WELCOME TO THE 2011 SEASON With the turn of the calendar into 2011 the season begins to spool up. Some clubs have been holding events since the first

With the turn of the calendar into 2011 the season begins to spool up. Some clubs have been holding events since the first day they could register (October 15th), some have been practicing since December 1st, and some are just now having their first meetings and practices. No matter what type of club you work with, once the winter break is over the acceleration into the season begins. Before you know it the season will be a blur of practicing, planning, and racing. Then, on May 16th, you'll wake up and say "what happened?" as you're getting out of bed the day after State Championships. At that point there will be a few more weeks to unwind, have a few last fun rides, have your season ending party, and head toward finals and summer break. Cherish the whole season. It is a giant undertaking but you will notice the transformation of so many of your student-athletes. We look forward to working with you this racing season.

Thanks to the generousity of Head Coach Dave Peery and Assistant Coach Dave Lansing of Woodcrest Christian High School the League is building a pump track! What is a pump track? It's a short track (ours will fit in a 100x100 foot square) composed of rolling humps and bermed turns that teach a rider to move forward without pedaling and by "pumping" their bike through the pedals and bars. HERE is a link to the Sea Otter Pro Pump Track new NICA skills guru Lee McCormack built (please disregard the fact some riders are not wearing helmets). We are pleased that Lee will be coming out from Colorado, design in hand, and overseeing the build of our track. Our track will be similar but with slightly less aggressive features making it easy for anyone from a complete novice to a highly skilled rider to learn and fine tune their skills. Pump tracks allow riders to refine their understanding of how a bike and rider move over varied terrain allowing them to ride more confidently on the trail.

When all is complete the SoCal League will have a resource we can use to hold skills clinics for a long time to come. Municipalities regularly deliberate for months or years on this type of project and, while some pump tracks pop up in neighborhoods periodically, they are often built without the mathematical knowledge needed to create a track with true flow. Please contact Matt Gunnell at matt@socaldirt.org to RSVP with an approximate number attending each day or with any questions.

Saturday January 22:
• Who? Coaches, parents, and student athletes.
• Work Begins at 8:00 AM (you are welcome to arrive as late as 9:30 AM)
• Cost is $0
• Bring gloves, glasses, flat shovels, rakes, hoes, bikes, helmets (we may have time to break things in if the work gets completed).
• We will finish by 4:00 PM

Sunday January 23:
• Moderated Jam with skills pointers by Lee McCormack from 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
• Come any time --- there is no start/finish time!
• Cost is a suggested donation of $20 including a BBQ lunch (helps defray Lee's design, build, and teaching costs).

The League is offering two one day rider camps prior to the start of the season. The camps take place Saturday February 5th at Bonelli Park in San Dimas and Sunday February 6th at Chesoboro Canyon in Agoura Hills. These one day camps are a great way for new and returning riders to learn or refresh their skills and have a fun day of riding while meeting other League riders. They are a great ice breaker and are especially beneficial to first year League riders. Riders in 7th and 8th grade with basic riding experience are also welcome at these camps.

Coaches, we rely on you to help us put on the camps! Please send an email to Matt Gunnell at matt@socaldirt.org letting us know if you can help at one of the camps. Duties will include assisting with a League skills clinic and leading/sweeping groups of riders on an afternoon trail ride. Time spent helping at a camp counts toward hours needed to complete a coach license.

The Paramount Ranch Roundup is a first time pledge ride the League is putting on Saturday February 19th. This event will directly benefit YOUR CLUBS by raising funds. How will this work? The ride is open to club riders, coaches, parents, or interested community members. Riders will pay no entry fee but will commit to raising a minimum of $125 (adults) or $75 (youth) to participate. During registration, riders will have the ability to select the club they are supporting. All funds raised above $25 per person will be split 50/50 between League and club. The $25 per person will get the rider a supported ride on a short dirt course, a t-shirt, insurance, live music, and a BBQ supper. Use this as an opportunity to raise funds for your club in a fun League environment. Start spreading the word about the event. Several coaches are already registered and raising funds for their clubs. Click HERE for the event website.

Are you an active Head Coach, Assistant Coach, or Ride Leader? Have you registered with the online Pit Zone? If you haven't registered you are not classified as a coach. To be recognized (and insured) you must be registered. At a minimum this means you've registered online, paid the annual registration fee (this gets you your coaching insurance), and taken the online background check (done when you first register). If you've completed those three easy steps, you qualify for a General Volunteer license and can begin taking the steps needed to upgrade to a Head Coach, Assistant Coach, or Ride Leader license with the knowledge you are covered by League insurance for your coaching activities. If you are with an existing club, your Team Director must "invite" you from within the Pit Zone. You'll know you've been invited when you receive the email asking you to register. Please contact matt@socaldirt.org with general questions or tyler@nationalmtb.org if you are checking on the status of an existing license.

As time permits we update the SoCal League website. We are currently linking club websites, blogs, or facebook groups to the site. Please take a look at the "Teams" page and note the list of projected clubs for 2011. Does your team have an internet presence that is not listed? If we are linked, are we linked to the page you want? Please email matt@socaldirt.org with any updates.

The SoCal League recently launched a coach only facebook group. Since the launch, coaches have been sharing ideas and information and the League has used the group to put timely information out to coaches. If you facebook, the groupI can be found HERE. Please feel free to use this group as a touchstone to share coaching ideas, coaching questions, and equipment and clothing exchanges.

There are several important dates to add to your coaching calendar. More information will be forthcoming but dates and locations (unless noted as tentative) are firm at this time:

• January 15-16, 2011. SoCal Wilderness First Aid for Mountain Bikers
First Aid training for coaches and interested volunteers and riders. Crescenta Valley High School.

• January 22-23, 2011. Pump Track Raising for League coaches and riders. Work day the 22nd. Moderated track session the 23rd. Meanda Grove, Riverside.

• February 5-6, 2011. SoCal Rider Clinics.
Two one-day rider clinics to refresh the skills of returning riders and introduce new riders to SoCal League skills and culture.

• February 19. Paramount Ranch Roundup.
Fun fundraising ride for both the League AND the clubs to be held at Paramount Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

• March 6. Race #1 at Vail Lake, Temecula.
SoCal Series opener.

• March 27. Race #2 at Keysville.

• April 10. Race #3 (location pending).

• May 1. Race #4 at Vail Lake, Temecula
SoCal Series finale on more challenging course.

• May 15. State Championships at Los Olivos.**

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