Racing Overview

General Overview

The Arizona Cycling Association has two conferences: north (ours) and south. The two alternate between Saturday versus Sunday race days, with middle school going in the early morning and high school in the late-morning/early-afternoon. Racing is not required, but is highly encouraged.

Race Registration

All student-athletes MUST BE registered for racing through the Arizona Cycling Association before the deadlines imposed by the league. There no onsite registrations, no exceptions.

Race Week Prep

Bike Check: A bike should be in good working condition in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable race. This includes:

  • [A]ir pressure being held correctly in tires, including at least 2 ounces of sealant inside tubeless tires (refresh if needed)
  • [B]rakes (both front and rear) working well
  • [C]hain that is clean and properly lubed
  • [D]erailleur that is not bent and is shifting well in both directions (easier and harder gears)
  • [E]verything else, including proper seat height, dropper post-operation, etc.

If you are unable to confirm these items yourself, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to have a local bike shop inspect your bike AT LEAST one-week prior to the race, if not earlier via appointment (they get very busy around race weekends). We will have a repair stand, tire pump, shock pump, and basic tools at each race, but this is intended for minor adjustments or break-fix type of items and coaches may not be available to assist with these activities due to urgent assignments on a very busy morning of race day. Only you are responsible for your bike.

Hydration & Nutrition: Proper water intake (8 oz of water daily for every year of age for middle schoolers) and healthy eating is critical for the days leading up to the race to avoid dehydration and maintain endurance. Whereas many sports have a water fountain or granola bar a few steps away from game play, our student-athletes head out onto 3 to 8 mile courses in the middle of the national forest, so proper preparation is key.

Race Weekend

Volunteers Needed: In addition to the coaches, our team needs a variety of volunteer parents to assist with racing, including bringing snacks, cold drinks like Gatoraid, water jugs for refills, etc. Please monitor update emails and sign up for requested duties to help your student and all others have a fantastic race experience.

Required Gear: Beyond a bike in proper working order (see “Bike Check” section above), each student-athlete also needs their helmet, team jersey, eye protection, gloves, and spare tube. You will NOT BE ALLOWED TO PRE-RIDE or RACE without these items. Anyone caught riding without a helmet either in the pit zone or on the trail could be cited by ACA staff and incur a time penalty.

Pre-Ride: We will pre-ride the course as a team, typically the day before each race. A Trailforks course map and POV video will also be available to study. This ride is at an easy to moderate pace in order to familiarize everyone with the trail conditions without tiring anyone out before the actual race. While not mandatory, the pre-ride is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as even last year’s same course can change between monsoon seasons.

Race Format, from Start to Finish: Each race starts with a team briefing at our tent followed by a warm-up ride around the parking lot area or similair. Coaches will then take each group of students to the starting line staging area which is separated by grade and male versus female. A student’s race plate color will correspond to their grade level and subsequent staging area banner/flag color. The first race will feature one student per grouping moved up to the first row with all other students ordered randomly. Subsequent races will order students based on their previous race timings from that season. A countdown clock starts a few minutes before the race start and then an announcer will provide verbal cues for the final 10 – 15 seconds before blowing a starting horn or similar. The students now proceed to ride the course, which is well marked with signs and tape. Course marshals are spread out throughout the course, including medical personnel for first aid, and an adult sweep also rides at the end of each male/female grade level grouping – all in order to ensure a safe ride for all students and provide assistance, if needed.

Race Schedule: Each TeamSnap race event will contain specific times, groupings, and coaches assigned to an activity. All times are subject to change based on weather delays and other events, but a typical schedule is listed below for reference:


    • 7:00am: All BOYS meet at the team tent to confirm race plates and do a super easy and flat warm-up ride.
      • PARENTS: Parking lots/entrances to our race venues often back up very quickly, so please plan on arriving early. Jot down your student-athlete’s race plate color for later reference (see below) and feel free to pick up a cowbell from the team tent.
    • 7:45am: All BOYS head to starting line staging area with their assigned coach. Each grade will have a unique background color on their race plate that corresponds to which flag they should be lined up with in the staging area.
      • PARENTS can easily find your student-athlete in the staging area at this time, based on their race plate color, to wish them final good luck before going to find a good spot in the starting line gate to cheer them on. The starting gate area fills up with spectators quickly, so feel free to head on down course a bit to an area where you will have more room for your student-athlete to see/hear you cheering them on. Don’t forget to bring a cowbell!
    • 8:00am: Starting time for BOYS, with 8th-grade wave going first, then 7th grade, then 6th grade.
    • Finishing Time: Most boys will finish an ACA course in between 20 to 40 minutes.
      • PARENTS – you’ll have a brief break after the start before you’ll want to be back at the finish line (same area as start) with cowbells ready.
    • Post-Race: Student-athletes are encouraged to take their bike back to the team tent (where bike racks will be setup) for snacks, rehydration, and a brief rest (chairs provided) before coming back out to the start/finish line area to cheer on their teammates.
    • Race Plate Return: Once a race is completed, all student-athletes should return their race plate to a designated container in the team tent for later use at a subsequent race.

Awards Ceremony: Everyone should assemble at the team tent at the time requested by the head coach in order to walk over to the awards ceremony together to support both our team and all others who have made podium placement.

Cleanup: All riders, coaches, and parents should return to the team tent for teardown immediately following the awards ceremony. For Saturday races, we have a tight deadline to pack up so that the south conference teams can come setup for their Sunday morning race.

Camping: Camping together can be one of the funnest parts of race weekend. Even if you are lodging elsewhere, all are welcome to come join team dinners, bike games, and other fun activities occurring at the team camp area. For a reservation campground, there are benefits to having your reservation continue on until the day after race day, even if you don’t plan to stay that night. This way you aren’t rushed to vacate the campsite by checkout time (often around 10am) but can instead focus your morning on getting race ready and then hang around for the awards ceremony before packing up at your leisure in the afternoon. For Saturday races, many families will choose to stay that night to let the kids relax together after the race, volunteer at the Sunday (south conference) race, etc.