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Drake MTB Coaches

Link to Team Ride sign-ups (Coaches, Asst Coaches, Ride Leaders, General Volunteers)
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Drake Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Ride Leaders and Mechanics

pic of coach Otis in action

In recent years, Drake has had more than fifty Riders on the team. Keeping such a large and diverse group of kids engaged across a variety of events, team rides, races, and volunteer engagements takes a dedicated team of experienced adults. This team of experienced and qualified adults are selected based on their being good role models, motivators, teachers, organizers, authority figures, risk managers, and perhaps most importantly friends and mentors. And they all have a love of the sport. In addition, all coaches and ride leaders have a responsibility to maintain a safe and harassment- and discrimination-free environment at all team events and rides, and are also expected to:

  • Keep safety top of mind in all team rides and events
  • Behave professionally
  • Use appropriate language
  • Model good sporting behavior
  • Model being respectful of others and of our environment
  • Be energized and upbeat
  • Cheer the team
  • Give specific feedback and praise
  • Celebrate effort and victories
  • Respect the land management rules whether with the team or not

Two Co-Head Coaches
The co-head coaches are involved with every aspect of the team, but have primary responsibility for the following:

  • Set up the ride calendar for the season
  • Select ride leaders and assistant coaches
  • Make sure every team ride has adequate coaching staff and ride leaders
  • Coordinate guest speakers and team volunteer engagements
  • Attend parent committee meetings
  • Work with Norcal on race scheduling and race-day logistics
  • Organize team workouts at sponsors Pelo and Marin Power Yoga

Five Assistant Coaches
Like the head coaches, assistant coaches tend to be involved with every aspect of the team. They are most important, however, in helping the head coaches with the following:

  • Staffing every team ride and providing on-the-trail leadership for safety and risk management
  • Giving individual attention to Riders on team rides, helping them with technique, maintenance, encouragement, and feedback.
  • Acting as Pit Zone managers during races, making sure that each group of Riders knows their schedule for the day and follows it. This includes critical things like making sure the kids are at the Pit Zone on time, have the proper equipment for racing, have access to a trainer before races, eat properly, have a race plate, don’t fall asleep in a car before a race, have had their bike checked out by the mechanics, eat after a race, cheer for the team, etc etc.

Seven Ride Leaders
As the name suggests, Ride Leaders are strong adult mountain bikers who work with the coaches to make sure that team rides are safe, organized, challenging, and fun. Each group of riders that goes on a team ride has at least one Ride Leader at the front and one Ride Leader at the back (aka “Sweep”) so that no riders within a specific group are without immediate assistance in the event of injury or confusion as to ride route. All Ride Leaders have been trained in Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and concussion identification. At the end of every team ride, Ride Leaders let the head coaches know that all riders have completed the ride and made it back home (or to Deer Park) safely.

Three Team Mechanics in the Pit Zone during races
Mountain bikes are complex mechanical devices with many points of failure. Riders put in long hours of training to prepare for races, and mechanical failures can put their personal safety at risk. One of the best ways to minimize this risk is to train your Rider to know his her bike inside and out; as a back-up to that, the Drake team is extremely fortunate to have three team mechanics that check every single Rider’s bike in detail just before every race. In the pre-race Pit Zone, the Drake team has seen last-minute drivetrain replacements, wheel swaps, brake change-outs, shock servicing, and a host of other complex issues addressed under great time pressure to keep the Riders ready to race. The Mechanic’s Area of the Pit Zone is an amazing place, and staffed by bike mechanics with more than 60 years of wrenching… and more than 100 years of very entertaining bicycling-related stories. Please encourage your Rider to treat them with the highest level of gratitude – they, too, are adult volunteers and do their jobs for altruistic reasons, and a single fussy or impatient rider who does not know his or her bike can wipe the smile off of a Mechanic’s face.

