Archive for the ‘High School League’ Category

High School Cycling Gives Thanks

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

November 25, 2009

BERKELEY, Calif. The NorCal and SoCal High School Cycling Leagues combined raised over $100,000 at their annual CycleFest fundraisers. The SoCal League almost doubled its attendance over 2008.

Matt Fritzinger, founder of the NorCal League, said “We are very thankful for having had two highly successful CycleFest events this year. The funds raised will help these leagues keep pace with the enormous growth that is expected for the 2010 season.”

The NorCal CycleFest, which featured Jonathan Vaughters of the Garmin Cycling Team, was generously supported by a long list of silent auction donors and sponsors. Heading this list are Specialized Bicycle Components, Fox Racing Shox, GU Sports, Ritchey Logic, NCNCA, Mountain Hardwear, Syncros, Mike’s Bikes, Clif Bar, Marin Cyclists, and McGuire Real Estate. The weekend’s festivities, comprising a cocktail reception, gala dinner, and 50-mile CHP-supported ride, raised a total of more than $60,000 and were attended by 400 people.

The SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League enjoyed a massive boost in attendance over its first-year fundraiser in 2008. Bob Roll entertained 150 diners aboard the Queen Mary luxury ocean liner, moored at Long Beach. Many companies contributed to the dinner and silent auction, including Kaiser Federal Bank, Team Sho-Air, Specialized Bicycle Components, SoCal Endurance, Turner Bikes, Stan’s Monrovia Cyclery, Mellow Johnny’s, PAA Cycling Club, and Team Kareen. A total of $40,000 was raised.

SoCal Director Matt Gunnell said, “I am inspired that in these difficult times so many people came out to support the growth and sustainability of the SoCal League. We had 85 people at our inaugural event in 2008 and 150 in 2009. With this type of support I see a strong future for the League.”

The emerging Colorado High School Cycling League will have its inaugural CycleFest dinner in Denver, on April 24th, 2010.

Contact: Matt Gunnell, matt@socaldirt.org

NICA, IMBA forge new alliance for high school cycling

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) have recently signed a partnership agreement which states that IMBA and NICA will work together to cross-promote their efforts and engage the broad cycling community.

NICA executive director Matt Fritzinger said, “We are very pleased to formalize our partnership with IMBA — the continued growth of high school mountain biking depends on trail access.” He added, “Riding bikes is a freedom all youth should enjoy, and parents greatly support their kids riding on trails away from the dangers of traffic. IMBA does an incredible job of working with communities to build and maintain sustainable trail systems that work for all trail users.”

“The success of the Northern and Southern California High School Mountain Bike Leagues has been truly remarkable,” said IMBA executive director Mike Van Abel. “When I learned about the plan to replicate those successes on a national scale under the NICA banner, I hoped IMBA’s club network might become a useful resource,” he added, also noting that the partnership would help expand IMBA’s demographic diversity and compliment existing youth programs such as National Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day.

About NICA and IMBA

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is the National Governing Body for grades 9-12 interscholastic mountain biking. NICA was established 2009 with the support of founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components, as well as the generous support of the founding sponsor of the SoCal League, Easton Sports Development Foundation II. The aim of NICA is to foster the development of high quality competitive cross-country mountain biking programming for High School aged athletes. NICA provides leadership, governance and program support to promote the development of interscholastic Mountain Biking Leagues throughout the United States.

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. Since 1988, IMBA has been bringing out the best in mountain biking by encouraging low-impact riding, volunteer trailwork participation, and cooperation among different trail user groups, grassroots advocacy and innovative trail management solutions.

Mountain Biking in the News: Channel Islands High forms mountain bike club Trailblazers

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

From the Ventura County Star, Sunday, April 12, 2009

Luis Angel Ramos received a cheap mountain bike as a gift when he was 12. Ramos would ride it around the city streets in Oxnard and occasionally go as far as Camarillo. But Ramos realized there was an entire world beyond the pavement and wondered what it would be like to explore the back country on two wheels. The Channel Islands High senior never thought he would have the chance until this year.

