Now that we're up and rolling with 8 riders and 8 coaches, we need your help to take this team to the next level. Please check out our GoFundMe campaign and share with your community. We could really use your support to make the dream of Richmond Composite a continued reality. Thank you! -Emilio, Sergio, Lily, Jacob, Donovan, William, Lucas, Harrison and all the coaches and families of Richmond Composite
It's with great pleasure that we welcome two new riders to the Richmond Composite family--Sergio and Lily. Learn a bit more about these two amazing people below in these interviews.
Lily is a Senior at Richmond High and new to mountain biking. She's the first female rider in the history of Richmond Composite and is a second generation US citizen of Laotian decent. Lily is a quick learner and we are so happy to welcome her to our team. Now hear from her about her experience thus far.
Q: What got you interested in mountain biking?
L: My teacher was advertising the club in class and it looked cool. I wanted to join but I had to make time for it. The first time I went mountain biking was with a friend who I ride with from Richmond to the Albany Bulb. After that I wanted to keep biking more because there’s other benefits to it.
Q: Who is a teammate you are proud of/impressed by and what about them do you appreciate?
L: I’m impressed by Jacob. My first practice he was there all geared up and gave me some tips to help me out. He was pushing through up the trails and he kept going. It was cool to see that he didn’t give up.
Q: What have you accomplished within mountain biking/the team?
L: I’d say getting to your final destination is rewarding because you ride from one place all the way to the other. You get to be outside and view the scenery and I enjoyed it.
Sergio is a Freshman at Richmond High. His family is originally from the Chila region of Mexico. He has two siblings, a cat "Gato" and likes to fish and hang out with friends. Sergio had his road bike stolen this past Fall and is stoked to be trying out mountain biking with the team on a bike with shocks for the first time. Now hear from Sergio.
Q: What have you accomplished within mountain biking/the team?
S: On Thursday I only walked once and I'm trying to accomplished that.
Q: How has participating with Richmond Composite changed you?
S: It changed me by who I am and full of experience.
Q: Any thanks/shout outs you want to give?
A: For Coach Levitt for telling be about this Mountain bike team.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
Closing practice recognizing our teammates accomplishments for the day. We had a lot to share.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
Come to the first Richmond Composite team meeting this Sunday.
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
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):
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.
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
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
Due to rain forecasted, we have to push back our final Fun Ride at Point Pinole one week to Sunday December 3rd. Good news is that you have extra time to RSVP! Link is below. See you there!