NICA requirements for Head Coaches (see http://www.nationalmtb.org/coaches-license-program/ for details on coaching requirements)

  • Background Check
  • CDC Heads Up Annual Concussion Certification
  • Annual Waiver
  • Wilderness First Aid training
  • CPR training
  • 80 Field Hours: actual hours spent in contact with HS students while engaged in MTB program
  • NICA On-the-bike skills training
  • NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy webinar and test
  • Annual Risk Management webinar and test 3

Assistant Coach and Ride Leader Requirements

  • Background Check
  • CDC Heads Up Annual Concussion Certification
  • Annual Waiver
  • Basic first aid training instead of Wilderness First Aid training
  • 20 field hours with students
  • NICA On-the-bike skills training
  • NICA Student-Athlete Coaching Philosophy webinar and test
  • Annual Risk Management webinars 1 and 2 and tests

General Volunteer Requirements (like parents who occasionally do Sunday rides)

Your Coaches, Ride Leaders, and Team Mechanics for the 2018 Season

Co-Head Coach Laura Childress


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Co-Head Coach Rob Reed


Rob Reed has been a Drake Mountain Bike Team parent and ride leader for the last three years, and this year is delighted to work with Otis on the coaching staff. He has been an avid biker all of his life, and fell in love with mountain biking in the Bay Area when he moved to San Francisco in 1989 fresh out of college. Rob works in San Francisco and commutes into the city, and puts more miles on his bike than his car. When asked what kind of biker he is – road or mountain? – Rob is likely to answer “yes”. DrakeMTBCoaches@gmail.com

Assistant Coach Chris Kenton


I’m Chris, aka Tommy’s dad. I grew up in Sunnyvale, riding BMX bikes in the golden age of anodized alloy. Linda and I moved to Cascade in autumn of 1999, just in time to see the annual Appetite Seminar parade down our street. I was out raking leaves before our Thanksgiving guests arrived, watching hundreds of mountain bikers stream past. The next day I bought my first mountain bike to find out what I was missing and never looked back. I’ve learned more about myself from mountain biking than almost any other pursuit. The mental, physical and technical challenges never get old—and neither do the rewards of fresh air, adrenaline and alpine views. Unlike a lot of sports that you have to put on a shelf sooner or later, mountain biking is a life-long ride. I couldn’t be happier sharing it with such a dedicated and passionate group of people.

Assistant Coach Greg Murphy


My son Conner joined the team as a freshman three years ago, and within weeks he was passing me on the way up Shaver Grade, heading into the Water District. He has developed a true love of mountain biking, and it has been a pleasure to watch. I’m proud to be able to join him as ride leader and assistant coach. It is a pleasure to be a part of such a strong and determined group, and share in the development and success of all these kids. We’re so fortunate to have Mt. Tam in our backyard and be able to explore it on bikes. We live in the cradle of this sport here in Marin, and learning about the history of the sport has been fascinating to me. I invite all parents to get involved in all elements of the team. Come out and ride!

Assistant Coach Scott Samet


Growing up in Fairfax, the birthplace of mountain biking, I guess you could say I was destined to be a mountain biker. I lived only a few blocks away from Repack–the famed location of the world’s very first mountain bike races–and I will never forget the day as a young boy that I sat on my little BMX bike and watched in awe as the fat-tired founding fathers of mountain biking sped by me, dirty and grinning, on their prototype “clunkers”. I was hooked immediately and have been passionately riding bikes on dirt ever since. As an early mountain biking convert, and now the father of two boys, there is nothing I enjoy more than helping young riders catch the mountain bike bug.

Assistant Coach Pete Sutherland


I’m Pete. I am a parent, ride leader, and assistant coach. Although I have owned a mountain bike for 20+ years, I feel that I have really started Mountain Biking in the last 5 years with my family. The connections I have made over the last two years helping with the team and riding with such a great group of riders are ones that I cherish. I am eager to support the team this year in helping each rider connect with the Drake MTB community at the place where mountain biking speaks to them.

