Crockett Hills delivers the Sugar!

Donovan leads the team down the flowing ribbon of singletrack known as "Sugar City"

Donovan leads the team down the flowing ribbon of singletrack known as "Sugar City"

For our latest Sunday team practice we took a brief 15 minute drive East on 80 to visit Crockett Hill Regional Park. What awaited us there was, as some students described, "a peak mountain biking experience."

Our route for the day took us on a 9 mile journey from the parking lot, up, up, up to the top of the trail network on a combination of wooded and wide open singletrack trails. The effort needed to get up the steep trail (450 ft in the first mile alone!) was real but the open views of the San Pablo Bay and the rolling green California winter hills was well worth it. Oh, and being at the top of the trail network also meant we got to go down!

Harrison was all laughs as he worked his way through the challenge (lots of tipping over) of trying out clipless pedals for the first time. 

Harrison was all laughs as he worked his way through the challenge (lots of tipping over) of trying out clipless pedals for the first time. 

While we enjoyed the climb up, hitting the flow trail called "Sugar City" was a real treat! (Get it? ;) It included rollers (like dirt speed bumps), tabletops, and sweeping bermed turns all the way from top to bottom. With an excited smile Emilio exclaimed, "It was super fun, but also kind of scary." when asked how he enjoyed the flow trail. 

Toward the top of the trail we practiced skills together including the ready position and moving our bodies in response to the changing terrain of a roller or feature, watching each other go over an obstacle until we got the hang of it. Then we sailed down together as shown in the video below. 

In mountain biking, what goes down, must go up so when we got to the bottom of the trail, we turned right up the most challenging climb our team has yet to face. With an average grade of 13% for 1/3 of a mile with sections over 20%, this climb is TOUGH! Another 1/3 of a mile and 150 feet of climbing and we're back at the top--Phew! 

Some of the crew, waiting to go. 

Just as what goes down, must go up, so must what goes up, go back down again. So, from our top perch we pointed our bikes down again, retracing our path back down to the parking lot on singletrack. 

Lucas muscles his way up the final portion of Edwards loop trail. 

Lucas muscles his way up the final portion of Edwards loop trail. 

Riders today started to really show massive improvements on the bike after working on skills and fitness for the last month. It was amazing to see Donovan spinning with such efficiency, riders practicing "active recovery" on the mellower sections of the climb, Emilio hanging on the wheel of the ride leader throughout the day, Harrison trying clipless pedals for the first time and laughing every time he'd tumble onto his side forgetting he was clipped in when we stopped as a group, and Lucas pushing the side knobs on his tires as he dug into the corners of the tight switchbacks. Even coach Reed, who was on his 3rd mountain bike ride ever, showed so much improvement as the day went on, learning and practicing skills along with the team. 

Lucas rides through the tunnel under Cummings Skyway. 

Lucas rides through the tunnel under Cummings Skyway. 

We soaked in the crisp blue skies and winter air, 60 degree weather and abundant signs of spring in the green explosions happening throughout the terrain all while pushing ourselves into better riders and friends. 

In the parking lot, at the end of practice each person shared something that they were proud of about another rider. From determination to improved skill, inspiring spirit to all out effort, these riders not only are becoming better mountain bikers but are becoming an encouraging group of teammates. We look forward to coming back to Crockett Hills again soon!

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Closing practice recognizing our teammates accomplishments for the day. We had a lot to share.

First Trip to China Camp

Lucas practicing cornering technique on one of the many switchbacks. 

Lucas practicing cornering technique on one of the many switchbacks. 

We took our first trip across the Richmond Bridge to ride the famous China Camp loop in San Rafael this past Sunday.  Nine miles of flowy singletrack, Bay and Redwood trees, sweeping views and a lot of good practice for our young riders. Here are the highlights. 

We warmed up for the ride by practicing switchbacks. William and Lucas were smooth like butter on these tough 180 degree turns uphill and down!

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At the end of the ride is when looked back on where we'd been that day. Lucas and William had to figure out where we started and which trails we took by using the map. Lucas found the "You are here" arrow to help orient him to our location. Then we traced our way around China Camp on our first great loop as a team. What an accomplishment!

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William spotted the first newt of the season on the side of the trail while taking a break. You never know what you're going to see when you slow down for a moment on trail. 

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About halfway through the loop the trail opens up and you can see the Richmond Bridge in the background as well as the San Pablo Bay. This is a great spot for a photo. 

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We got lucky and ran into the Albany High School MTB team who were out in force practicing some race loops and race starts. It was great to see some familiar (and friendly) faces and see a big team in action, all kitted up in their Albany High cycling gear, working hard for the season. We'll be there someday. We were humbled and inspired. 

