Note from NICA director Matt Fritzinger
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it does it make a sound? We wondered the same thing about mountain bike races, and that is why we have such good times at our CycleFest dinners. This is how we come out of the forest and celebrate our progress and the achievement of our amazing riders and coaches. We have a fantastic line up this year: we’re hoping to coax some opera singing out of Olympian Mary McConneloug at the NorCal CycleFest. Soon after that, we’ll be boarding the Queen Mary with Captain Chris Horner at the helm in support of the SoCal League. I hope you can join us at one of these classy events, be sure let us know soon!
Matt Fritzinger (On my way to the Texas League launch party at Mellow Johnny’s)
Colorado State Championships
At 10 a.m. on October 31, the Colorado League’s state championships will kick off a day of competition at the Peaceful Valley Scout Camp, located in the Black Forest near Elbert, Colorado near Colorado Springs, as the varsity girls battle for 18.4 miles.
In all, nearly 150 student athletes are expected to saddle up for bragging rights, as the inaugural season comes to a close on Halloween. The race course starts with a gradual climb that drops riders onto a single track trail. After some tight single track and more climbing, riders descend through the woods towards Silver Lake and open fields. Past the lake riders climb single track trails onto a high plateau that offers the most technical descent of the day. The final miles are a mix of fire roads and single track in open meadows to the finish. The loop is approximately 4.6 miles with about 500 feet of climbing.
NICA sponsor Primal Wear will be hosting a reception at the race from noon to 2:30 p.m. for those interested in getting involved at the board level, or with other Colorado League committees.
Saving a Life in Colorado: Why First Aid is Important
Quick thinking, clear communication and swift treatment saved a life in Tabernash, Colorado during the Colorado League’s second race on October 3, further reinforcing the importance for wilderness trail training for all NICA League coaches.
Based on the incident report, a student athlete was showing respiratory distress due to an asthma attack a few meters from the Feed Zone. Salida Buena Vista coach Zach Moore and Fort Collins Composite coach Andy Clark noticed and immediately responded, prior to the EMT dispatch.
“We were two of a number of people that helped when a student had an asthma attack,” Clark said. “I felt good about the response that we gave to him. There was an EMT on site in minutes and we were able to transport the rider off the mountain and to help in good time. It was a high stress situation and everyone stayed calm and worked well together.”
“I think first and foremost having an understanding of first aid and responding to such an incident helped everyone involved stay calm and collected as they helped the student in question,” Moore added. “Having the proper equipment and knowing how to use it was also huge in this situation; Chris (Spencer) had oxygen and we were able to get that in place very quickly as well as having a truck to transport down the road were key.
“I think that we were very lucky in this particular situation and as Andy said everything and everyone worked quickly and efficiently together. We were lucky in that the incident occurred pretty much right at the feed station/start line and responders were able to get on scene quickly and we were able to transport quickly. If this incident had happened elsewhere on the course we might be having a different conversation right now. Having a clear course of access to emergency services/911 is also very important; having radios or being sure that we have good cell coverage/an alternative method of communication is critical.
“Quick and correct responses and good communication from everyone involved helped to save that boy’s life,” Moore explained. “Everyone that is out on the course — especially coaches — should have an understanding of at least basic first aid and know how to manage a more difficult situation; especially as we ride and race in more remote areas. I believe that a situation such as this is rare and that most often we will deal with minor cuts and bruises but we as coaches need to be able to handle most any situation that is thrown at us.”
Looking back on the situation, the three things that stood out in Clark’s mind include:
- Communication between the different teams and also the race personnel. Good communication helps keep people calm and working well together.
- Having a clear course of action, walking through the steeps of first aid and helping people know how to take action and what to do next.
- Coaches knowing their students and having them be accountable for their medications.
“We were able to have a good response because we did theses things together, communicated, took action, got the rider his medication, and got him to the help he needed. Continuing to work on these things will only make our next response better,” Clark added.
Fast Times with Clif Bar founder Gary Erickson
NICA supporter Clif Bar & Company believes in racing, sponsoring elite level teams like Garmin-Transitions and the Luna Pro Team. The Emeryville, California company also supports junior development programs like the NorCal High School Cycling League and the Clif Bar Cyclo-cross Development team.
Gary, did you ever think your original epiphany ride in the 1980s would lead to a company like Clif Bar touching so many athletes and individuals, nutritionally speaking?
I can honestly say that I had no concept of where that first idea—to create a great tasting energy bar—would lead us. Today, 18 years later, the Clif Bar & Company family of food has grown to include bars, gels, chews, drinks and snacks for energy, muscle recovery, hydration, and healthy snacking. We’re happy that we’re able to reach so many active people and athletes.
You’ve brought a focused, scientific approach to sports nutrition. Where did that inspiration come from?
Yes, there’s a precision involved with sports nutrition – it must offer properly balanced nutrients, it must be reliable and it must be packaged in a way that is compact, portable and easy to open.
In addition to all of those things, I think Clif Bar & Company has brought a creative, foodie approach to sports nutrition. My background is in baking and I love food.
You’re an endurance athlete; what are the essential ingredients in Clif sports nutrition for cyclists, and how do you determine what goes into each product?
We like to think about sports nutrition in terms of recipes and what blends of natural and organic ingredients will provide the optimum balance of nutrients for performance and taste. Our kitchen team of athletes, foodies and nutritionists work together to create recipes in the same way that someone might create a recipe at home – our team relies on their expert knowledge of ingredients and nutrition, but also creative exploration and, of course, trial and error, not only in the kitchen, but also on the bike.
How important is racing to Clif Bar?
Clif Bar & Company has its roots in racing. When I was developing the recipe for the first Clif bar, I would bring samples to races to get my racing buddies’ feedback. And, when Clif Bar launched in 1992, racers were in large part the first ambassadors for Clif Bar. I suppose one could say that if I didn’t race back in the 1980s, I never would have had an Epiphany to create Clif Bar. I truly believe that.
CA Skills Camp with Lee McCormack
NICA’s skills development director Lee McCormack spent October 15-17 with more than 50 coaches, directors and volunteers in northern California to to teach high school mountain bike coaches how to teach mountain bike skills.
“My clinics were attended by NorCal head coaches, assistant coaches, ride leaders and adult volunteers,” McCormack wrote on his website following the event. “Riders ranged from experienced racers who want to create champions to first-time moms who want to spend time with their teens.”
The Boulder, Colorado-based McCormack is also finishing his curriculum, “Teaching Mountain Bike Skills: The Skills Training Manual for NICA Coaches.”
“This book shows the concepts, tells how to teach them and includes the drills I use in my clinics (as well as common mistakes and their fixes),” McCormack said. “Much of this content has never been published. This is the nitty gritty: the keys to the kingdom.”
Highlights from the NorCal clinic include several hours of presentation, followed by several hours of saddle time with the attendees in Berkeley, Folsom and Albany. McCormack was assisted by Trail Head Cyclery owner Lars Thomsen and pro downhiller Curtis Keene.