Riders, Coaches, and Ride Leaders spend more time on team rides than any other activity. Team rides help the Riders get to know their peers, learn and improve biking skills, increase levels of fitness, and get to know the beautiful landscape of Marin County in a way that is perhaps not possible by any other means. Without team rides, the team would just be a collection of individuals who occasionally meet each other on the race course.
Training season overview
Click Here for a screenshot of the routes that we rode last season… We usually break the team into three or four groups, with an adult Ride Leader and Sweep (see below for more info on these roles), and follow the Strava route posted for that date. For this fall and next winter, refer to the Team Calendar as the definitive source for team rides and dates, but parents and Riders should have some understanding of what it takes to commit to an entire season. Riding season usually starts in early December with Pelo sessions on Wednesday afternoons and rides starting from Deer Park on Sunday at 9am. Beginning in January, depending on the weather, Coaches add short Tuesday and Thursday rides to get riders home before dark. By early March, with the change to Daylight Savings time, the Tuesday and Thursday rides get longer, and the Coaches tailor the ride lengths and intensity to best prepare Riders for their race schedule. Races usually begin in early March and the season extends through the final race in mid-May.
Wear the proper cycling gear
Cycling is a unique sport in that training takes place over long distances and many hours. Your body is in contact with only a few points on the bike; the handlebars, the seat and the pedals. The hands and seat need padding and protection from pressure and chafing. The shorts and gloves are made with padding designed for comfort over the long rides. Feet are pressing on a very small surface for hours at a time. Cycling shoes need to offer the protection of an inflexible sole, which prevents cramping and increases power while riding.
Riders sweat during long rides, the sweat needs to be wicked away from the body to keep the rider cool when it’s hot, and not chill them when they take a break. Cycling jerseys are made from fabric designed to keep cyclists cool when its warm, and warm when its cool. Cycling specific clothing is designed especially for the challenges facing cyclists, and while it is expensive, it is worth it to be comfortable. Racers spend a lot of time in their clothes on the bike.
At Pelo (weekly spin class), there is a container of clothes that have donated by riders as a donation to help out high school riders. This is free cycling clothing!!! what to wear on a ride What To Wear is an easy-to-use 1-page guide based on the information above.
Carry the Essentials
1. Cycling gear other than clothes
Helmet! Make sure that it fits properly. Two fingers maximum should fit in the slack under the chin when it is buckled up.
Gloves – gel padding can help prevent numbness. Full fingered gloved recommended for mountain biking to protect in case of crashes.
Glasses – sport-specific. Do not wear glasses made with actual glass, this can be a hazard in a crash.
Trailside repair toolkits - Bring these things on your ride; Riders need to be self-sufficient, coaches assist when necessary but riders need to carry extra tubes to be able to fix a flat.
2. Food & Water
For detailed information on food and water, please read through the Nutrition content
We are a PEANUT-FREE TEAM, so no foods with peanut ingredients or peanut-flavor energy bars. Please check ingredients of the foods you are bringing.
Food, both real food (bars, sandwich, banana) and quick energy food (blocks or glucose tablets).
Water bottle or hydration pack (such as Camelbak) with plenty of water/electrolyte solution.
A good attitude!
Coach and Ride Leader responsibilities
The Coaches maintain the Team Calendar, and Riders and parents can view the rides they will be doing on specific days, as well as the Ride Leaders who will be responsible for each team ride. There will never be a team ride without the appropriate number of Coaches and Ride Leaders present; providing proper ride support is one of the most important responsibilities for the coaching staff.
Coaches and Ride Leaders carry the usual on-the-trail supplies, as well as radios, medical kit, spare tubes, master chain links, oil, and extra clothing food and water. Riders should always show up at team rides with the proper supplies themselves, but sometimes extra food/water/mechanical assistance from Coaches or Ride Leaders is necessary to successfully complete a team ride.
Ride Groups, Ride Leaders and Sweeps (how we manage a large team of riders on the trails)
Team rides are usually divided into three Rider groups based on the result of the Hill Climb TT. On every team ride, each group is assigned a Ride Leader and Sweep from the pool of adult coaches and ride leaders. The Ride Leader and Sweep count the number of Riders before starting the ride, and text the coaching staff upon a successful ride completion (the land managers enforce a maximum of 19 riders per group, including coaches and ride volunteers, so ride group size at the beginning is an important consideration).The Ride Leader is responsible for keeping his or her group on the proper route and leading the group through tricky sections or downhill segments. The Sweep is responsible for making sure that every member of the ride group stays on the designated route. The Ride Leader and Sweep stay in constant radio contact so that any last-minute route changes or health/mechanical issues do not strand any Rider in the ride group. Every Rider MUST STAY WITH HIS OR HER RIDE GROUP UNTIL THE END OF THE RIDE, no exceptions. If there are personal circumstances related to school, family, or illness, a Rider should choose a shorter team ride on that particular day.
Ride Leaders always ride at the head of the ride group unless there is either a team captain or other experienced Rider with Wilderness First Aid training who can lead the group to a designated stopping point. In that instance, the Rider(s) should stop at the instructed intersection to regroup with the rest of the riders. When descending, the lead rider should always be a coach or adult Ride Leader.
If a Rider crashes and is injured during a ride, the first priority for anyone nearby is to stop and care for the Rider. If the crash is more than just a minor scrape, the Ride Leader must report the accident to the coaches via radio or text, notify the parents, and make sure that the Rider gets home safely. A coach or Ride Leader will follow up with the rider and/or parents the following day to check on the rider’s recovery. If the accident is significant, the coaches will advise as to when a NorCal Incident Report Form must be filled out.
Follow the rules, or put the Team at risk
Regular or intentional disregarding of the rules and guidelines laid out above can result in Coaches or Ride Leaders being asked to step away from their roles, Riders being excluded from racing or dropped from the team, or in extreme cases the exclusion of the team from league races. Being a Coach, Ride Leader, or Rider for the Drake MTB team is a privilege that depends on everyone operating within team and league rules during every team activity.