Defying cultural stereotypes and overcoming financial hurdles, Channel Islands High has formed a mountain bike club. The Raiders are the only Ventura County team participating in the inaugural season of the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League. They finished second in their first race last month while competing against many teams with more experience and better equipment. Their final race is May 3 at the Cow Pie Invitational in Santa Ynez.

“I really, really, really like it,” Ramos said. “The views are amazing when you are riding. Every time we are out high on a mountain, you can see all of Oxnard. It is just beautiful.”


Channel Islands High School Mountain Biking team assistant coach Alfredo Salcido of Oxnard takes a break at the Point Mugu State Park

The club was the brainchild of Erick Kozin, the owner of NEMA International, a mountain bike apparel company in Ventura. Kozin, 34, who raced professionally for five years, heard about the high school league while attending the CORBA Fat Tire Festival at Castaic Lake. Kozin thought it would be great to have a team from the county participate. His brother is a counselor at Channel Islands, so Kozin ran the idea by him and was put in contact with school administrators.

“I just really wanted to give back and do something kind of cool,” said Kozin, a Hueneme High graduate. “When I was in high school, we didn’t have anything like this. If you wanted to ride your bike, you were on your own. This is an opportunity for kids to do something positive that can stick with them forever.”

Channel Islands announced the formation of the club over the school intercom last November. Kozin expected maybe a handful of kids to show up for the first meeting, but ended up with more than 20. Most of the students expressed an interest in trying something outside of the average sports, although only one or two even owned a bike.

“It’s not your typical mountain bike team,” Kozin said. “These kids didn’t have any experience. They are learning as they go.”

Sophomore Shaylee Quezada wasn’t sure if she could join the club because she couldn’t afford the $200 fee. But Kozin assured students they wouldn’t be turned away as long as they made one promise. “If you can commit to this like you would any other sport, we will provide you with everything you need to be part of the club,” he said. “You just have to attend races and work hard.” That was a relief to Quezada. When asked if she ever owned a bike before, the outgoing 15-year-old replied, “I don’t think tricycles count.”


Channel Islands High School Mountain Biking team members Luis Angel Ramos, from left, Humberty Solorzano and Shaylee Quezada make their way down a hill at the Point Mugu State Park

Helping hands

Quality mountain bikes can cost anywhere from $500 to $4,000, a price nobody on the team can afford. But Channel Islands is receiving assistance from several sources to keep the team on the trails. Trek Bike Store in Ventura has loaned the club two bikes for this season while Kozin and assistant coach Alfredo Salcido are providing the other four. Last week, the Channel Islands Bike Club approved a $6,000 grant for the high school team, and Albabici LLC — an Italian cycling supplier in Oxnard — has given the team free shoes, bike seats and bags.

The team meets for practice three days a week after school. Kozin and Salcido use their vans to transport the team and bikes to local trails for training. “I have a love-hate relationship with going downhill,” Quezada said. “I like going really fast, it’s just that it is really bumpy and my bike wants me to get off of it sometimes. But I have to sit through and get down that hill.”

Learning proper mountain biking skills, technique and trail etiquette has instilled confidence in sophomore Robert Equihua. “It is awesome because you can go places where you have never been and it is very challenging,” he said. “You accomplish things you never thought you could actually do.” Like finishing second in the first race of the season despite hardly anybody knowing where Channel Islands was even located. “It was intimidating to see the other teams with a lot more experience that just had everything maybe handed to them,” Kozin said. “But our team left there feeling so good about themselves, and that was probably the biggest reward. I was probably more excited than they were.”

Blazing new trails

Quintin Easton is the president of the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League. After being laid off from his job at Wells Fargo two years ago, Easton went on a mountain bike ride to figure out the next step in his life. He always enjoyed working with kids, and realized many were deprived of the joys of mountain biking. Easton wanted to start a series races for high school students, and discovered there was already a similar league in place in Northern California. He contacted the founders of the Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League, and inquired about extending it to Southern California. The founders said they would love to, but didn’t have the money.


Channel Islands High School Mountain Biking team member Robert Equihua, 15, and assistant coach Alfredo Salcido of Oxnard make their way up a hill at the Point Mugu State Park

Easton went to his father-in-law Jim Easton, who is the president of the Easton Sports Inc., which is known for producing archery and baseball and softball bats. “The Easton Sports empire was built on archery, but he told me there was money set aside for cycling as well,” Quintin Easton said. “He has $40 million in the Easton Foundation he has to give away. So we put together a plan and he liked it and gave the league $100,000 to expand.”

