Archive for the ‘High School League’ Category

Calabasas High Forms SoCal MTB League Team

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

CHS logochs logoSome members of the newly formed Calabasas High School mountain bike team attended this month’s Introduction to Mountain Biking Skills Class and asked if we might know of someone who would want to coach their team. They already have their team in place, all they need is a coach!

To find out more about being a coach for the Southern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League, go to www.nationalmtb.org/nica-coaches-resources.

For more information about the club, contact club president Seta Aghababian, chsmountainbikingteam@gmail.com

 

Show Us Your Smile

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

smileSometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. We have created this message tag with the help of BikeTags (biketag.wordpress.com) so that we can spread the message of goodwill, peace, and harmony throughout the world. Or maybe just the message “don’t worry, be happy.” The idea is to show other trail users that we belong, we care, and we can coexist. Similar to the SoCal High School Cycling League’s “spirit of howdy”, it’s a way to remember to slow down and smell the sage brush.

We’ll be making the CORBA Smile Tags available to anyone who wants one, just send an email request to info@corbamtb.com. We’ll be giving away prizes for the best photos of the tags on your bikes while on the trail. Photos will be judged on originality, creativity, and overall quality. (Details to follow in the coming weeks). The grand prize will be a Niner full suspension frameset, donated by Niner.

OK, so maybe putting the Smile Tag on your bike* won’t save the world. But a lot of times a little smile can go a long way.

*The Smile Tag is a high quality plastic laminated product and comes with all hardware necessary to mount on a handlebar or under the seat. If mounting to the handlebar, a hole may need to be punched at the bottom of the tag to help secure the tag to a brake or derailleur cable (see photo).

 

 

Youth Mountain Bike Teams Give Back to SoCal Trails

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

When the Southern California High School Mountain Bike League was founded in 2008, its mission statement included the following: “Foster a responsible attitude toward the use of trails and wilderness.” How to implement and encourage that part of the SoCal league’s mission is still evolving, but its founder and executive director, Matt Gunnell, is launching a new initiative that could have a big impact on the future of trail advocacy.
In the spring of 2012, Gunnell organized a trail workday for the SoCal league, run by the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA), an IMBA Chapter based in Los Angeles. Sixty-five student bike racers from five area high school mountain bike teams volunteered their efforts in the Angeles National Forest. The event led to a discussion between Gunnell and CORBA about how trail stewardship and etiquette could be introduced into the SoCal league’s programming.
“I realized that most of the kids and coaches coming into high school mountain bike racing have limited cycling backgrounds,” said Gunnell. We want to teach them that trail work is an important way to give back to the entire community.”
Gunnell envisions NICA leagues and individual high school teams creating partnerships with nearby IMBA Chapters and other established trail advocacy groups. He believes there is no need to reinvent the wheel when successful organizations already possess tools, trail building expertise and stewardship agreements with land managers.
Gunnell plans to make trail projects a regular part of the SoCal league’s training cycle. Coaches only need to stay in touch with the local IMBA Chapter, or other trail organization, to know when volunteer work days are scheduled. Then the teams can simply show up for the arranged events, ready to go to work.
Gunnell expects the SoCal league to expand to at least 400 student athletes, on 30 teams and with 80 coaches, by the spring of 2013. If each of the racers and coaches (and the occasional parent) contributed a four-hour workday it could generate more than 2,500 volunteer hours in a single year. As high school mountain biking grows across California and around the country, those numbers could become a significant source of trail stewardship.

Copied from IMBA Trail News, Fall 2012

Boy Scouts Take on Mountain Biking

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Over the past three years, CORBA’s trail crew has assisted in several eagle scout projects. Most were from eagle scout candidates who were also involved in the High School Mountain Bike League.   After discussions with local Boy Scout Troops and Councils, we put together a suggested set of requirements for a Mountain Biking Merit Badge in 2010. Apparently demand for a mountain biking badge was more widespread than what we saw locally, and the BSA leaders have listened.

During the 1990′s, IMBA and CORBA had approached the BSA about this very issue. At the time mountain biking wasn’t a mainstream sport, and wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now, especially with the younger generations, and the requests and suggestions fell on deaf ears.

How times have changed. Mountain biking has gone mainstream, and been legitimized as an Olympic sport. NICA is making great strives towards establishing the sports as a legitimate high school sport. The time is ripe for things to change.

