Donations to the El Cerrito High School Mountain Biking Team are always accepted and always appreciated. Please click on the Venmo link below to send payment with a credit card or your personal Venmo account. You may also make checks payable to:
Friends of ECHS SAF and make sure to put MTB Bike in the memo:
Mailing address: c/o Ram Narayanamurthy, Sponsorship/Fundraising, 5419 Silva Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530
All donations and contributions are tax deductible for income tax purposes. We are a sponsored group of the El Cerrito Student Activity Fund, 501 (c) (3) Tax ID #911935426.
* Any donation is appreciated. Note that when paying via credit card, Venmo and the credit card companies take a 3.2% or higher fee, yet if you pay by debit card, ECHS Mountain Biking Club will receive the full donation.
Your donations are used for essential items for the team, including:
- $50: Race fee for one scholarship student rider
- $50: Volunteer coach’s background clearance check and NICA registration
- $75: Hotel and meals for one race for scholarship student rider
- $250: Race fees for one student rider for whole season
- $315: Team registration fees for one scholarship student rider
- $750: Pop-up tents for team pit zone
- $1600: Mountain bike for use by student riders who could otherwise not afford to participate
Use this link to shop on Amazon to support the team while shopping on Amazon.
Any time you can donate is greatly appreciated and makes a difference to the success of the team! Ride leaders are especially welcome, even more so for our weekday rides.
Former ECHS MTB team members
“Dear Friends of the El Cerrito High School Mountain Bike (ECHS MTB) Team,
Ten years ago, in the fall of 2009, my daughter Riley joined the ECHS MTB team as a freshman. She knew how to ride a bike but had never been a “cyclist;” instead, she had played soccer since first grade. She was not particularly enthusiastic about switching sports but her best friend talked her into it (I might have nudged her a little, too…)
Mountain biking looked like fun to me so I bought us a couple of cheap bikes (though $500 for a bike seemed so expensive, then!) and we both started riding with the team. I was lucky that the then-coaches, Jeremiah Holland and Neil Flock, encouraged parents to become ride leaders if they were interested.
The decision to give the team a try changed both of our lives in so many ways. In mountain biking, she found a completely different experience than soccer. It provided the camaraderie of a team sport with the freedom, and sometimes the pressure, of being entirely responsible for your own performance. It could be challenging and scary in a way that soccer was not—you might be out on a trail and have a mechanical problem, or be unexpectedly ejected from the bike, or “bonk” (the universally despised experience of not having enough food and becoming completely exhausted on the trail). In those cases, you would have to pull yourself together and make it back to the trailhead or to the race finish, sometimes with a teammate or coach, but sometimes alone for awhile. You could not simply walk to the sidelines and sit down.
My daughter rode with the team all four years of high school and I watched as she struggled and persevered through a range of physical and mental challenges, showing a level of grit that I hadn’t seen before. I believe those experiences shaped her in critical ways. They helped prepare her for the challenges of college and career by teaching her to dig in her heels when the going got tough and to trust in herself to find solutions. As a parent rider I was learning some of those lessons myself, and got completely hooked. I started racing bikes in 2010 and have not yet stopped racing–or learning.
My friend Renate, who has a son on the team now, reached out to me a few weeks ago to ask me to write a letter requesting support from former team parents, friends, and other members of the community. She knows what a positive impact the team has had on both my daughter and me. I decided to ask my daughter and a few of her old teammates to share how being on the team has affected them long-term, now that they are young adults. Each of them responded so warmly and wrote such heartfelt messages about their experiences. I was really touched. Whether they continued to ride after high school or not, the experience of being on the mountain bike team has clearly stayed with them. I could not bring myself to shorten their messages so the full responses are included below my signature. I hope their stories convey a sense of how special the ECHS MTB team is.
