Dear riders and families,
Last week the district announced that it was going to Phase 1 learning which means virtual learning for our students. The good news is that some sports will be able to continue with plans for practices pending approval of practice plans. The leadership team has been working for the last 2 months with the BHS Athletic Department and BVSD HR to create a plan that the high school and district will agree to. We have been given permission to ride in small groups. One of the obstacles to begin practice is that the district requires that we hire our volunteer coaches so they become assistant coaches working for BVSD. This will allow them to manage health screenings and be connected to BVSD liability protections. One more series of hoops to jump through before we are able to start. We are hoping, based on the District’s ability to hire coaches, to have some groups starting practice on the 17th. Some good news, we also clarified our permission to practice in compliant fashion on City managed lands.
So what does all of this mean for riders? First, we are still trying to make a season happen for our athletes. We feel strongly that students need an outlet for riding, seeing and interacting with small groups of people in the safest way possible, being part of a team that is doing everything they can to make this a season. Second, there are things you can do right now.
- NEW: Complete and submit your BVSD Team Sport and COVID permission form.
- In order to participate in team activities, you must be registered in the Pit Zone.
- Team Challenge #1 Complete the Chapman Hill Climb Time Trial and enter your time in this form.
- We will have you do a timed hill climb at the end of the season as well and you’ll be able to compare your speeds.
- Complete your NEW participation survey. (please complete one per student)
League Challenges Schedule can be found on the Colorado League website – Link:
We will only invite riders to begin practice through Team App. Students should all have an account set up. If you do not please contact Tabitha at email@example.com.
Riders should have notifications set up on their phones so that you receive announcements when we send them. Availability will need to be set for each practice (event) that your rider is invited to. If you do not set your availability you cannot ride that day.
If you are opting to no longer be a part of the 2020 season please indicate so in the participation survey. Information about kits and lifestyle wear is a part of the survey.
Thank you for all of your patience. We are hoping to hit the trails as a team very soon.
Please visit the below links to learn more about getting started this season and thanks!
Seems like there was a broken link so here’s pasted language on self timed effort instructions.
Before we start practice, we need to get an objective and data based perspective on each rider’s basic fitness. Traditionally we’ve done this by recording a timed ride up Chapman Drive.Chapman Drive, an old road closed to automobiles, has a steady grade, and is safe for cycling.
We request that you do a self timed ride up Chapman Drive, from the bottom gate (3 mins fromRed Lion Inn) to the top gate and record your time.
The bottom of and auto parking for Chapman Drive is located approximately two miles up Boulder Canyon, on the left hand/south side, where the old Red Lion Restaurant was located,what is now called Wedgewood (https://g.page/BoulderCreek-WedgewoodWeddings?share).
Access to Chapman is also available by bicycle from Flagstaff Road adjacent to the entrance to the Amphitheater, about 3.5 miles up from Chautauqua. If you choose to start from Flagstaff you will need to ride down Chapman to get to the bottom. Please descend Chapman courteously. Stay to the right, use your brakes and keep your masked face up! There are several undulations in the road that could force you to lose your balance unexpectedly. This goes for riders returning to the lower parking lot as well! Very gravely road, not a nice surface to fall on!
Please note, due to construction in Boulder Canyon, bicycling westbound/uphill is currently prohibited by law between Arapahoe and Fourmile Canyon. Additionally, the path is temporarily closed to all use due to construction. At least once this summer, tickets were issued by law enforcement to cyclists who ignored the closure. So please drive to Chapman!
Time yourself from the lower gate to within a safe stopping distance of the upper gate. Stay safe and in control. The lower gate is about an eighth of a mile above the parking lot. The upper gate is adjacent to Flagstaff Road. The total distance is around 2.5 miles and gains1000’. You can time yourself on Strava or with a timer. Bring a pencil and paper to write yourtime down! Easy to forget!
