Coach Training Report Happy Holidays SoCal League coaches! As I write this we just completed our fall coach training season and it was the largest se

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New coach Becky Mason with new team Tehachapi HS rocking the Rainbow rocks at SoCal Leaders' Summit v2.0.

Coach Training Report

Happy Holidays SoCal League coaches! As I write this we just completed our fall coach training season and it was the largest season ever! In a normal fall we hold a Leaders' Summmit in October and a Wilderness First Aid for Mountain Bikers/CPR class in December. These are the two core initial training classes for all working toward a NICA Head or Assistant Coach level license. This October we had our largest Leaders' Summit ever with 60 coaches being trained at Hemet High School. Due to perceived demand I decided to hold Leaders' Summit v2.0 and 20 coaches were trained at Great Oak High School in Temecula this past weekend. That's a total of 80 coaches trained and most of those coaches were coming through the class for the first time! Additionally we had 28 coaches trained in Wilderness First Aid and CPR two weekends ago at El Camino High School in Oceanside (home to a brand new team for 2014). All of this speaks VERY highly to the commitment YOU all have toward building the highest quality programs for our student-athletes! Give yourselves a big round of applause!

See you in the Dirt Zone!

Matt Gunnell
SoCal League Director

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This is how a team and coaches will appear when fully registered for the season.

Team and Coach Registration

All teams must be fully registered and have received their insurance before beginning any sanctioned activity. All team coaches practicing with a team should be registered before actively coaching (if a coach is not fully registered he/she is not insured). For a coach to be registered he/she needs to complete their profile in the Pit Zone, pay their $25 annual fee, complete an online background check (done when initially registering or when changing teams - not every year), and sending in a signed "Agreement to Participate and Release of Liability" form.

At this point you all are doing very well! We have 37 teams fully registered and insured and many more at various steps in the process. We also have a LOT of coaches fully registered. In the image at left you see how a team appears and how coaches appear if fully registered. If a team is NOT registered there will be an orange box below the team name stating a team is not registered and practices are not sanctioned. This is visible to all coaches and parents when they sign in. If a coach is not fully registered he/she will have a red exclamation next to their name. If you hover your cursor over the exclamation point it will show what the coach is missing. In MANY cases the only thing missing is the release.

Releases can be scanned and emailed or mailed to NICA. Please send any releases or direct any questions on coach licensing or team registration to Julia Lawrence at NICA. Her email is


CLIF Team Order

For the 2014 season, Clif Bar and Co is offering discounts on select products through their Team Clif Bar program.

Teams are allowed TWO orders (no more) for the 2014 season. The program should be managed by one person at each team (we recommend the Team Director), who collects orders and payment from other riders and coaches.

Please read this email carefully as it contains instructions that ensure that you and the folks at Clif Bar and Co. stay happy.

If you have any questions, please let us know.

"Coach Licensing",

Log in information - Go to

User Name: NICA
Password: nica2014

Ordering – There is a 4 box minimum for orders. The "Express Order" form has all of Clif Bar and Co's products in one compact place. Use this if you know exactly what you want. You can also browse by product type and add items to your card individually.

Shipping – Shipping is included in the price. Please order for your whole team at one time so Clif Bar & Co. doesn't get slammed with excessive shipping charges.

*UPDATE SHIPPING ADDRESS! When you are completing your order, make sure you change the shipping address; if you don't your order will be shipped to the NICA office in NorCal!!!*

Payment – You will pay for your order with one credit card (Visa/Mastercard or Discover). We recommend collecting money from riders before placing the order.

Macintosh Users – Clif recommends using web browsers Firefox or Chrome, not Safari, for placing your order.

2014 Rules and Placement

High school mountain biking is somewhat unique in that the category a rider competes in is set into the rules as opposed to at the discretion of the coach. By default, a 9th grader competes in the Freshman field, a 10th grader competes in the Sophomore field, and an 11th or 12th grader competes in the JV field. All variances to these default placements are based on last season's high school results OR a petition.

The 2014 NICA Rulebook has been published and the placement criteria appear in rule 3.7b on page 10. Please familiarize yourself with the criteria and contact with any questions. NICA has created a category placement chart for all returning racers who compete last year based on the 2014 placement criteria.