Please join me in making a donation to the ECHS MTB team–no amount is too small, every dollar is appreciated. Your donations will primarily go to providing scholarships and covering race fees and loaner bikes for kids who need them. You can make a tax-deductible donation via PayPal at https://echsmtb.com/donate/ or send a check made out to “Friends of ECHS Mountain Biking Club,” c/o Dennis Cody, Sponsorship/Fundraising, 2721 Del Monte Ave., El Cerrito, CA, 94530. And if you know of any businesses that would like to sponsor the team, please reach out to me or Dennis. “
— Jennifer Eyre White – ECHS MTB mom and ride leader, 2010-2013
“The ECHS mountain biking team changed my entire understanding of what I could achieve. I didn’t know it at the time but struggling, self-doubt, and at times failure are common obstacles that pop up all the time throughout life. Like many, my first year was incredibly rough emotionally and physically (as it turns out, the mountains have plenty of rocks to fall on). For months I was falling off my bike constantly and (literally) getting left in the dust by my peers every time we went on a ride. Much to my surprise I stuck with it, and by my second year I was on the podium. The grit I found in myself through my time on the team has instilled in me the confidence I now have knowing that I can succeed if I persevere through the initial hurdles. This has been priceless throughout college, my career, and my social life. This team gives kids the opportunity to really challenge themselves, sometimes for the first time, and achieve something meaningful.”
– Riley Eyre, B.S. in business administration from Cal Poly, Senior District Manager with Automatic Data Processing (ADP), ECHS MTB team 2010-2013
“I had a lot of fun going to the races on the weekend. It was a really good social environment, so it was a lot more fun than just showing up to a bike race, racing and going home. It was a really great experience. It’s been amazing to be a part of a community that keeps growing year after year and is always welcoming to such a diverse range of people.”
— Sean Bennett, professional road bicycle racer, ECHS MTB team 2011-2014
“The mountain bike team at ECHS gave me a lifelong passion for community, adventure, and the outdoors. The team always felt unique to me in the amount of dedication and support from everyone involved, including the coaches, riders, parents, and all the Norcal league organizers. Gathering at races or other larger league events was especially memorable. When I was a freshman and sophomore, I really admired the older girls racing varsity. They were so kind and supportive to others on the race course — even though they were clearly serious about the competition, they often took the time to make an encouraging comment when passing by younger riders who may have just started cycling. When I got to ride varsity later on, I also strove to help foster that supportive culture among all the riders. The once-a-year weekend mountain bike camps at Tamarancho were another wonderful opportunity to connect with other people throughout the league, make friends, and learn new skills. Weekly Sunday rides with the team were also a great adventure. The learning environment was such that everyone was encouraged to work hard and push their own physical and technical levels, but the ultimate emphasis was on having fun and appreciating the outdoors. One of my coaches used to point out the different types of wildflowers we passed by on the trail. This helped me to understand the importance of taking time to be observant of one’s surroundings, especially in nature. Overall, I’d say the team provided a supportive, loving, fun, adventurous community at a time that I really needed it. In fact, it made me realize that this sort of community is something I will always need, and thankfully am still able to reach out to and participate in! In that kind of supportive environment, high school kids can feel confident trying new things, stepping out of their comfort zones, and exploring outdoors. This experience was very important for my personal health and growth, and I know it is for many others as well.”
– Molly Radosevich, Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in ecology and evolutionary biology, jazz studies from the University of Michigan, Research Laboratory Technician at University of Michigan, Department of Pediatrics Hematology-Oncology, ECHS MTB 2010-2013
“The ECHS mountain bike team was a huge confidence booster that gave me skills, fitness and discipline on the bike. But beyond that, it gave me a new sense of self, aspirations, and lifestyle to pursue. I joined the bike team my freshman year with a healthy interest in mountain bikes, but no racing experience and barely any endurance. Through workouts, skills clinics, and inclusive rides that were genuinely fun to be on, Neil [Flock] and the ECHS team lit the fire in me to push myself to the limit and see what I was capable of. By the time high school was over, I was hooked. I attended Colorado College, started racing downhill, and eventually transitioned into leading the school’s cycling team. Around the same time, I got involved in the world of outdoor media, reviewing bikes and components for an outdoor publication. After graduation, I dove headfirst into the bike industry, working with Neil to bring Zerode bikes to the US market. I went on to help launch a sustainable backcountry ski brand, where I currently work today. The ECHS bike team taps into an incredible community of athletes and coaches that in my case, shaped my lifestyle and career trajectory for the better. A decade after I joined the team, I’m still reaping the rewards of the path that it put me on. I don’t think you can say that about most high school sports!”
– Xan Marshland, B.S. in environmental science at Colorado College, Manager of Brand Development at Checkerspot, ECHS MTB team 2010-2013