Assistant Coach Philip Swett


I’m thrilled to be helping out the team this year as an assistant coach for the Drake MTB team. My son Logan joined the team as a freshman in the 2016 season and brought me along as a willing and enthusiastic parent rider. Logan has helped get me out on the trails of Marin since he was 6 years old and we would go out and back on the Shoreline Trail at China Camp, and NOT make it all the way from Deer Park to 5 Corners. Times have certainly changed in that respect! The grit and determination that the kids on the Mountain Bike team display on the training rides and races is incredible and it’s endlessly inspiring to watch. I’m thankful for all the work that all the parents and volunteers put into making this organization work so well and I look forward to another great season for the Drake MTB team.

Ride Leader Alexis White


I’m Alexis. I am a parent, ride leader, and co-president of the Drake MTB team. I love mountain biking, since getting dirty is way more fun than staying clean. I’ve been riding a long time, and I have lots of different kinds of experience in training, racing and race support. I love the Drake team, the coaches, riders and families form one big family, and I love being a part of that incredible energy. You can find me in the pit zone and feed zone at races, organizing behind the scenes throughout the year, and on rides with the Drake riders. I also love getting women out riding, so you will see my name attached to the Drake Diva invitations to the moms of Drake riders. Come on out and ride!

Ride Leader Chris Enbom

Chris E

I started riding after Margot and my oldest son Ben decided to ride for Drake 5 years ago. I knew Otis from surfing…I even had been on a couple trips to Mexico with him. Little did I know how much he was a part of biking! I now love biking just like the kids, and I have given up my role as co President of the parent club for an equally satisfying “career” with the team. Riding with a bunch of amazing kids, watching the grow more confident throughout the year, and watching them get really strong! I have a wife (Margot), a son in college (Ben), a senior (eric) and a 7th grader (annie) and I run a commercial equipment finance company.

Ride Leader Stephanie O’Brien

Stephanie O

Hi, I’m Alec’s mom, who is a Senior this year. I will be supporting the team as a ride leader, mainly to make everyone else look good! I’ve been a road rider for 30+ years, and will be doing my best to keep up with all the incredibly strong and enthusiastic Pirates as they conquer the trails of Marin and beyond.

Ride Leader Charlie Simpson

charlie simpson

Charlie grew up in Colorado climbing 14,000’ peaks and rock climbing. His passion became alpine ski racing, which he did through college. Charlie has been mountain biking for about 20 years. His Drake coaching career started in 2013 and his primary goal is to have fun. He is also one of the team photographers on race day; so don’t forget to smile when you see him.

Team Mechanic Eric Brandt


Team Mechanic Eric began working with the Drake mountain biking team in 2005 when his son joined the team as a freshman. Over the years Eric has worked as the team mechanic and a ride leader/ assistant coach. Eric has worked as a bike mechanic for 20+ years, working primarily at road races with Shimano, Mavic and SRAM neutral support programs. As a teacher in Ross Valley Eric has enjoyed working with many of his former 5th grade students as they grew up and joined the team. Watching the team grow from just a handful of riders to its current 50+ members, Eric has been impressed by the community and parent support that makes this whole program thrive as a model within high school mountain bike community. 415.250.3396 Ericbrandt21@gmail.com

Team Mechanic Joe Breeze


Joe helps keep the teams gears running smoothly. He also happens to be one of the pioneers of mountain biking. He was an early pioneer in the development of modern mountain bicycles, and is widely considered to be one of its inventors, along with other pioneers, including Tom Ritchey, Charlie Kelly, Charlie Cunningham, and Gary Fisher. He was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in 1988. Today he continues to be a vocal advocate of cycling working with government agencies to make streets more bicycle-friendly as well as with grass-roots organizations to promote the bicycle as a practical mode of transportation. We are very proud to have Joe onboard the Drake MTB Pirate’s ship.

Team Mechanic Tony Merz


Tony is a lifelong Fairfaxian who has ridden and raced almost all his life. The Drake High graduate married his Redwood High sweetheart and they have raised two great kids, one of whom was a captain on the Drake MTB team (Noah). He’s a big part of the cycling community as shop manager at Sunshine Bikes in Fairfax (25 years) and also has worked at WTB, White Industries and the original Fisher Mountain Bikes. Tony is proud to wrench for the team racers both at Sunshine and volunteering at races and has enjoyed supporting Drake MTB in their recent seasons!