According to a June 5 post by Scouting Magazine blogger Bryan Wendell, “The trail to Cycling merit badge just got a bit rougher.”  He explained: “The BSA has approved a mountain biking option for Cycling, a merit badge mainstay since 1911. So for the first time, Scouts who prefer fat tires instead of thin can earn the badge.”

We’re excited about this news, and commend the BSA for listening to their membership’s needs. Because the Boy Scouts like to keep a relatively steady number of available badges, it was much easier to have a mountain biking option added to the existing cycling merit badge instead of adding a new badge. This makes complete sense, as there is a lot of overlap in the skills, fitness, basic mechanical knowledge and safety aspects in both cycling disciplines.

We also feel that mountain biking has a definite place in the Scouting movement, as many of the scouting principles can be directly applied to the sport. Mountain bikers must be prepared, they need to be kind and exercise good trail etiquette to share trails with other users, the sport encourages health and fitness, and stewardship of our public lands.

CORBA invites any and all boy scouts (and the general public) to our free Skills Clinics, offered on the first Saturday of each month at Malibu Creek State Park. These free clinics will help get new riders the basic skills to get started in mountain biking.  IMBA also offers a youth-oriented publication, aimed at teen mountain bikers.

 

Report on and photos of 2012 Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Over the weekend of April 28-29, about 200 volunteers had a great time chatting, chowing on a fabulous barbecue meal, taking in the scenery, winning wonderful prizes, and if they liked, camping overnight in the Danielson Multiuse Area in Pt Mugu State Park. The reason for the revelry was the 31st annual Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days where outdoor enthusiasts of all varieties got together to repair trails for everyone to enjoy.

Saturday

When we arrived on Saturday morning, the staging area at Danielson Multuse Area was bescattered with a couple dozen brightly colored tents of people who had arrived Friday evening and camped overnight. The CORBA volunteers grabbed some tools and shuttled to the top of Hell Hill to work on Guadalasca Trail. Our job would be to clear the brush that was overgrowing the trail.

The 34 mountain bike volunteers, including a half dozen members of the Channel Islands High School Interscholastic SoCal Cycling League, split into three groups, led by crew leaders Hans Keifer, Steve Messer and Steve Clark. We were to hike down the trail, cutting back the overgrowth as we went. Helping us were two State Parks staff who were ahead on the trail. They had chain saws to cut back the largest branches. Keifer and Messer followed with their crews, armed with loppers and small saws, to remove brush and branches of an intermediate size. Bringing up the rear was Clark, wielding a power hedge-trimmer, and two brave assistants, who cut down the smaller brush and swept it off the trail. This included a huge section of poison oak that was flourishing on the top part of the trail, above the first switchback. On the way down, this last group cut back poison oak that the other groups had left. Near the bottom, on the old ranch road section, the power hedge trimmer was also used to cut back thistle near the trail. We wanted to cut it out before it developed seeds for next year’s crop of prickles.

Guadalasca is now in much better shape. It is clear of overgrowth over most of it’s length, and the risk of contacting poison oak is much reduced.

While the CORBA crews were working on Guadalasca, other crews were working on Blue Canyon Trail and Old Boney Trail. Both these trails are in the State Wilderness Area and are closed to mountain biking.

The crews finished about 2:00 pm and headed back to the staging area for some R & R before the barbecue dinner, consisting of salad, tri-tip, chicken, vegi burgers, baked beans, garlic toast and hot dogs, with cake for dessert. The grills were manned by State Parks maintenance workers who had volunteered to help out. Dinner was augmented by snacks and amber/red/white beverages that adults brought for themselves.

While dinner was being prepared, tables were laid out with dozens of items that were to be awarded to volunteers during the prize giveaway. They were there for people to oggle and figure out which they would pick for themselves when their ticket was drawn. Tickets were given out to people in line for dinner. The giveaway itself was held after dinner. Everyone won a prize, but of course the people whose tickets were chosen first had a larger selection to pick from. Among the prizes were two $350 RST M29 Air 29″ forks. New this year were grand prize drawings, in addition to the regular prizes, for a North Face down sleeping bag, a North Face 2-person tent and a mountain bike helmet.

All the pictures of Saturday’s activities are available for viewing in the Saturday photo gallery.

Sunday

Most people headed home Saturday evening after the prize drawing, but a few stayed on for another night of camping. A few of those left on Sunday morning, but many stayed for another morning of trailwork, and were joined by a few who drove in for the day.

