CORBA at the So Cal High School MTB League Leader’s Summit

“The greatest recent innovation in mountain biking isn’t twenty-nine inch wheels, ten speed rear shifting, adjustable travel or carbon fiber. It’s high school mountain bike racing. This is shaping the future of our sport,” ¬†said CORBA board member Steve Messer at the recent High School Mountain Bike League Leader’s Summit. The Summit is required training for all High School Mountain Bike League coaches.

Messer spoke to the new coaches about the importance of advocacy for mountain bike access. His presentation followed a talk by Matt Gunnell, director of the So Cal league, on how coaches need to train their teams to be good representatives of the mountain bike community. Part of being a good representative is giving back to the trails in the form of at least one day of trail work for each team, each season, he said. The League strongly encourages this, and many did not know their league insurance covers their team for trailwork during the season.

Banner Moffat, coach of the Glendale team and trail crew leader for the Friends of El Prieto then talked about the basics of trail maintenance. “Anyone can make a difference to a trail with time, commitment, and just a few basic tools. It isn’t rocket science.” Moffat said. He distributed handouts explaining some of the basics of trail maintenance including tools, brush clearing, drainage and rock armoring.

At least one high school team, St. Francis, will be participating in CORBA’s upcoming El Prieto trailwork day on November 7th. We expect team members from other teams as well.

“As high school coaches your voices carry a lot of weight with community leaders and land managers,” noted Messer. ¬†“They’ll realize that X-games derived images of mountain biking don’t represent the reality of who is using trails on mountain bikes.”

Along with league director Matt Gunnell, Messer encouraged all the team managers and coaches to join their local advocacy groups, get up to date on any issues pertaining to the trails on which they ride, race and train. Most importantly, they need to let their voices be heard when it comes to public comments on proposed actions that may affect their trails.

Of special note is the fact that as the So Cal League enters it’s third year with several new teams confirmed and more in the works, not a single team is based out of any L.A.U.S.D. school, the largest school district in California. This is perhaps a reflection of the City of Los Angeles’ prohibition of off-road cycling in City parks. Almost all of L.A.’s neighboring cities have teams in the League.

The League carries a memorandum of understanding with IMBA, each supporting the other’s efforts. CORBA is also a supporter of the So Cal High School Mountain Bike League, and we look forward to working with the league as they help shape a new generation of not just mountain bikers, but upstanding representatives of the sport and stewards of the lands and trails on which they ride.

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