Riders wishing to race in a category other than their default category must submit a petition. All riders racing on a team must have that petition endorsed by their coach. Petitions are available HERE. Petitions should be emailed to All petitions MUST be received by the Tuesday before race weekend. Petitions are reviewed by the SoCal League Rules Committee and the petitioner is notified of the category they will be placed in.

Please note that racing in the SoCal League is very competitive. There is rarely much reason to compete in a category other than the default category unless truly extenuating circumstances exist. Following are some examples of petitions and how they may be acted upon:

*Rider is a senior and wants to race Varsity but has no outside racing experience and finished last SoCal season in 25th place overall in JV. Placement likely in JV (default) as the difference in pace and distance to Varsity is too great and the rider has not shown, by results, an ability to meet that challenge.

*Rider is a senior and wants to race Varsity. Rider is one spot behind automatic Varsity placement and has trained hard in the off season. Rider has solid outside racing results showing them competing well with riders qualified to race Varsity. Placement likely Varsity as he/she was close to qualifying on last year's results, knows the difficulty of racing Varsity, and has trained hard to meet the standard.

*Rider is a 9th grader with significant outside results as a "Cat 1" mountain biker and is asking to race JV instead of Freshman (note that Freshman riders petition to JV and never race Sophomore, only 9th graders will ever race Freshman and only 10th graders will ever race Sophomore). Placement likely JV as outside results show significant success, experience, and ability. These riders often do very well racing JV as freshmen.

*Rider was on the podium in JV and qualified to race Varsity but does not believe he/she can podium in Varsity so petitions to remain in JV. Likely placement in Varsity. Placement table dictates the default category and any variance has to have strong reasoning. Not wanting to race Varsity because rider does not believe he/she will have similar success is not a good reason. Most high school racers will never stand on the podium but are still valued team members gaining great experience from healthy competition. It is up to the coaches to work with riders to set appropriate goals and put high school competition in the proper context.

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Lunch line at a SoCal League winter clinic!

Winter Clinics

This year the League will be holding three @1 day clinics. The schedule is:

Feb 1 One day Race Clinic, TBD/Orange County
Feb 2 One day Race Clinic, Vail Lake
*Feb 9 One day Race Clinic, Castaic Lake

These clinics are focused on newer riders who have limited or no racing experience. The focus this year will be on enhancing basic skills and working them through various portions of racing that often create stress in newer riders (staging, starting, passing, being passed, feeding, finishing) in order to help them through their racing. Intermediate and experienced riders are welcome to attend to reinforce these skills.

We were able to reduce the cost of these clinics from $45 to $25 this year. Information will be posted very soon in regards to registration.

We need your help to pull off the clinics! We are offering two comped rider entries per currently licensed coach (any level) working at a clinic. Please respond to this email with:

*Clinic/s you would like to work

Please start circulating the dates amongst your teams. Most newer riders enjoy the clinics and really have their eyes opened when meeting riders from other teams!

Heads Up!

*Teams will not be allowed to register after February 7, 2014. Riders from teams failing to meet the February 7, 2014 deadline are welcome and encouraged to register and compete as independent riders.

*Teams are divided into Division I and Division II. The division is based primarily on team size, although teams that have between 10 and 15 registered racing members (i.e., members who intend to race) may be given the option to petition into either division. Petitions shall be considered by the league’s Rules and Appeals Committee. A petition to change divisions must be submitted for consideration no later than two weeks prior to the first race of the season – no team may change divisions during the season.

Division I: Teams of 12 or more registered racing members.
Division II: Teams with 11 or fewer registered racing members.

*Often teams grow or shrink beyond their initial division projections. Please monitor how many racing riders (a racing rider is a rider who intends on doing at least one race during the season) you have and advise Matt if you need to change divisions PRIOR to the February 7, 2014 deadline.

*League races run on volunteers from our teams and community. Teams should plan to provide 1 volunteer per race per 4 racing members. Teams with middle school riders should additionally plan to provide at least 1 volunteer for middle school racing at the two middle school races. We are excited to have a Volunteer Coordinator this season and specific information on how to register race volunteers will be sent out to Team Directors soon. Each team with more than 1 volunteer (by ratio) should expect to provide at least one volunteer to work course marshal or parking per race.

*2014 State Championships are being hosted by NorCal. The original date and location were May 18th at Laguna Seca. Due to circumstances beyond NorCal's control that date/venue combination had to be changed. State Championships are now scheduled for May 11th at Laguna Seca.

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