Middle School speedsters

Playing foot down 'til the sun does down

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Who we are

We are riders!  We are racers!  We are riders and racers of all abilities – beginner, novice and advanced!  We’re focused on learning important bike skills, having fun, and building a love of mountain biking.

Our riders come from a variety of Middle Schools, public, private and home, throughout Placer County.  If your school doesn’t have a team, you’re welcome to come ride and race with us!

We depend entirely on parent volunteers, so please consider helping by becoming a ride leader.  You don’t have to be an expert rider to join, and our (also parent volunteer) coaches will help you get signed up and comfortable riding with the team.

What we do

Our 2023 – 2024 season is split into two parts. Our Fall session runs from late September through the middle of December. We break for a couple months and return for Spring session at the end of February, just in time for racing with our High School team.

We ride all over the Placer Foothills every week while we’re in session, from 9 – 11 AM on Saturdays and 4 – 5 PM on Tuesdays. Tuesdays are focused on skills training and fun games, meeting at Railhead Park in Auburn.

We’re all about building relationships, so your riders should be prepared to bring their best jokes, share their favorite foods, and be ready to learn some really ridiculous games.

Frequently asked questions

Registration, costs, and practice

How do I make the team? Are there tryouts?

There are no tryouts. Everyone who is interested can sign up and become a team member if they are in good academic standing and participate regularly as a team member. The beauty of mountain biking is that no one ever sits on the bench and every single rider can participate in every practice and every race!

How much does it cost to join and race?

  • Team membership: $145
  • NICA and NorCal League fee: $90
  • NorCal race entry fees: Around $40 per race, typically 4 or 5 races per season

Where, when and how often are team rides?

September thru December – Fall Session: Saturday morning trail rides (2-3 hours) at various locations, Tuesday practice and skills training (1 hour).

Late February thru Mid-May – Spring Session: Saturday morning trail rides (2-3 hours) at various locations, Tuesday practice and skills training (1 hour).

Mid-May thru September (Off-Season)

How do practices work?

At the start of each practice ride the team is divided into two groups based upon ability, speed, and endurance.  Each group has a NICA-certified coach accompany them.  Our student athlete to coach ratio is 6:1 maximum within each group.  Additional ride volunteers are distributed throughout each group, and there is always a ‘sweep’ ride leader taking up the rear.

What do I need to bring to practice?

  • A well maintained mountain bike designed for singletrack, trails and fire roads – A hardtail bike is a great choice if you are new to the sport.
  • A certified mountain bike helmet meeting safety requirements- see NorCal website for more details.
  • Proper clothing for potential weather changes, especially an appropriate lightweight rain/ windbreaker jacket. NO COTTON in the winter.
  • Water, either in a water bottle, or a hydration pack worn as a backpack. Snacks and nutrition bars, a repair kit, an extra inner tube and pump to repair flat tire
  • Full-finger gloves are highly recommended.

How many practices am I required to attend?

The Saturday morning ride is most important, though we strongly recommend attending mid-week practices because we cover important skills (and have a lot of fun playing games!).

Experience and learning

I am new to the sport without much experience. How can I integrate into the team?

We are here to accommodate all levels of riding ability and experience. We have a great group of student athletes and strive to be inclusive to all newcomers.  We have a minimum of three different ride groups which ride at levels appropriate to the rider’s ability and experience.

Anyone who knows how to ride a bike can quickly learn the basics of safe mountain biking. If you are new to the sport, be sure to ask your coaches, as there are no questions not worth asking!  We find new riders learn at rapid rate if they attend all team practices.  You will be amazed at your progression of skills learned from the beginning of the year to the end.

My son or daughter is new to mountain biking. Will they be taught preparedness, safety, and the basics of bike mechanics?

Yes, many of our ride leaders and coaches have been riding mountain bikes and other bikes for decades.  Athletes will be taught what to bring to be prepared and how to ride safely on the trails.

What if I don’t know if this sport is for me and I want to give it a try? Do I have to commit to the full season?

There is a trial period in October where you can give the team a try. If you decide it is not for you, a refund for your Placer Foothill membership dues is available if requested by October 20.

That said, since mountain biking is an endurance sport, it requires some commitment over many weeks or months to get into shape, and this can make the difference between a very fulfilling season and a season that is less than satisfying if you do not put in a consistent effort.

Is it possible to try a ride with you?

Absolutely!  Please contact us and we will coordinate with you on a time and date to ride with us.  We will need you bring a proper helmet, bike and water.  Please print out the one-day waiver and bring to the ride.  The waiver can be downloaded and printed below.  Please contact us via email with any questions.

Parent volunteers and races

How can I as a parent be involved with the team?

  • Becoming a ride leader and riding with the team during team training
  • Becoming a Board member by assisting in making decisions and running the team
  • Volunteering in the dozens of positions available during race day
  • Cheering from the start, finish and on the course during races
  • Providing assistance with your talents that may include videography, photography, team party planning, meal planning, team graphics and artwork and more!

When do races start?

There are generally 6 races in the season, including a State Championship race. The races begin in the Spring, usually the first week of March. They continue with one very two weeks until mid-May. The State Championship race is in late May and this is the final race of the season. Once the race schedule is published it is available on the NorCal site.

What are the races like?

They are very exciting events with over 1,000 student athletes competing and cheering for their teammates. The atmosphere is electric. There are multiple categories for girls and boys and the courses are fun, challenging and technically diverse. They vary in distance from approximately 12 miles for the Freshman and Sophomore races to up to 24 miles for the Varsity races.

The courses are set on a circuit that allows for multiple laps so you can see the racers coming around multiple times. The race venues have varied terrain with uphill and downhill aspects which require bike handling skills and good endurance capacity as well.

Where are the races and how does the team get there?

Race venues are generally a 1 – 3 hour drive from the Placer Foothills. We anticipate that the races this year will take place at Exchequer (Sonora), Boggs Mtn. (Cobb), Swasey (Redding), Six Sigma (Clear Lake) and Granite Bay (Sacramento). The NorCal State Champions race will be in Northern California at a location to be determined.

Riders and their families are entirely responsible for transportation to and from races. As a matter of policy, coaches  and ride leaders may not drive riders to or from races. Carpooling is encouraged, and most athletes arrive the afternoon before the event to pre-ride the course. Pre-rides are highly recommended for all riders.

What about accommodations at races?

The NorCal League usually publicizes accommodations near the races should you decide to stay the night. Many families choose to camp together at the race venue or a nearby campground. These camping weekends are fantastic where many great memories are made.

Is every rider on the team obliged to race?

No. An athlete is not obligated to race, but we highly encourage every team member to try it at least twice. The majority of the athletes who sign up for the team do so to improve their conditioning and riding skills and to race in most if not all five NorCal races.

Questions? Want to learn more?

Email us