s all about.