Times are not shared publicly nor are they any sort of final judgement on one’s fitness nor skill.We just need a place to start the season. But remember, if you persist with cycling during your high school career, you will improve and you will grow (Coach Matt promises).
Once you have your time please send it to me, https://forms.gle/athLtyZTpStNQLMi6.Please include your name and grade level, and we will have you placed in a group before our first practice. Times need to be to me by Sunday, August 9, by 5:00.Before your ride:
●Be hydrated – you will not need any energy food for the ride – it is done in under 30minutes but you will need a water bottle!
●Have a mask on and be ready to pull on to your face! When and if you pass other peopleyou must pull it over your mouth and nose! Remember, you represent all of us whenyou’re on your bike
●Get super psyched! This is a beautiful and moderate test ride. Every year we seem tosee a bear hanging around an apple tree in the green valley off the road!
●Remember, we’re just riding bikes. And although our breath may catch a bit, we’re outthere to have fun!Questions? Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to everyone for bearing with us.
Reply to BHS MTB Parent-Rider-Coach Survey Responses from 24 July, 2020
30 July, 2020
Working Shared Practice Standards Document
The above linked shared standards document remains a working document in order to continue to adapt to circumstances and regulations, thus, remaining compliant and updating standards.
New Direction from BVSD
On July 28th, BVSD informed BVSD teams that all their coaches must perform a background check with BVSD’s background check company in addition to the background check coaches already do for their Colorado League/NICA certifications. This is a new and added step that will take some time to comply with.
Quantitative Response Section
There is majority support for practicing this season in the quantitative response section of the survey.
There is also dissent, criticism, and apprehension expressed in the survey responses. BHS MTB leadership accepts these points. The governing principle in BHS MTB’s policy is getting kids on bikes in a compliant fashion that balances risks and benefits.
See the appendix at the end of this document for a summary of the quantitative responses.
Open Ended Response Topics And Replies
Practice start times and suggested later start times to allow for retrieving bikes.
The working intention is to announce staggered practice start times after school, Monday through Thursday. The staggered times and locations spread out across BHS’s campus allow for physical distancing. Later start times are a good idea but, overall, weighed against daylight and the limits of practice time.
Boulder Junior Cycling, Single Track Mountain Bike Adventures, and similar precedents
Since March, youth cycling nonprofits across the state have operated under the regulations of the Colorado Department of Public Health And Environment. The Colorado High School Cycling League has issued similar guidelines. The standards shared by BHS MTB and Fairview are essentially identical to these existing practice protocols. Teams across the state are operating under and abiding by the standards.
Question number three’s poor wording.
Several people pointed out that the survey’s wording, especially item number three was unclear. This is true, apologies.
Refund of payments to The Colorado League and to BHS MTB.
Payments to the Colorado League are nonrefundable and part of the League’s Singletrack Solidarity program of virtual programming for this season. BHS MTB intends to guide practice participation towards the Singletrack Solidarity programming. Any organization has planning and outlay costs that cannot be refunded.
Currently, BHS MTB leadership is attempting to determine what percentage of programming can be delivered this season and, subsequently, make a commensurate refund of fees to families that have been paid to the team. Given the existing workload, this may take some time.
There should be no practices, or only virtual practice, kids should do challenges on their own; practicing creates unnecessary risk. Uncertainty versus risk.
This is the fundamental question and the practice standards document states that what guides us are regulations from authorities, best practices in the community, and the balance of risk and benefit.
It’s unclear if virtual practices are possible. In person practice during the pandemic while following standards is one thing. Deploying minors on roads and trails via electronic means while unable to supervise safety, fitness, habits, and behavior is questionable to several coaches.
Group use of trails causes difficulty for land managers.
This is a historic conundrum. Even without a pandemic, unaffiliated individuals and groups that are less identifiable can cause all sorts of problems but they are less noticeable. Alternatively, when young people are in identifiable clothing and groups, even with trained coaches who supervise standards and compliance, they are a target for blame.