Trenched trail with bushes blocking the view around bends

The CORBA crew consisted of four mountain bikers, three Americorps volunteers and three State Parks employees. We headed over to Sin Nombre Trail in two groups. The State Parks staff, along with their power hedge trimmer, started at the top and worked their way down. They were accompanied by two bikers who worked with loppers. The remaining five started at the bottom and worked their way up.

The bottom group worked on the tread and brush in two areas. The trail in the first area was deeply trenched and had large bushes growing next to the trail on the inside of bends. We built two rolling dips to prevent rainwater from running straight down the trail, thus keeping the trenches from getting deeper (they’re already deep enough that you can easily hit your pedals on the side of the trail as you climb up). We also partly filled in the trench so it’s not so deep now. We would have filled it in completely if we’d had time.

Cutting back the bushes on the inside turnsThe large bushes growing right next to the trail on the inside of bends present two problems. First, they obscure the view around the bend so you can’t see people coming the other direction. The trail is moderately sloped here, so people riding downhill can’t see others coming towards them, and don’t have much time to react to avoid a collision. Similarly, people coming up the hill can’t see if a rider is coming down towards them. Second, the bushes are so close to the trail that there’s no room to lean into the turn without running your torso into the bush. Riders need to slow down so much that they’re not leaning, or else ride off the outside of the trail, thus widening it over time. We fixed these problems by cutting the bushes back about three feet from the center of the trail, giving much improved visibility around the curve.

The oak tree on the left used to grow to the edge of the trail, blocking the view of this turn at the bottom of a small hill.

The second area was at an S-turn at the bottom of a small hill. An oak tree at the bottom of this hill obscures the view of the turn, resulting in some mountain bikers missing the first turn and running up a small bank, then being in a poor line for the second turn and possibly falling or running off the trail and down a grassy bank.

The top group and bottom group happened to meet at this point, so the top group worked on trimming back the tree to improve visibility while the bottom group widened the trail by about 18″ to make the turns a little more gentle.

While we were working on Sin Nombre, a second, slightly larger group had headed back up the Blue Canyon Trail to work there.

We got back to the staging area about 1:00 pm for a quick lunch before the second prize giveaway. In addition to the regular prizes, the grand prizes were another 2-person tent from North Face and a $100 gift certificate for Westlake Cyclery.

All the pictures of Sunday’s activities are available for viewing in the Sunday photo gallery.

The 2012 Santa Monica Mountains Trail Days were organized by the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council in conjunction with California State Parks. Other groups who helped out were CORBA, the Sierra Club, Crenshaw Eco Club, California Native Plant Society, SMM Natural History Assn., Malibu Creek Docents, Temescal Canyon Assn., Ray Miller 50/50 Run and the National Park Service. A special Thank-You goes to Barb Thomas who was the coordinator of this event for the SMM Trails Council.

If you missed the fun and excitement this year, this is an annual event so you should plan to come out next year for the 2013 edition!

 

Upper Brown Mountain Trailwork with the SoCal High School League, April 7, 2012

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Upper Brown Mountain before the 2009 Station Fire was a wide fire road in generally in good shape.  The rains of two winters and eighteen months without public use because of the forest closure have allowed nature to re-claim much of the old fire road. Many large drainages were completely washed out, the hillsides had slid into the road bed, trees were down, and brush was growing back with a vengeance.

Banner gives a safety talk and JHA

Banner gives a safety talk and JHA

Though still officially closed, the Forest Service closure signs have been gone for some time. People have been venturing up there to explore the now dead-end fire road. The fire road has narrowed to a singletrack for most of its length, narrowed by a combination of slough from above, severe erosion from below, and vegetation. Several of the newly narrowed sections were within inches of the edge of the old fire road, a potential hazard when two people are passing each other, or if riding the area at night as the edges were hidden behind grass. There was at least one large tree down, and several killer “snags” dead trees that were partially fallen, leaning against or resting on top of other trees along the trail. These can give at any time, and are a major safety concern on all trails in the burn area. Now two and a half years after the fire, many of these burned trees are rotting and weakening, and the likelihood of them falling increases with time.

Saturday’s trailwork was led by Banner Moffat of the Friends of El Prieto, and all the SoCal High School League teams and their coaches were invited to participate. Though there were only 35 RSVP’s, 52 people came to the event, a few ready to hike in, but the vast majority ready to ride up to the work site. A few stronger students and a couple of coaches towed BOB trailers full of tools.

