St. Francis High School

*Mountain Biking » Introduction


2015-16 St. Francis High School Mountain Bike Team
(*Not a CIF-sanctioned sport)

The St. Francis High School Mountain Bike Team will provide students with a structured environment where they will learn how to safely ride mountain bikes and then compete in a 6-race series February through May. The Team is part of the SoCal series ( We will race against other Southern California high schools.
This is the eight year of the SoCal series and the St. Francis team. With the financial support of the Easton Foundation, the series was started with the guidance of a very successful Northern California high school mountain bike league called NorCal ( Now there are high school mountain bike leagues in over 30 states with national support from NICA. (
Why cycling? Cycling is a family-friendly fitness activity that can be done lifelong and with great social qualities. Enthusiasm for cycling as an alternative sport and healthy lifestyle is at an all-time high, especially here in Southern California with so many great places to ride. (By the way - baseball and football are not Olympic sports. Cross-country mountain biking is.)
Training and racing with a team provides life lessons in self-discipline, teamwork and sportsmanship, along with fitness and camaraderie.  Some sports tend to favor certain body types. Cycling is different. The bicycle is an equalizer, showing little favor to any particular body type by adapting to each rider with correct frame sizing, adjustment of seat height and stem length.  Since a good “bike-fit” is important, be sure to consult with the coach before purchasing a new or used bike.
How Much Experience Does My Son Need?
Our goal is to work with students of ALL abilities. We will start riding by introducing the students to the absolute very basics and then advancing the riding and skill level as we progress towards the first race in February. Students will not be forced or coerced into riding trails that they are not comfortable riding on.
For students new to cycling, immediate immersion into training, racing and the pressure to perform may be intimidating. This is the reason the league has carefully designed individual racing classes so beginners, intermediate and advanced riders are pitted only against peers of similar ability and experience. We will do our best to carefully place riders in the following categories: freshmen, sophomore, junior varsity, and varsity.
Students will be required to attend 4 weekly rides and 12 morning workouts in December/January. Regular attendance is critical as the training is progressive. If your son is involved in other activities or other team sports and will not be able to attend the rides or practices, please let me know so that we can discuss how the mountain bike team may be able to work for him.
Is Participating Dangerous?  Are you new to cross-country mountain biking?  Forget what you have seen on TV with the X-Games or soft drink commercials. In cross-country bike races, the average speed is usually around ten to twelve miles per hour. This is an endurance sport where the fittest students win. Based on experience from all of the teams that have participated in the SoCal league, the league may see one or two broken bones, some sprains, a few cuts, some bruises, lots of nicks and scrapes, but little else. Statistically, students on mountain biking will suffer fewer serious injuries than most other mainstream sports, especially contact sports.
We will do our best to minimize the risks to your son. Risky behaviors are discouraged or forbidden. The SoCal league helmet rule is strictly enforced and we teach each student bike-control skills early in the season to minimize the risk of crashing. After all, if you crash you not only risk injury but also lose valuable time during races. Even with our best efforts, crashes and injuries can occur. We will do our best to provide many parent/coaches as ride leaders, each equipped with a first aid kit and cell phone on every ride.
Time Commitment:
Beginning December 2nd, we will have three rides a week. The rides will take place on Tuesday, Thursday afternoons after school, and on Saturday mornings, for a total of approximately 8 to 12 hours a week of riding. (There are no Wednesday rides during the first 6 weeks of the season because of morning workouts). This training and education will lead up to 6 races in February through May. We will follow a “periodization” training plan that is long enough to insure that the student progresses at a rate gradual enough to avoid injury, and long enough to achieve peak fitness by season’s end.
For the first 6-8 weeks of the season, we will also have morning workouts two days a week. (M W 6:15am to 7:15am). These morning workouts are required. The morning workouts will include light running, body-weight workouts, and stretching.
            Rides: Tues & Thurs, 3:00pm to 5:00pm, Sat 8:00am to 11:00am
            Workouts: Mon & Wed 6:15am to 7:15am (First 6 weeks of season)
Students should make every effort possible to attend all rides for the first 8 weeks of the program. This is to make sure that your son learns the skills necessary to safely ride and race with the team.
Attendance - Students must participate in all Mountain Bike Team workouts, practices, and races. Riders will be dismissed from the team after 5 unexcused absences. One unexcused absence will be removed from the rider’s attendance after a rider participates in 10 consecutive workouts or practices. All excused absences must be reported to Coach Hamilton by December 1.