The four-race SoCal League mirrors the NorCal League in every way, but Quintin Easton has more ambitious goals for mountain biking. He wants to make the sport available at all public and private schools across America, and Channel Islands is a perfect symbol for his quest. “We believe very strongly that you can’t have tryouts for a school team. If you want to ride, you are invited to ride. You don’t have to be an expert and you don’t have to own your own bike,” Easton said. “All schools and all kids from any socioeconomic backgrounds are welcome.”

Ramos is slowly convincing his skeptical sister of that premise after recording his first individual top-10 finish last weekend. “She was joking around saying I was racing out there with the rich kids,” Ramos said. “She was basically saying Mexicans don’t really mountain bike, everyone else does. That is why I am trying to break those barriers. Hopefully in a few years it will be more common and more Ventura County schools will be doing it.”

SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League Launched with Backing from Easton Sports Development Foundation II

Friday, August 29th, 2008

August 29, 2008

OAKLAND , CA – The Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League (NorCal League) will launch the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League (SoCal League) in the 2009 academic year with grant support from the Easton Sports Development Foundation II.

The new league is based on the successful model of the NorCal League, now in its eighth year, which currently has reached a membership of over 400 high schoolers, 150 coaches, and 35 schools from within the region. Matt Fritzinger, Executive Director of both the NorCal and SoCal leagues, said, “We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of Mr. Easton and his foundation. The grant allows us to launch a new league, and that has been a dream of ours for several years. With the SoCal League, we’ll be fostering the same values of life-long physical fitness, community, and self-confidence combined with athletic competition that has been so successful in Northern California.”

The NorCal League has developed methods and curriculum for introducing young riders to the world of mountain bike racing, as well as recruiting and training coaches that are committed to producing amateur athletes who are gracious in both victory and defeat, and are respectful of their environment and community. The SoCal League is one of the first few recipients of an ESDF II grant in part because of the proposal’s emphasis on coaching, community, and making cycling a main-stream high school sport. Fritzinger said, “We know that good coaching means working closely with families, and helping athletes create a balanced life perspective. We aim to take the SoCal high school mountain bike teams in the same direction as we have in Northern California working to make cycling as important as baseball, football and soccer in the fabric of our high schools.”

For information about the SoCal League visit www.socaldirt.org and visit their booth at CORBA’s Fat Tire Fest on October 12, 2008. Also, visit CORBA’s SoCal League web page.

CORBA welcomes Peter Sullivan to the Board of Directors

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

At our February 2017 board meeting, we were excited to have a new nominee for our Board of Directors. His approval was unanimous. We welcome Peter Sullivan to CORBA’s Board.

Peter has been active in cycling since his Schwinn Stingray days in the 1970s. He’s been riding and racing since the earliest days of mountain biking, and still competes.  He also enjoys getting out and exploring on his gravel grinder. Most recently, he’s been tightly involved in the SoCal High School Cycling League as a coach for the Newbury Park High School Mountain Bike Team. Newbury Park took third place in the high school State Championships last year, a reflection of Peter and his fellow coaches’ dedication and effectiveness.As a high school coach, he’s already given back so much to the sport, and especially to the student-athletes he has trained. Mentoring student-athletes, and helping them build confidence, fitness and bike handling skills are just a part of it. Sharing his love of the sport completes the package.

He’s seen the sport grow from its roots in the 70s, though its infancy in the early 80s, to an Olympic, College, and High School sport today.  He’s seen mountain biking become more and more popular and understands all too well the importance of actively working to keep access to our existing trails and to seek out and open up new opportunities.  As mountain biking grows, so must our access to quality trails and places to ride.

“Mountain biking and cycling have given so much to me over the years that I thought it was time I give back,” said Sullivan.  “I’m excited about having a bike park project in my neighborhood too,” he added.

One of the newest opportunities we have is the Sapwi Trails Bike Park in Thousand Oaks. Peter has been an advocate for this project since its inception. He’ll be serving on a new committee to oversee development of the bike park, and is excited to work on this project. We’ll be holding a meeting about it in a few weeks, so stay tuned.

