TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Bike Skills/Equipment
- Cost and Financial Assistance
QUESTION: What biking skills are required?
All riding abilities are welcome and there are no tryouts. Our coaches will provide your child with the skills to navigate our trails in a safe and fun manner. Unlike some other sports, nobody rides the bench!
QUESTION: What equipment is needed?
QUESTION: What kind of bike do you recommend?
The ideal bike is one that fits the rider well and is easy for them to operate safely. Certain features will help anyone better enjoy their bike, especially youth. Disc brakes are both safer and easier to maintain than caliper brakes, with hydraulic providing even easier stopping power than mechanical. Adjustable brake levers are available on some bikes to help bring the lever closer to the handlebar for youth hands. A 1x drivetrain has all of the gears in the rear instead of also requiring a front shifter that can be confusing for anyone trying to decide if they need to change gears in both the front and the back, especially a younger and newer rider. Tubeless tires with sealant will help prevent flats, but tube-based tires are also fine for the trails we will be on so long as the rider is careful not to ride off-trail where thorns are more present. Hardtail bikes are not only cheaper than full-suspension frames, thus allowing you to invest more money in better components throughout the rest of the bike, but they also help to encourage new riders to choose better lines to ride within rather than falling back on a rear suspension as a crutch. None of the trails we ride require a full suspension, and cross-country racers often prefer hardtails for their lighter weight. Even if you don’t have the features listed here, one of our coaches can advise on how to make the bike that you do have perform adequately and safely for our practices.
QUESTION: Where can I purchase a recommended bike?
Sample bike configurations and costs that can often be found at area bike shops are shown below for your convenience. The configurations and brands listed below will not only provide ease and enjoyment for the student-athlete but will also hold resale value very well. Additional bikes may also be available or those referenced may be sold out – this is simply a guide to help you get started. Used bikes are also available on places like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and our coaches can also help you find a used bike within their network.
- Archer’s Bikes: e11even M1 starting at $650
- Bikesmith: Giant Talon 1 starting at $980, some of their other bikes may be eligible for the 20% discount that Intense offers to ACA student-athletes and coaches
- High Gear: Trek Marlins starting at $720, not able to offer 25% Trek discount as of May 2022 due to supply chain issues
- Ironclad: Norco hardtails starting at $500 and Specialized Rockhoppers starting at $800
- Soul Ride: Various Kona and Salsa models starting at $950
- Landis Cyclery (various locations throughout metro area): Trek Marlins starting at $620, all are eligible for a 25% discount that Trek offers to ACA student-athletes and coaches
- REI (also offers online ordering): DRT 1.1 and 1.0 bikes from XXS and up, starting at $599 with 10% rewards earned by REI Co-op members
QUESTION: How do students travel to practices?
Each student-athlete is responsible for traveling to and from area trailheads for each practice. There is no bus or other school transportation offered. See also: question about race travel (below).
QUESTION: Are practices mandatory?
We understand that family vacations, illnesses, and other conflicts will arise. However, out of respect to the rest of the team, we ask that each student-athlete make every attempt to attend at least 2 practices per week (out of 3 total) in order to continue our skills development as a group while having the most amount of fun in the process.
QUESTION: How is communication distributed about practice locations and other important matters?
An app called “TeamSnap” can be downloaded to both iOS and Android phones for complete access to our practice and race schedule, other important team communications, and the ability for individual students and/or parents to contact others on the team. Inquire with the head coach about how to join our team’s group on this app.
QUESTION: What if someone doesn’t want to race?
Races are completely optional and many riders choose to only participate in practices for recreational riding, skills development, and socializing with new and old friends. That said, many riders find that racing can be very enjoyable, especially after crossing the finish line with so many people cheering them on, so we do encourage giving it a try.
QUESTION: Who will we be racing?
Each student-athlete will race against other Arizona Cycling Association (ACA) league riders in their age group within the Northern Conference of teams, such as 6th-grade females racing other 6th-grade females and similar for male/female categories across 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade groupings. See the ACA’s “Current Teams” page for a complete list of other Northern Conference teams.
QUESTION: How do we travel to each race?
Each student-athlete is individually responsible for their own travel to each race. Traveling in on race day is possible, but middle school races are held early in the morning between 8am and 9am. To minimize the impacts of that early morning travel, we often negotiate group rates at nearby hotels and reserve a group campground site for those who want to join in on the fun of RV or tent camping.
QUESTION: What does the $100 Arizona Cycling Association (ACA) fee provide?
The ACA league fee provides insurance to our students and coaches, coordinates race venues and logistics, helps fund a loaner bike program, certifies each coach for proper safety and youth biking instruction, and offers great discount programs with bike manufacturers like Trek and Pivot and accessory vendors like ESI Grips and Squirt. This fee must be paid for during the ACA registration process, which must be completed prior to attending a practice or other event. Financial assistance is available from the league, please contact us for more info.
QUESTION: What does the $110 school sports fee provide?
Each sport at Mile High Middle School charges a $110 fee. For our team, this provides a jersey that each student rider can wear at both practices and races that is theirs to keep at the end of the season and also covers miscellaneous team expenses and social activities. The school is not requiring this fee to be paid until August so that a student-athlete may try out the team with only the ACA league fee investment initially. Financial assistance is available from the school, please contact us for more info.
QUESTION: Is financial assistance available?
Both the Prescott Unified School District and Arizona Cycling Association have various assistance programs. Contact us to learn more.
QUESTION: What training do the coaches have?
Our coaches are all volunteers. Each is trained and licensed through the Arizona Cycling Association Coach Training Program while also being approved by the Prescott Unified School District’s Volunteer Program, including an extensive background check. Contact us if you are interested in becoming an assistant coach.
QUESTION: How can I volunteer as a coach or otherwise?
Please contact us to learn more about how easy it is to volunteer regardless of your bike skill level. We can use assistance on everything from seasoned adult racers to those who would like to bring snacks for post-ride celebrations. Or, if you’re ready to sign up, check out the Coach Registration page.
QUESTION: What is the Positive Sporting Behavior program?
In addition to teaching mountain biking skills and facilitating optional race competitions, we strongly focus on:
- Inclusivity & Community: uniting a diverse group of riding abilities and other demographics through a fun cycling experience where everyone feels completely welcomed, respected, and supported.
- Respect: for others, oneself, and the outdoors.
- Equity: including fair treatment and an equal opportunity to excel.
QUESTION: Can my student-athlete use a bike computer/GPS device/Strava/etc?
We encourage riders to use these device so long as they are not distracting to the rider or our team and are used to track personal progress toward reasonable goals rather than overused or used for the wrong reasons, such as for bragging to other riders. We have a Strava club that any coach, parent, or student-athlete may join
GOT A QUESTION NOT ANSWERED ABOVE?
Contact us and we will get right back to you and add that information to this page.