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William got a pair of cycling shoes at a recent MTB skills camp. Now all he needed were the SPD pedals to pair with them. After practice William learned how to change pedals using a pedal wrench and some grease. After practice he took his first real ride around his neighborhood to practice the sensation of clipping in and out of the pedals. William is the first Richmond Composite student to try clipless pedals. We're looking forward to getting more kids "clipped in" soon. Lead the way William! 

Beginner MTB Skills Camp

Thanks to a very generous Norcal league board member, three of our team member we were able to attend an overnight beginner MTB skills camp on a private ranch in Petaluma this January. 

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The weekend consisted of meeting 30 other high school students new to mountain biking, learning new skills from a dozen coaches, riding a pro pump track, handbuilt singletrack, practicing a mock race, eating great food, camping, s’mores and of course a campfire filled with fun and plenty of stories. 

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Highlights included a standing ovation and human tunnel for our team rider Jacob as he made his way to the top of a big climb complete with 360 views. 

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Other highlights included team rider William absolutely lighting up the entire camp with laughter with his positive presence and lively antics at every turn and event. Also, William somehow found some riding glasses and all of a sudden turned into a pro racer before blazing through his first race out on the course.  

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One of the other champions of the weekend was team rider Lucas who took a spill pushing his limits cornering through a tough switchback. Although he went down, he kept his spirits high and even rallied the next day to get back out and ride with his group. Thumbs up Lucas! 

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Many games, fun stories, new friendships and memories later we were on our way home reflecting on all that had occurred in the past two days. What a gift! We can’t wait to see everyone at the races for more riding, hanging out and camping.  

Here are a couple more photos to show what a great weekend we had. 

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First Team Practice in the Books

On Sunday December 17th Richmond Composite had our first team practice ever! Six students and four coaches showed up to ride. Three loaner bikes were given to kids to take home as well as gloves, helmets and a LOT of amazing cycling gear for everyone. 

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We met at Alvarado Park and did some bike safety checks and fits for all the new riders. Then we circled up and kicked off our first season by practicing on a skills course in a grassy area mastering the ready position, cornering, braking and climbing before splitting into groups to hit the open trail.  

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We made our way in two groups, climbing up to the northern most part of Wildcat Park along a trail called Bonita. Then we rode our first proper singletrack trails through a network of open meadows and trails. We met up at a place we call “The Bench” because the view is incredible and there is an iconic bench sitting high above the park looking out to all of the Bay Area. 

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We did our first time trial on a little .4 mile section of mixed fire road and singletrack and then ripped down the trails we’d ridden up back to the meet up spot. 

We’re thrilled to start this team. There’s still time to come check out Richmond Composite. We’ll be accepting new riders until January 21st. Get in touch! 

Team Kick Off Success!

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We kicked off our season with a team meeting yesterday at Rich City Rides. Prospective students and their parents sat together with coaches to talk about the season, what it means to be on a high school mountain bike team and most importantly sign up!

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We shared our excitement and fears about participating with the team and everyone got excited about camping together as well as getting stronger and encouraging each other on and off the bike. We capped off the meeting by watching the new Norcal video featuring other high school racers from around the area.

We’ll be accepting new riders through the middle of January, but the sooner you sign up the better! That way you can see if you like it and enjoy a full season with everyone.  

Our first official practice is Sunday 12/17 at Alvarado Park. Join us! 

Team Meeting & Orientation Sunday December 10th

Come to the first Richmond Composite team meeting this Sunday. 

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If you’re interested in riding with Richmond Composite this year, join us for this informative team meeting and orientation on Sunday December 10th @ Rich City Rides from 2-4pm.  

When: Sunday December 10th // 2:00pm-4:00pm

Where: Rich City Rides (1500 Macdonald Ave, Richmond, CA 94801)

Why: Team Orientation, What is high school mountain biking? What is Richmond Composite? How much time does it take? What will we be doing this year? Who are the coaches? and more! This is a chance for students and parents interested in learning more about this team to ask questions and hear directly from coaches.

What: We'll have some light food, a short presentation information, we'll show a great documentary about high school mountain biking in Northern California and we'll be giving away a LOT of free gear. You Won't Want to Miss This! 

 RSVP via email or text

RichmondComposite@gmail.com (510) 974-3154

Celebrating the Fun Rides

Hands went in after every ride. Four photos from four Fun Rides. 

Hands went in after every ride. Four photos from four Fun Rides. 