Towing the tools up the hard way

Towing the tools up the hard way

Split into crews led by Mitch Marich and Matt Lay of the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, Steve Messer of CORBA, St. Francis coaches Lee Bird and Joel Sercel and others, the crews spread out along the length of the trail from the Ken Burton trailhead, all the way down to saddle. Downed trees were removed, killer snags taken down, and some drainages were rock-armored and reinforced. The student athletes got a lot done covering most of the sections from the Ken Burton down to the saddle.

The forest service is considering opening Upper Brown Mountain in its next revision of the forest closure order. Without some attention to safety and a demonstration that the community is willing to maintain it as singletrack, it might be a candidate for reopening until graded back to a fire road.

There were in total at least 54 people who volunteered their time. Of those ten were women and 41 were high school students. Teams represented included Crescenta Valley, St. Francis, San Gabriel Composite, Burroughs Burbank, and independent riders from South Pasadena and other areas.

CORBA is proud to support the SoCal High school league, and we applaud their efforts to create a high school program that includes such a balanced mix of teamwork, sportsmanship, competition and stewardship of our trails.

 

 

SoCal High School League Trailwork – Brown Mountain 4/7/2012

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Saturday April 7, 2012 – Saturday April 7, 2012

North Windsor Avenue

View MapMap and Directions | Register

Description:

On April 7, 2012, CORBA will be combining forces with the Friends of El Prieto, Pasadena Mountain Bike Club, and Mount Wilson Bicycling Association to invite So Cal High School league athetes, coaches and team managers to work on Upper Brown Mountain. This trailwork event is only for those groups. 

This trail is still officially closed from the saddle to the top of Ken Burton due to the station fire, though we and the forest service are aware that many people have been using it. There are a few dangerous sections near exposed cliff edges that we’ll be moving and/or repairing. We will cut back brush, and prepare the trail to be officially opened for public use by the Forest Service.

Though it is officially a fire road, most of Upper Brown Mountain has narrowed down to singletrack since the Station fire. Sloughing off of the slopes above, and growth of vegetation have narrowed it to a fun trail. The Forest service has no immediate plans to grade the fire road back to its full width, though it will happen eventually, especially if needed to attend to a fire or other emergency. In the meantime, we get to enjoy the extra singletrack out-and-back, and with this trailwork, make it a little safer.

Remember you’ll be required to bring long pants and a long sleeve shirt. We will supply a hard-hat and gloves.  Sunglasses or other eye protection are required if you will be using swinging tools.

It will be a unique experience for many, as we’ll be riding in to the trailwork site. The trailwork is happening on Upper Brown Mountain, from the saddle up to the top of Ken Burton trail where there is no vehicle access. Approximately five or six stronger riders will tow trailers full of tools, and others may carry smaller tools in backpacks. Be prepared for a climb of between 3 and 5 miles, depending where you start working on the trail. Since long pants and long sleeves are required, we suggest bringing them in your backpack. Bring plenty of water and snacks for the trailwork.

Afterwards we’ll ride back out to the parking area. Be sure to RSVP by Friday, April 6.  The Forest Service has asked us to collect additional demographic data for all volunteers such as age group and gender.

The SoCal High School League encourages all teams to put in at least one day of volunteer trailwork on the trails on which they ride, race and/or train. If you’ve never done trailwork, don’t worry. There will be plenty of options to learn, and group leaders will be there to make sure everything gets done correctly.

Register

High School League Season Opener goes Huge

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

We just finished a hectic week of meetings and events for CORBA, including Friday’s fundraiser, meetings with State Parks and National Forest, and an IMBA board meeting and meet and greet. Yesterday, Sunday February 26, 2012, was probably the most fun though: the season opener of the So Cal High School Mountain Bike League.

A league race, if you haven’t seen one, is an incredible spectacle. The racing is extremely well run, very professional, and highly organized. The race follows guidelines and protocols established after more than twelve years of experience of the NorCal league, and now nationally coordinated through NICA, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.

There were well over 300 racers at the event, and probably double that in families, friends and coaches.  CORBA was present as a show of support and to provide information about advocacy, responsible trail use and trail maintenance. We also took the opportunity to present the 2011 CORBA Award to Banner Moffat  (friends of El Prieto) and Matt Gunnell (the League Director) as an acknowledgement for their contributions to open space trails and the mountain biking  community in Southern California.

