Without coaches, our team could not exist. NICA coaches are role models and teachers who are open to learning the best practices of youth mountain bike coaching and actively work to hone their leadership skills on and off the bike.
What does our season look like?
Our season begins in November. We can have 6 pre-season practices before the regular season starts in December. It usually looks like:
- Sun, 10th – Skills Clinic #1 – Tilden
- Wed, Nov 13th – Tilden
- Sun, 17th – Skills Clinic #2 – China Camp.
- Wed, Nov 20th – Tilden
- Sun Nov 24th – JMP
- Wed, Nov 27th – Tilden
Starting in December and through February, we ride twice a week and have spin twice a week. Spin helps in the winter months when the sun sets early. It also gives the coaches a break, as we don’t generally need as many coaches. The schedule typically looks like:
- Tues – Spin + Strength: 3:30pm to 5pm
- Wednesday – On bike: 2:50pm to 5pm
- Friday – Spin + Strength: 3:30pm to 5
- Sunday – On bike 8:30am to about noon
Starting in mid February and through the end of the season in May, we ride 4 days a week. The schedule typically looks like:
- Tues – On bike: 4pm to 6pm
- Wednesday – On bike: 2:50 to 5pm
- Friday – On bike: 4pm to 6pm
- Sunday – On bike: 8:30am to about noon
Most coaches ride somewhere between once and twice a week.
Where do we ride?
During the week we ride in Tilden. Time varies as sunset time changes. On Sunday’s we travel around the bay. Some of our regular spots are: China Camp, Tamarancho, Mt Tam, Skeggs, Annadel, Crockett, Joaquin Miller and more. This is a great way to learn some new trails.
How big are ride groups?
We try to keep out ride groups small. 3 to 4 riders is ideal. But this all depends on how many coaches we have during the season and on a particular day.
We try to match our riders and coaches by speed. We do a time trial a couple of times a year to determine ride groups.
What does a ride look like?
Weekday rides are 1.5 hrs to 3 hours. This mostly depends on sunset. During the winter, the rides are shorter. Towards the end of the season we can ride longer. Weekend rides are about 2 to 3 hours, plus some travel to the location.
In the beginning of the season, we focus on skills and building an endurance base. As the season progress, the training gets harder and more focused on upcoming races.
We work with Nate English to come up with a training plan for the year. For example a typical ride might look like:
2-2.5h mostly steady
level 1: 4x3m tempo, 1m VO2, 3-5m easy
level 2: 5x3m tempo, 1m VO2, 3-5m easy
level 3: 5x2m tempo, 2m hard, 3-5m easy
(Where level 1 to 3 depends on the ride group)
If you’re not already following your own training plan, this is a great way for you to follow one and become a faster rider.
NICA races start in Feb and go through May. There are 6 races. They are a lot of fun to see all your hard work realized.
We do one (sometimes two) non NICA races as a practice in Jan or Feb. Most coaches also do it. It’s a lot of fun.
How do I become a Coach?
NICA has a licensing program for coaches. All coaches / ride leaders need to complete Level 1. This is mostly online courses. It costs $25 to register with NICA and $38 for a background check. The team can reimburse you.
If you want to take your own ride groups, you need to complete Level 2.
All the coach registration and licensing is managed through The Pit Zone.
If you’re interested, send us a message here.