CORBA is fortunate and excited to have Peter’s local knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication working with us to support all mountain bikers in SoCal.

Again, welcome and thank you Peter.

2016: A Busy, Productive Year

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

2016 is behind us, and what a year it was for CORBA and mountain bikers! We were extremely busy last year, cutting trails, cutting trees, and working on behalf of the mountain bike community to ensure continued and improved access to mountain biking in the greater Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura County areas.

Jim Burton cuts the ceremonial ribbon, as Steve Messer, Matt Lay and Jenny Johnson of MWBA, and Ken's daughters Heather and Tania look on.

Opening of Ken Burton Trail

In 2016, the Gabrielino Trail Restoration project, with REI, Bellfree Contractors, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps, was completed.  Ken Burton Trail restoration with MWBA was completed, opening the Ken Burton trail and a popular loop after seven years of closure, thousands of volunteer hours, and nearly three years of planning.

(more…)

Castaic Trails and Puente Hills Park Plans Approved

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016
Park and Rec Staff give their report

Park and Rec Staff give their report

October 25, 2016 was a great day for trails, open space and bike parks in Los Angeles County.  Some time ago, we learned that the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan would be on today’s County Board of Supervisors agenda.  Last week, we were notified that the Castaic Multiuse Trail Master Plan would be on the same agenda.

2016-10-25-11-18-24a

Kevin from SCV Trail Users speaks to support the Castaic plan.

Both these plans include Bike Skills Parks, as proposed by CORBA to the County in 2011.  It’s been a long process with much input from local residents, trail users, mountain bikers and environmental and social justice organizations. With these bike skills parks appearing on their respective master plans, which will be incorporated into the County General Plan, we have confirmed a future Los Angeles that will include bike skills parks.

The Puente Hills plan includes two bike skills area, one in Phase One, and a second in Phase two. The Castaic plan identifies three potential bike skills park sites. The plans do not include specific bike park designs. These designs will take some time, and much community involvement. The onus will be on us, the mountain biking community, to follow through and remain engaged in the design process, and ultimately, to help raise funds and build these facilities.

These planning documents are intended to guide long-term development over multiple decades, as funding and other opportunities become available. Fully realized, they will provide many miles of multi-use trails, trailhead staging areas, and other amenities. The Puente Hills plan includes multiple recreational amenities, including public performance spaces, a zip line, bike skills park, dog park, and balances that with habitat restoration and native landscaping. There is something for everyone.

Four of us spoke in favor of the Castaic plan, including CORBA, the SoCal High School Cycling League and SCV Trail Users, while one local resident expressed concerns that a proposed trail in the plan traverses her property. Supvervisor Antonovich asked the park planning staff how the plan addresses and protects private property rights and received assurances that easements or property acquisitions will only take place from willing sellers.

2016-10-25-12-22-14

Over 30 people came to speak on the Puente Hills plan, rallied by our friends at Bike SGV, the San Gabriel Mountains Forever coalition, Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and CORBA.  It was obvious to the County that there is tremendous community support for the plan, so it wasn’t necessary for all 30 to speak. Wes Reutman from Bike SGV, spoke on behalf of the group.  Support also came from the Wilderness Society and the Trust for Public Land.

We want to express our sincere thanks to both the County Department of Parks and Recreation, and the County Supervisors for supporting the development of these plans.  We also extend our appreciation to Alta Planning for their great work on engaging the Santa Clarita Valley community in the development of the Castaic Plan, and Withers & Sandgren Landscape Architecture firm who were enlisted as the prime consultant on the Puente Hills plan. Both the Castaic and Puente Hills planning processes typified the type of extensive community outreach and engagement that are necessary to develop viable community-driven plans that reflect the desires and address the concerns of the community and trail and park users.

Of special note is the long-standing support for trails and open spaces exhibited by Supervisor Antonovich, who will term out at the end of this year. His legacy includes the Santa Susana Trails Master Plan, and the Castaic Multiuse Trail Master Plan. As an equestrian and a champion of multi-use trails, Supervisor Antonovich has arguable had a greater impact on trails in Los Angeles County than any other single elected official in the area. In fact, 30 years ago, I served as assistant race director of the Olive View Challenge, a running, cycling, mountain biking and BMX event raising funds for Olive View hospital. Supervisor Antonovich was an ardent supporter of our nacent mountain biking race then (the first ever sanctioned mountain bike race on County and National Forest lands). He’s been a champion of trails since, and throughout his career in County government.

