It's NOT About the Racing It's not secret that the SoCal High School Cycling League has an extremely competitive spring racing series. However, there


SoCal student-athlete Cody Phillips (top left) and SGV Composite coach Sean Hickey (top right) prepare to guide new riders onto the trails.

It's NOT About the Racing

It's not secret that the SoCal High School Cycling League has an extremely competitive spring racing series. However, there's so much more to the League than just racing bikes! Following is an article written by returning Varsity Leader Cody Phillips detailing his experience as a youth cycling mentor:

"Over the past few months I have been involved in a very forward-thinking--and very cool-- program set up to introduce elementary and middle school students to the sport of cycling. This program is run through The Boys and Girls Club of Monrovia and came about through the efforts of two coaches from my high school mountain bike team. During the high school mountain bike season coaches Sean Hickey and Tom Lockhart were brainstorming about different ways to recruit new riders for the team. They thought, “what if we can get kids into cycling before they are old enough for their friends to try and tell them it’s not cool?” They approached the Boys and Girls Club of Monrovia who were excited to have a cycling program. A lot of hard work took place in a short time and on the first week of summer bikes and helmets arrived thanks to some generous private donations.

As kids got their permission slips signed and took their first rides the fun began. When I came to volunteer for the first day we just rode around the local park to gauge the kids’ skill level. We soon moved on to a nearby dirt path where the kids really started to have fun doing small climbs and descents. This is where the fun really began for me too.

I volunteered for the program as a ride leader and mentor to the student club members. To some people riding extremely slowly with a bunch of kids might sound somewhat boring. The reality is that being able to go out and share my love of cycling with others is just as rewarding as shredding through trails with my friends or team riders. Any coach of a high school mountain bike team will tell you the same thing.

One kid in particular who would most likely never been involved in cycling has become totally immersed in bikes. He is always asking me about the races that I do or what he can do to be faster. The first day out on the trail I noticed that he was coasting the downhills so I encouraged him to pedal and go faster but when he began to pedal he would immediately spin out. I showed him how to shift his front derailleur. Next thing I knew he was in the big ring putting down the power and quickly pulling away from me. Once I caught up to him again he was pedaling as hard as he could with the biggest smile on his face. I knew that in that instant he had discovered the wonder of mountain biking. For the rest for the day he had a permanent grin. Moments like this one really are priceless.

Already, this program is helping steer these students in the right direction. The same kid I previously mentioned showed up one day looking a little dejected. He had apparently allowed his grades to drop so his parents told him he couldn’t go mountain biking until he got his grades up. When I saw him the next week I asked him how school was going and how long it would be until he was going to be riding again. He was very happy to tell me that he had received an A on his most recent test and he would be able to ride again the following week. Similar to the NICA philosophy, this program is designed to build the sport of mountain biking from the ground up through STUDENT athletes.

This has clearly been a very fruitful and rewarding program for both the kids and volunteers involved. It has given the kids the gift of cycling, which they can take with them anywhere they go. It has also taught me what it is like to be a part of something bigger than yourself."

For more information on the Boys and Girls Club program detailed above please contact Tom Lockhart at


Heather Irmiger and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski host SoCal CycleFest 2011


If you are planning on coming to our November 19 CycleFest gala this year, please head on over to our website for tickets or tables so we make sure to have enough places set. We would love to have you there!

There are many epic auction items this year, including, but not limited to...Specialized Camber Expert 29er and Trek mountain bikes, a stay in a Mammoth condo, a one-week stay at Woodward West Sports Camp, a signed Tour de France yellow jersey, race series entries, an RV Vacation from El Monte RV, forks by Fox and Rock Shox, a complete SRAM XX groupo, art, jewelry, and much, MUCH more!

Tickets and tables can be purchased HERE or contact with questions.

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NICA camp riders washing bikes in helmets because you just don't want to be tempted to ride 10 feet without your helmet!

Following the Rules

Most of the time, SoCal League student-athletes, coaches, and families are so tuned in to the NICA philosophy of good sportsmanship that rules become an afterthought. That's a great thing! However, being knowledgeable about the rules ahead of time is a great way to make sure you're not surprised as a rider, parent, or coach.

The 2012 NICA rulebook will be published prior to the end of 2011. There will be certain important changes detailed soon regarding category placement matrix. Until that time, you can download and review the 2011 rulebook HERE as many of the safety related rules won't change.

One easy rule to remember is the Helmet Rule:


League riders must wear an approved helmet at all times (see rule 4.1 for list of approved helmet standards). Under no circumstances should a student be on their bicycle without a helmet fastened to their head, even when riding a very short distance. Athletes must also keep their helmet on when walking or running on the course with a mechanical problem. See rule 4.1 for additional details regarding helmets. [ORANGE LEVEL CONSEQEUNCES]

We are often asked "do parents have to wear helmets?" or we catch people riding in flip flops and straw hats from their car to the Pit Zone. In both of these cases helmets SHALL be worn. SoCal League events are permitted events weather on public or private land. We carry insurance for these events and access to the events is by permission. Because of this, and because we all want to adhere to the best safety practices we can, ALL people astride a moveable bike at a SoCal League event must have an appropriate helmet on their head and buckled.

SoCal Facebook Pages

The SoCal League has two official presences on facebook. We have left our facebook "group" and gone to a facebook "page" for general league information. Please "like" and share the official SoCal League page by clicking HERE.

We also have a group for our coaches and staff to interact. This is a closed "group" called the SoCal High School Cycling League Coach Zone. If you are currently a coach, a volunteer that is part of the ongoing management at races, or seriously considering launching a new club you can ask to join by clicking HERE.


November 19-20: CycleFest

December 10-11: Wilderness First Aid for Mountain Bikers, La Crescenta

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