After four successful Fun Rides at four different Richmond parks, we're ready to start the season. But before we do that, lets celebrate how fun those Fun Rides really were! Here's a look at the Fun Rides (Click each ride for Photos):

Ride #1 - October 22nd @ Nichol Park

Ride #2 - November 4th @ Miller/Knox Park

Ride #3 - November 12th @ Alvarado Park

Ride #4 - December 3rd @ Point Pinole

All told we had 16 different students representing 7 different high schools in the area attend a Fun Ride as well as 9 different Richmond Composite coaches and 3 Trips for Kids staff. We also had 3 rockstar parents jump on a bike to ride with us too! Over 40 students reached out to RSVP for a Fun Ride which was amazing to know that 40 high school students in the area were interested in getting out and mountain biking with us this Fall. That's a lot of numbers yes, but somehow they don't all add up to equal the amount of fun we had. That number is uncalculateable, but if we had to wager, we'd say we had more fun than trees have leaves, or something in that range.

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Students who attended a Fun Ride reported highlights such as loving to get outside, being active, eating snacks, climbing (yes, climbing!), seeing the bay, views from high up in the hills overlooking Richmond, riding singletrack, meeting new friends and learning new skills.

Why did students join a Fun Ride?

"It's going to be a great opportunity to keep my mind fresh and share experiences with new people." - Harrison
"Because i love to bike and i especially love nature and ive never been out that much of my house." - Monserrat
"I wanted to try something new." -Vicente 

What's Next?

We're going to start our season shortly. We'll be having a couple of events to help students and their families learn more about what it means to be on a high school mountain bike team and then we'll start riding together weekly! Stay tuned to get involved. We'd love to have you join #RichmondComposite

Last Fun Ride Sunday November 26th!

Our last Fun Ride is set for Sunday November 26th @ Point Pinole from 10am-12:30pm. We have limited availability. Sign up soon! RSVP here.

Now, here's a recap of our 3rd Fun Ride at Alvarado Park on 11/12/17. 

Lets just start here. 

Or should we really start here?

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Or is here most appropriate?

Really though, I think this says it all. 

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Our numbers are growing. Join us. After the last Fun Ride we begin the team and all are invited to participate. Keep an eye on our website and Instagram for updates on getting Richmond Composite up and rolling. 

Thank you to all who have come out for a Fun Ride thus far. See you on the 26th @ Point Pinole!

-Richmond Composite

What happens at a Fun Ride?

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When you arrive to a Fun Ride you see bikes everywhere. They are leaned up against trees, on their sides in lines and likely being pedaled around a skills course made of orange cones. There are people too, the friendly kind, ready to say hello, extend a hand and welcome you to the group. 

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We circle up and introduce ourselves to the group and get oriented to the bikes we’re about to ride—brakes, air, shifters, seat height and more. Then before you know it we’re all pushing the pedals, off to ride the skills course and practice some new mountain bike skills like “ready position” or switchbacks!

After we practice, we go explore. At our October 22nd Fun Ride we rode along the Richmond Greenway, a largely paved bike/pedestrian pathway that runs though the heart of Richmond. We stopped to play in the future site of “Dirt World” where someday (hopefully soon) Richmond will have a world class dirt pump track and skills park. In the meantime we’ll still enjoy the dirt rollers and mini pump track. 

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At our second Fun Ride on Saturday November 4th we were riding at Miller Knox park along the shoreline near Point Richmond. We started on grass and did our best to avoid pavement as we snaked our way through picnic areas and BBQ pits toward the gravel and dirt trails out by the point. Whoops and hollers were heard as tires spit mud out in a rooster tail out the bike—signs that we were now indeed mountain biking. 

Once out at the point we took in the views. We could see the Golden Gate, Bay and Richmond/San Rafael bridges as well as seemingly every Island in the Bay. We took it all in, handed out some maps to help show where we’d be going next, snapped a few photos and jumped back on the bikes. 

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We continued our ride out along the Bay Trail, a protected bike path that runs along much of the Richmond area shoreline. We stoped to share some Richmond history and see how our piers and shoreline is being used today. Oh, and of course we ride!

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We reached our turning around point at the end of a leg of the Bay Trail and had to take a couple more pictures, tell a few more stories and point out where we’d be riding November 12th at Alvarado Park which could be seen as we traced the Wildcat Canyon ridgeline to it’s northern terminus.  

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We turned around and jammed back the way we came, making sure to hit as much dirt, gravel and some fun singletrack on the way back, practicing our ready position and switchbacks with finess! When we returned high fives were given generously, favorite parts of the day were shared and a hearty “See you next week at Alvarado Park!” Was exclaimed. “Hands in. Richmond Composite on three. 1...2...3!”

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Want to get involved? Join us for a remaining Fun Ride by clicking this link. All are welcome and we’ll even bring you a bike! We ride again: 

Sunday November 12th @ Alvarado Park - 10am-12:30pm

Sunday November 26th @ Point Pinole - 10am-12:30pm