While a great step forward, there is still a lot of work to be done before we’ll be shaping dirt into pump tracks, jumps, and skills features at either Castaic or Puente Hills. We hope to begin the design phase for Castaic as early as next year. Puente Hills needs a few more years for the landfill to settle, and phase one will likely begin in late 2017 through 2019.

Ken Burton Trail Restoration – Day 14

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016, was a perfect day to do trailwork. There was moisture in the ground from the week’s rain, temperatures were cool, and the crew were able to ride to and from the work site via the Gabrielino trail. A half-dozen or so volunteers were already on their way to the work site when this group photo was taken.

Some crew members were already on their way to the work site

Some crew members were already on their way to the work site

While several volunteers rode in via the Gabrielino, some opted to ride up to Brown Mountain and enjoy the fruits of their labor on the way down Ken Burton trail to the work site. It was the first time we had been able to ride all the way down to the 16th switchback without interruption. The volunteers who rode down Ken Burton trail were all in agreement that the efforts of the group over the previous five months had been well-worth the experience.

We were fortunate enough to have several SoCal High school league student-athletes and coaches join us for the day, along with members of the IMTBTrails.com mountain bike forum out of Santa Clarita.

This was a heavily damaged section

This was a heavily damaged section

With the major brush work completed, the crew split into groups, concentrated on re-cutting the bench along a heavily damaged section of the trail, restoring outslope, and removing remaining roots and stubs from the tread.

Another crew worked diligently to rebuild the 16th switchback, using rock extracted from the tread to build an outside retaining wall on top of the old wire basket retaining structure that had failed.  By day’s end, the switchback was completely rebuilt. We were fortunate to have the expert assistance of Hans from Bellfree Contractors on this major effort.

Rebuilding Switchback 16

Rebuilding Switchback 16

By day’s end the crew had completed tread work almost all the way down to the 17th switchback, restoring one of the more heavily damaged sections of the trail so far.

So far, 81 individual volunteers have put in 1,408 total person-hours of work on this project in 14 scheduled work days, plus another 12 prep days.  This is an impressive effort to restore this much-loved trail that was built by mountain bikers from the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association in the early 90s.

20160319-Ken Burton Trailwork Progress

The next scheduled group work day on Ken Burton will be with Mount Wilson Bicycling Association on April 17, though there will be additional prep days before then. Contact Steve@corbamtb.com if you’re interested in helping prep before then (likely April 10).

CORBA’s Steve Messer Receives NICA Award

Monday, February 29th, 2016
All the 2015 NICA Award Recipients. Photo by Karl Nielsen

2015 NICA Award Recipients. Top row: Todd Wells, Hal Miller, Scott Armstrong, Austin McInerny, Jeremy Call, Kade Brantington, Hannah Heydinger, Robert Parks, Mark LaPaglia, and Mike Perry. Bottom Row: Lucas Euser, Liam Ruff, Steve Messer, Nash Dory, Preston Bagley-Gurtner, Esmée DeBarssi, Zoë Mae Dunn, Kathy Parks, Robert Kertesz, Gary Fisher and Lauren Duensing. Photo credit: Karl Nielsen.

On January 30, 2016, Steve Messer was the honored recipient of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s Community Impact Award, sponsored by QBP.  The award came as a complete surprise to CORBA’s President, and was equally unexpected by SoCal League director Matt Gunnell, with whom Steve and CORBA have work since the league’s infancy to support High School Mountain Biking and getting more kids on bikes.

Read about all of NICA’s 2015 Award Recipients at Nationalmtb.org

Sixteen outstanding participants in high school cycling leagues across the U.S. were honored at the 2015 National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Awards, held at Clif Bar & Company Headquarters, in Emeryville, California.

NICA presented awards in ten categories to individuals and organizations considered to be the most outstanding student-athletes, dedicated coaches, and the most supportive volunteers and sponsors to have helped advance the high school mountain biking movement over the past year.  Photos of the entire event by by Karl Nielsen are available, and a short recap video will be posted soon.

