What season is the sport of mountain biking?
In Pennsylvania Mountain Biking is a fall sport. The season starts in July and ends in November.
Who can join the team?
We are a Coed Team for 6th - 12th grade student living within the townships of Tredyffrin or Easttown and the children of any volunteer coach (regardless of township affiliation).
Are there tryouts?
No. You don't have to try-out to be on the team. Don't know how to mountain bike? No problem, we'll teach you! In mountain biking there are no bench warmers. Students are "in" every minute of every practice and every race.
Do I have to Race?
You don't have to race to be part of our team. But we encourage it because it's so much fun. The primary goal of club is youth development through biking. We most want you to learn self reliance, develop a strong mind, strong body and strong character though biking.
Do I need any prior experience to have a good time?
No. In fact, the less experience you've had with mountain biking, the more you'll be blown away at how fun it is.
When does the season start?
The "season" is a bit different from other sports. We start easy "forming" rides and equipment checks in June, start riding more in July, and by August we are fully into training for the first race in early September. The state championship is in early November.
July and August practices conflict with our summer vacations... is that a problem?
No... in fact the coaches have vacation plans also. We value summer vacation… just take your bike! We all want to enjoy our family summer getaways and experiences. Being a club affords us flexibility in how we get into shape. For the summer we will offer regular practices and coaching to ensure everyone has the opportunity be successful, especially students brand new to cycling and those looking for consistent guidance.
Athletes are encouraged to make as many practices they can but never at the expense of a family vacation. The only requirement is that students progress their fitness and skills during the summer to ensure they can finish the first race of the Season which will be September 18th.
The coaches will be providing a division specific training schedule before the training season begins. This plan will represent the minimum fitness level needed to be successful. Keeping all athletes ahead of the minimum fitness schedule will also allow the team to practice in larger groups of similar fitness levels during the school year. This reduces the need for parent/coach riders to cover a highly fractured team ride.
Are riders supervised during the whole ride?
No. The nature of mountain biking is such that it is impossible to keep your eyes on each rider all the time. Some will ride behind the coach, others in front. Middle School Students will be required to ride in tighter groups for better supervision. As the season goes on our process will evolve and we will communicate ride rules and plans to make sure everyone is comfortable during our rides.
Where are the races?.. and how do we get there?
The League is still negotiating race locations so we don't know all the locations yet. The races are state wide which means every team in the state can go to every race. The League will hold events across the state from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. Riders and their families are entirely responsible for transportation to and from races.
What are races like?
Races are weekend events. The course is setup on Saturday and for a specific period of time, student athletes and Coaches can pre-ride the course to learn it. For those students looking to competitively rank in the state, pre-riding the course is recommended but definitely not required.
Races have 7 divisions for each gender making 14 races run on race day.
Divisions: 6th Grade / 7th Grade / 8th Grade / Freshmen / Sophmore / Junior Varsity / Varsity
The courses are cross-country courses designed to meet the following criteria
- Middle School Boys and Girls: 4-6 miles / race times less then 45 Minutes
- Freshmen & Sophomores Boys and Girls: 7-11 miles / 45 to 90 minutes
- JV Girls 7-11 miles / 45 to 90 minutes
- JV Boys and Varsity Girls: 10-15 miles / 60 to 100 minutes
- Varsity Boys: 14-22 miles / 90 to 120 minutes
The races are big events. This year the league expects 500 - 600 racers to complete in the league. In most states these numbers double year over year. As you can imagine, each student comes with family and spectators so these events can get very big upwards of 1,500 people. In established states there are a couple thousand people at each event. The races are very professionally done with timing companies and race infrastructure supplied by the biggest companies in the cycling world.
Can I still play on another sports teams?
Yes. You will be tired, but since Mountain Biking is not an PIAA sport, you may still participate in another sport. TEMTB recommends that you discuss this openly with your parents and coaches. We ask that you communicate your attendance and we will work with your schedule to help you meet your goals.
How good of a bike is needed?
If you have access to a bike... almost any bike in good repair with the proper components will do. The key is to get out, ride and see where the sport takes you. As you progress quickly, some bikes will become impractical for meeting your goals. If you don't have access to a bike, don't just buy one... talk with the coaches first.
What kind of a bike, components, equipment will a rider ideally need?
Bikes are personal items that can be very expensive, so there is no blanket recommendation that will fit the needs of every rider's family. However, we can say this:
- Frames are generally the same on any bike, but fit is very important. Please consult a shop expert on fit.
- We recommend a "hardtail" frame. Front suspension is just shy of mandatory.
- Components: these can range from inexpensive and fragile to expensive and super light. We "recommend" some mid-range components (e.g. Shimano SLX or SRAM NX/GX) as a minimum for withstanding a season of use (mostly by older students), but understand that families must make their own decisions.
- For safety reasons, all riders MUST have helmet, gloves, eye-wear, padded shorts (baggies are fine!)
- CLIPLESS pedals are not required (there is a learning curve, but most experienced riders find them invaluable). We will work to give kids the opportunity to try clipless pedals where possible before they buy them.
- A complement of non-cotton clothing is necessary, including layers for very cold fall rides.
- Each rider must also have a basic repair kit of pump, tire levers, patches and/or tube, and multi-use tool.
What is the practice schedule?
We are still working on the schedule. In addition to regular mountain bike practices, we will also introduce JV and Varsity Students with drivers licenses to the Monday night Suburban Cyclists group ride process with rides every Monday from the Church of the Saviour, Wayne, PA at 6:00 pm.