While all the heats are taken seriously and exciting to watch, the Varsity boys race is looking like it will be especially brutal and competitive this year. Cody Phillips, last year’s winner, came in second, just three seconds after Shane Skelton. The first four finishers were just ten seconds apart, and the first ten places were less than two minutes apart with at least six lead changes during the four-lap, 22-mile race.

What’s really impressive is that after the event instead of everyone packing up and heading home, entire teams and their friends and family stay on for the awards, a true indication of the camaraderie and supportive atmosphere of the league. There were hundreds of people applauding and cheering for those on the five-deep podiums.

During the awards, Steve Messer of CORBA spoke to the gathered crowd, talking about trailwork and advocacy.  He then surprised  Banner and Matt with their 2011 awards from CORBA. Gunnell then went on to talk about the importance of trailwork, encouraging all the teams to devote at least one team day doing trailwork as part of their high school program.

Below the break are some pictures that capture the spirit of the day.

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Trailwork Report: El Prieto Trail, January 2012

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Keenen (front and center) and part of the Day 2 crewAlmost eight months ago, the CORBA was approached by Keenan Koch, a student at St. Francis high school in La Canada, a member of the school’s mountain bike race team, and an eagle scout candidate with troop 355. He wanted to work on El Prieto for his eagle scout project, the closest singletrack to his school. After consulting with Banner Moffat from the Friends of El Prieto and CORBA over the ensuing months, a plan was developed and submitted to the Forest Service.

The section of trail in question was “built” by users blazing their way down the canyon after the Station Fire and subsequent floods ravaged and destroyed the trail.  The original trail through this section was completely obliterated. The resulting user-made trail was on the edge of a cliff that was getting undercut by the stream and was gradually narrowing. It was a hazardous section of trail where several people have reportedly gone over the edge and crashed. It was too narrow and unstable for equestrians, and nerve-wracking for anyone concerned with heights or exposure.

With Forest Service and Boy Scout Council approval, Keenan rallied his St. Francis and San Gabriel Valley Composite mountain bike team mates, fellow scouts, and a few willing parents to come out and rebuild this section of trail.  The trail was flagged out by Banner Moffat and after two days of prep work by him and Steve Messer of CORBA, was ready for the project.

The newly built section of trail, passing between two trees.Initially planned for the weekend of January 21/22, rain forced a cancelation for the work on Saturday. In reality it was a blessing as the dampened earth was much better to work with on Sunday. Crews re-cut the bench away from the cliff edge, filled three substantial drainages with rock supporting walls and rock armoring, and built up rock supporting walls either side of a “split tree,” through which the trail would pass. With 19 volunteers this section of trail, about 45 yards, was restored. An intrepid crew of four stayed on an extra two hours beyond the finish time to ensure the rebuilt section was completely passable for all trail users.

During the course of the work, two generous mountain bikers made on-the-spot cash donations to CORBA’s trail crew fund (and who still need to email Steve for receipts), a sure token of the appreciation all trail users have for the work we are doing. One regular El Prieto hiker has made similar on the spot donations in the past, and came through very much appreciative of how the funds have been applied (new tools and rock slings for the trail crew and for Friends of El Prieto).

 

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SoCal Racing League Outreach Tour Announced

Friday, May 20th, 2011

SoCal High School Cycling League

2011 Summer Outreach Tour

Are you a prospective or future rider, coach, team founder, parent, teacher, or administrator interested in seeing a high school mountain bike club at your high school?

Come to one of our information sessions!

Meetings start at 7:00 PM

www.socaldirt.org

May 24 @Trek Superstore North County

2123 Industrial Court • Vista • 92081

May 25 @Rock n’ Road Cyclery Irvine

6282 Irvine Boulevard • Irvine • 92620

May 31 @Helens Cycles Santa Monica

2501 Broadway • Santa Monica • 90404

June 1 @Open Air Bicycles

1303 State Street • Santa Barbara • 93101

June 13 @Meanda Grove

1830 Bradley Street • Riverside • 92504

June 6 @Trek Bikes of Ventura

4060 East Main • Ventura • 93003

June 7 @Incycle Pasadena

175 S. Fair Oaks • Pasadena • 91105

June 14 @Pasadena Cyclery

670 East Walnut • Pasadena • 91106