Matt presenting the award

Matt Gunnell introduces Steve Messer

Steve has been involved since a young riding buddy introduced him to high school mountain biking as the League was beginning its second season in 2010. The SoCal league’s first season had proved the NorCal model could be replicated, and led to the formation of NICA. Steve has been involved in getting student-athletes and teams out doing trailwork, doing major Station Fire restoration projects, helping secure venues for high school league races, and calling on High School teams to use their voice in advocacy efforts.

Steve was introduced by Matt Gunnell, director of the SoCal High School Cycling League, with whom Steve has worked, strategized, and even presented at the IMBA World Summit on the synergies between high school mountain biking and advocacy.

Matt’s introduction to Steve:

I am very honored to present the Quality Bicycle Products Community Impact Award to Steve Messer. Reading from the nomination submission for this award, I quote…”Steve does it all. He’s an inspiration. He’s indefatigable. He’s designed and built courses, mentored coaches and students, helped with administration, helped launch new teams, established partnerships between teams and IMBA chapters to do trail work, and more. This is just a sketch of his contributions. His commitment to the SoCal League is immense, and he still makes time for CORBA/IMBA advocacy leadership as well as general road bike advocacy. With 1000 Steves, mountain bike opportunities would be improved a thousand times over. Sadly, there’s only one of him.” It is with great pleasure that I present this award to the one and only Steve Messer!

2015 NICA Awards. Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/2015 NICA Awards Ride, Emeryville CA Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/2015 NICA Awards Ride, Emeryville CA Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/

Steve gives acceptance speech. Photo by Karl Nielsen

Steve’s Acceptance Speech:

What a privilege to be here at the Clif Bar headquarters surrounded by so many people dedicated to getting more kids on bikes.

Thank you Matt for that introduction, and thank you so much NICA for this unexpected honor. There are many people I have to thank, especially the teams, coaches and volunteers of the SoCal League, and NICA for thier leadership. I know there were other equally-deserving nominees whose work is just as impactful and important as what I’ve been trying to accomplish. I’m just one of many, many mountain biking advocates around the country, striving to preserve and create great mountain biking experiences for our future generations.

Just five months after 76 SoCal League student-athletes raced the inaugural SoCal finals in 2009, and NICA was just getting going, our local National Forest and most of our favorite trails were destroyed by the Station Fire and subsequent El Niño storms. We had this burgeoning high school sport, and most of the trails I had ridden for more than 25 years were suddenly closed or gone. The Mountain biking community was devastated. My motivation to restore the trails, and some forward-thinking coaches who were already doing trailwork, grew into a serendipitous partnership between CORBA and local high school teams that needed places to ride and train.

Working with a half-dozen or more local high school teams and their coaches, boy scout troops, and other groups, we collectively restored most of the front-country trails within three years of the fire. We’re still working on restoration projects, and continue to have student-athletes joining us. In fact we have two teams coming out next weekend for trailwork. Not coincidentally, the recipient for the Distinguished Alumni Award, Jeremy Call, will be bringing out his team next weekend. It’s a win-win for the teams, for our public lands and for all trail users.

2015 NICA Awards. Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/2015 NICA Awards Ride, Emeryville CA Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/2015 NICA Awards Ride, Emeryville CA Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/

Matt Gunnell and Steve Messer. Photo by Karl Nielsen

Early on it became obvious to me that this was the next generation of land and trail stewards, advocates, and even land managers. Restoring trails and giving these student-athletes a place not only to ride and train, but to develop a deep connection to the mountains and the Forest as I have been fortunate enough to experience, is its own reward. The most gratifying aspect of all this is that I’m seeing the passion I have for trails and our public lands instilled in so many young riders.

Having an increased presence of well-behaved, responsible trail users that NICA’s leagues are producing is really helping foster more responsible riding. The equestrian community in our area certainly has noticed  Slomo Bro is helping spread the message that responsible riding is a form of advocacy.

Within the high school mountain biking family, I’ve made some of my closest friends, my strongest supporters and allies, and feel a true community spirit. I’m awed to feel this trail love spreading throughout this community. Seeing the types of partnerships CORBA began to develop, now built upon and expanded as the nationwide Teen Trail Corps Initiative with IMBA and REI gives me great confidence in the future of our sport, our trails and the places we ride.

