DIRECTOR'S NOTE As we approach the final two races of the season we know that the competition is fierce, the practices are challenging, and all of yo

As we approach the final two races of the season we know that the competition is fierce, the practices are challenging, and all of you dedicated coaches are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of getting much of your personal time back near the end of May. We encourage you to stay engaged through State Championship weekend which is only 30 days away. We know the amount of effort you are all putting in and it shows in the enthusiasm of your student-athletes and their families. We also know that many of you have been working with your clubs several days a week since between October and January and burnout can start setting in. Make sure you keep things fun! Change up a practice or two between now and the end of the season. Have a relay. Go through basic skills again in the format of a game. Keep things entertaining. In the end, bike riding, is a fun activity and sometimes just a chance to have a fun ride in the warming spring sun is all it takes to recharge for the end run. There are many important items in this newsletter so be sure to read it to the end.

See you on the dirt!

With most of the races this year we've been lucky enough to have people come forward and volunteer to make our races happen. However, sometimes those volunteer rosters don't fill up until race weekend. Though we are confident we can usually fill the spots, encouraging your clubs to volunteer early and often when the volunteer requests come out is helpful in letting us prepare for the races instead of furiously trying to plug people in at the last minute. This will especially come into play for State Championships. This is the first time SoCal has hosted State Championships and the first time it's a stand alone event. The NorCal League is used to an extremely high level of production at their races and we want to show them that we are up to the task of meeting or exceeding their standards. We will need support from all of the clubs to pull this off. We will also need extra help on Saturday in positions that we don't usually fill Saturday. Keep your eyes filled for those requests!

League races are for the student-athletes. Coaches and parents may not ride on the course during a race within 200 meters of any competitor. If a coach or parent needs to use a bike to get in position they must do so without interfering with any riders. We have had reports of non-competitors integrating with rider fields on course and, unfortunately, we have had reports of Sweeps advising these non-competitors to clear the course and being ignored or argues with. Please remember that Sweepers are race officials. Please take time to read through the coach and parent codes of conduct under sections 13 and 14 of the NICA rulebook and encourage parents to do the same. In the end, we are a primarily volunteer organization doing our best to create a positive environment for the student-athletes to thrive in and it takes all of us working together to ensure this occurs.

Remind your riders to call out their passes. A rider coming up on a slower rider should call out "tracking left" if they want to pass on the left or "tracking right" if they want to pass on the right. Best practice is to start calling out your intentions early to give the rider being passed ample warning to begin looking for a safe spot to move over. A fast rider coming upon a slower rider quickly and then yelling out when already on the slower rider's wheel has a tendency to startle or over stress the rider being passed which sometimes leads to confusing situations and potential entanglement between the riders. Reinforce these rules and practices with your riders and don't hesitate to make a drill of this scenario.

SoCal Finals are May 1st at Vail Lake. This is race #4 of 4 races in the SoCal Series. Because of this, the podium ceremony will be extended length. This is necessary in order to not only give out race day individual and team awards but overall individual and team awards. Award definitions and descriptions are in the NICA rulebook but following are a few key points to help you prep your riders for situations that may arise:

Overall team awards will be given 3 places deep in Division 1 and Division 2. Team awards are based on the total of all 4 races of the season.
Overall individual awards are based on the best 3 of 4 races. This means there can be significant changes to standings at the last race. Overall Leader Jerseys to this point have been based on a running total of the points gained by a rider in each race. A rider who completes all 4 races in the series is awarded a 25 point bonus at the conclusion of the final race.
There will be a final Leader Jersey awarded in each field. The rider awarded the final jersey is the "winner" of that field for the series. The rider will wear the Leader Jersey representing SoCal at the State Championship race.
In the event of a tie on points for overall winner of a field, two final jerseys will be awarded.
There may be additional recognitions awarded during the final podium ceremony.

State Championships is a stand alone race being held May 15th at Stumpgrinder Dirt Club in Los Olivos (the site of the final SoCal race in 2009 and 2010). Registration is now open for individually qualified riders and for all riders on qualified teams. Please read through ALL of the following items and contact with any questions! Much of this information is time sensitive!

NICA rule 8.4B states:
"If an individual rider places in the top 80% of a California NICA League race they
qualify for the State Champs." This means that individual riders who do not qualify as part of a qualifying team (and independent riders) need to finish in the top 80% of their field at least one time this season. To determine if you qualify as an individual do the following:

Find the field you raced in (ie JV Boys D1, Varsity Girls, etcetera),
Count the total number of starters (DNF riders count as starters) and place that number on the bottom of a fraction,
Find your placing in the field and place on the top of a fraction,
Divide the top number by the bottom number,
If the resulting quotient (the 'answer' to the problem) is .80 or smaller, you qualified for State Championships on that race.

Example 1: You finished 23rd out of a starting field of 34 riders. 23/34=.67. You qualified.
Example 2: You finished 23rd out of a starting field of 26 riders. 23/26=.88. You did not qualify.

NICA rule 8.4B states:
"If a team places in the top 80% of a NICA League race, that team (and all its members)
qualify for the State Championship Race." This means that a team and all its riders qualify even if an individual on the team did not qualify on individual qualification standards. To determine if your team qualified do the following:

Find the team you raced for,
Count the total number of teams in the division and place that number on the bottom of a fraction,
Find your team's placing in the list and place that number on the top of a fraction,
Divide the top number by the bottom number,
If the resulting quotient (the 'answer' to the problem) is .80 or smaller, your team and all its members qualified for State Championships on that race.

Example 1: Your team finished 2nd out of 7 teams. 2/7=.28. Your team qualified.
Example 2: Your team finished 12th out of 13 teams. 12/13=.92. Your team did not qualify.

Team Scoring at States will be on the following matrixes:
D1 clubs will score 7 riders BBBBBGG:GGGGGBB
D2 clubs will score 4 riders BBBG:GGGB
Freshman and Sophomore Girls each race in their own field at States. If you are a FRESHMAN SoCal Girl who qualified for States, you will race in the FRESHMAN field. If you are a SOPHOMORE SoCal Girl who qualified for States, you will race in the SOPHOMORE field. Coaches, please double check your riders in the Pit Zone to ensure their GRADE level is correct as that is where we will generate the fields from.
Fields at State Championships are capped at 100 riders. In a few fields, this may mean that qualified riders do not get to race. To ensure a spot, please ensure qualified riders register via the Pit Zone as soon as possible!
New number plates will be assigned to all riders for State Championships. These will be available at registration. The plates will be unique to State Championships.
Riders winning their fields at State Championships will be awarded a special California State High School Champion jersey on the podium. These jerseys signify the State Champion.

The SoCal League recently launched a coach and staff 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 group 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:

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

• May 15. State Championships at Los Olivos.

• Late May/ early June (tentative). Outreach Tour.

• June 20-24 (tentative). NICA Invitational Camp at UC Santa Cruz

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