Other Sports and Activities – Riders are encouraged to participate in other St. Francis High School activities. Riders are excused from Mountain Bike Team practices if they are an active member of another St. Francis High School sport (Cross-Country, Soccer, Football, Baseball, Basketball, Track & Field, Volleyball) on days when there is a conflict during that sports season. Students are also excused from practices if they participate in other school activities such as drumline, chorus, student council, or KNIT. (It has been my experience that theater and Academic Decathlon require 100% attendance. Please speak with me if you are considering these activities). Club sports or activities outside of St. Francis should not conflict with a rider’s attendance. Please communicate all St. Francis sports or activities that you will be participating in and the conflicts with the Mountain Bike Team to the Head Coach.
The rides will all be in and around the trails and mountains near St. Francis High School. The races will be in Southern California. (Lake Perris, Temecula, Riverside, Keyesville, & Los Olivos). The Team will not be providing transportation for the students, and each student is encouraged to travel to the races with their parents. Because the races may be 2 to 3 hours away, our team will camp out or stay at a local hotel and spend the weekend together, as a family.
Listed below is an approximate breakdown on the costs associated with participating:
Team Dues                                            $50.00 Due 11/21/15
Team Uniform (Cycling Kit)                      $150.00 (Needs to be purchased by 12/4/15)
Team Helmet (White)                              $80.00-$100.00
SoCal League Membership                     $50.00
SoCal League Race Entry Fee                $45.00 per race x 5
We have also raised close to $2,500.00 through corporate sponsorship of our Team. This money will be used for scholarships to those families or students that may not be able to cover any or all of the expenses associated with this program. It is my goal that no student be denied participation due to a lack of resources. If you need assistance with equipment, or team dues, please contact me anytime.
The hardest part for many families will be acquiring all of the required equipment. Each student will need, at a minimum, the following:
         Mountain bike
         Snell approved bicycle helmet (most helmets are Snell approved)
         Flashing red tail light for use on bike during training rides
         Click in pedals (called “clipless”) are required for both safety and efficiency
         Cycling shoes
         Gloves and eye protection (recommend generic sport glasses under $10)
         Cycling shorts (lycra or baggy)
         One team uniform (jersey and shorts)
         Wind breaker, leg warmers, and arm warmers
         Cycling Trainer. (Suggested is Kinetic by Kurt).         
Please contact me if you need help purchasing any equipment. Local Bike Shops that offer discounts to our Team include Montrose Bike Shop, Pasadena Cyclery, Helen’s, and InCycle. I also want to make sure that you get the right equipment, so please check with me before buying anything.
Parents will be encouraged to join their students at the races. Unfortunately, unless you have completed the ride leader, assistant coach, or coaches training, you won’t be able to join us on team training rides. Coach Donovan and I will discuss with you in the future specific opportunities that you will have to help. Because some of you may be sending your sons off to college and adult life soon, this will be a great opportunity for you to spend time with them in a positive environment.
Code of Conduct:  We are committed to safety. We think about safety, teach safety and require each rider to always ride in a safe and controlled manner. Riders who repeatedly flaunt our safety rules or engage in behaviors that present unnecessary risk to themselves or others will be dropped from the Team. As visible representatives of St. Francis High School and ambassadors of cycling, students are expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with that status and follow the SFHS rules of behavior at all times. If a team member is seen with his leg over the bike without a helmet at any time during the season, the rider will be removed from the team – no warnings.
Community Service:  As part of being on the Team, we will be performing community service during the year, together, as a team.
Required Forms
All students must have the St. Francis athletic participation forms and concussion test forms filled out and on file with the athletics department prior to the first practice in December. In addition, release of liability waivers from the SoCal League will be provided prior to our first ride. These forms are available from a link on the mountain bike Team website.
I will do my best to provide each of you with clear lines of communication. I know as a parent that it is sometimes hard to juggle all of the different activities and calendars. I send out lots of emails and it is the #1 method that I use to communicate with the team.
            Email List. (Please make sure that I have your email address)
            Team Facebook Page:
Please check your email and team calendar before any ride or race for any last minute changes!