Again, I’m truly honored by this recognition, especially since it’s for something I just love doing. Thank you NICA, the SoCal League, QBP for sponsoring this award, all the volunteers who have helped me along the way, my spouse who is so supportive of what I’m doing, and everyone who has contributed to this incredible journey.”

2015 NICA Awards. Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/2015 NICA Awards Ride, Emeryville CA Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/2015 NICA Awards Ride, Emeryville CA Photo by Karl Nielsen http://www.karlnielsenphotography.com/

SoCal was well represented: Jeremy Call, Steve Messer, Kathy Parks, Robert Parks, and Scott Armstrong. Photo by Karl Nielsen

Southern California was well represented at the Awards, with Scott Armstrong, the SoCal League’s Chief Course Marshall receiving the Clif Bar Volunteer Service Award, Coach Jeremy Call from Simi Composite team receiving the Camelbak Distinguished Alumni Award (and then bringing his team out for CORBA trailwork a week later!), and coaches Robert and Kathy Parks of the Temescal Canyon High School receiving the SRAM Coach of the Year award.

NICA leagues are now up and running in 19 states, with more coming online each year. There are now over 10,000 student-athletes participating in middle school and high school mountain biking races around the country. To learn more, visit http://SoCaldirt.org, or http://Nationalmtb.org.

President’s Message: 2015 – A Year in Review

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

2015 has been one of the most active in CORBA’s history. There has been so much happening in our local mountains, in our sport, in our public lands, in the political landscape, and in bicycle advocacy in general. As always, CORBA has done its best to stay on top of the issues, to be leaders in the trail community, and to have a positive impact on our trails, our public lands, our community and our sport. Here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening this year, showing how your membership dollars and donations are being used to benefit all mountain bikers in the Los Angeles and Eastern Ventura Counties.

Advocacy

Puente Hills Landfill Meeting

Puente Hills Landfill Meeting

Much has happened this year on the mountain bike advocacy front. One of the biggest issues has been the start of the process to develop a Management Plan for our year-old San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The National Forest Foundation convened a Community Collaborative group to develop a broad base of support from a diverse range of stakeholders to help guide the Forest Service in its management of the Angeles National Forest and the SGMNM. CORBA has been involved from the start, in 2014 on the committee to establish the Collaborative, and this year as an active participant in the Collaborative. Forty-five diverse interests are represented, some of whom have traditionally found themselves at odds with our community. This has truly expanded our outreach and strengthened our place in the community.

We’re also continuing to work with Los Angeles County on several fronts: the Castaic Area Trail Master Plan, the Los Angeles County Trails Manual, the now-completed Santa Susana Mountains Trail Master plan, the LA County Park Needs assessment, the Altadena Crest Trail Restoration, the Puente Hills Landfill and bicycle access to trails in general.

This year we joined the Los Angeles Bike Park Collective. We have pending Bike Park proposals with Los Angeles County, the City of Los Angeles, City of Glendale, and Thousand Oaks. Fillmore Bike Park opened this past Spring.

We’re closely monitoring the development of the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Master Plan, which is expected to come out in draft form in 2016. We saw the Rim of the Valley Study completed. Legislation was introduced to create a new National Recreation Area, and expand our new National Monument. We’ve worked with legislators on a pending Wilderness bill, to ensure that it has minimum impact on mountain biking. We’re continuing to work with the Sierra Club and Wilderness Society to ensure that their efforts to protect our public lands do not impact our ability to enjoy them.

This year new e-bike legislation was introduced. Early drafts could have been interpreted to allow electric mountain bikes on non-motorized trails. We worked to clarify that this does not makes e-bike legal on trails. We’ll be watching the e-bike debate closely as they become more popular.

There’s a pending application to build a hotel on the DeAnza Trailhead. CORBA took the lead on asking the City of Calabasas to do a full EIR.

Outside the area, we’re keeping an eye on wilderness proposals in the Sierra Nevada mountains and BLM land swap proposals in the San Jacinto Mountains, both with the potential to close trails to bikes.

(more…)