One of the main points of coached mountain biking is to develop healthy behaviors that are accepted in the community and on public lands with measured accountability that allows kids to grow. If the activity is prohibited or over-regulated as a result of an unevenly applied standard, then the kids and “problems” do not just go away. Rather, they find other places to misbehave without oversight and they fail to develop accountability to their community.
Coaches may not wish to expose themselves to virus transmission risk.
No one is required to participate against their desires. Everyone is encouraged to make their own decisions based on their best interests.
Use more parent volunteers to run even more and smaller groups.
Bound by Colorado League and NICA standards, every group must be led by a certified level 2 coach.
Getting kids to comply with mask wearing.
Yes, this is a challenge. It will require diligence.
Need for storage containers for busy parents. Could be used in a safe manner.
We’ll continue to explore this. It does seem like there is a way to use the containers and manage distancing and virus transmission risk.
Practicing once every 10 days is insufficient.
The coaches agree, if kids can only practice once every ten days, the value of practice seems severely diminished.
Cohort/pod model does not work because of cross-contamination during the rest of the day.
Good point. Nonetheless, the standards document that guides our practice protocols is informed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment guidelines as well as other standards that govern our team.
Additionally, even if kids cross-contaminate it does not help to multiply that cross-contamination risk with larger groups. Instead, keeping small groups helps limit further virus transmission.
Meet at separate trail heads.
This is under exploration.
Such and such ‘…has worked well for other youth cycling nonprofits…”
Several comments indicated that youth cycling nonprofits have worked well over the summer. Here we have to beware of confirmation bias, that is, nothing is a problem until it’s a problem. We’re obligated to endeavor to follow the standards and contain the virus.
Let’s say we get a case of Covid. If we’ve contained it with our practice standards, then we’ve avoided negligence and prevented worsening the balance of risk and benefit.
Virtual challenges, “singletrack solidarity.”
Once we can achieve initial organization, the intention is to use the League’s virtual challenges to incentivize practice and participation.
Meeting needs of teens physically, socially, and emotionally.
Lots of comments talked about what is a nationally recognized problem or crisis even, the health and wellbeing of teens during the pandemic. The intention of practicing under the protocol of the standards document is to get kids on bikes in order to help with wellbeing while mitigating risk.
Hold more practices and races.
We’re maxed out on capacity as is. Racing is sanctioned by the League and cancelled this year due to the pandemic.
Alternatively, our relationship with Fairview’s team has only improved lately and we may try to do some virtual competition with the Fairview Squires. But first things first.
Maintaining sense of team.
No doubt, this will be severely compromised this year. Just the basics are challenging.
We’ll let you know.
Movement of riders between groups.
Rider placement in groups is hard in the first place. Moving riders between groups will have to be limited this year.
Immuno-comprimised or vulnerable families.
I have friends in this category. Every family should make the decisions that are best for themselves. As a community, we’re employing the standards to minimize risk.
What are doing to ensure compliance of coaches?
We’re lucky. We have nearly 40 coaches who sacrifice their time and resources to get kids on bikes. Rarely do you have to tell them something twice.
Courteous trail use habits
These are more important than ever. One thing that really helps is the presence of programs like Boulder Junior Cycling and Singletrack Mountain Bike Adventures who for decades have formed habits in young riders who show up at high school modeling what proper riding behavior is.
Another thing that is extra hard during the pandemic is remembering that they’re kids, they’re still learning. It’s our job to teach them constructively and with tolerance.
Summary of Quantitative Responses
This survey is anonymous but it is being sent out to parents, riders and, coaches. Please let us know which category you’d like us to put your response under.
As a family, if secure container storage is unavailable, would your student be able to attend practice with a bike? (Basically, would you be able to arrange for your student to have a bike ready for practice, fyi – we do NOT recommend locking a bike up outside school for any long duration).
Do you think that having your son/daughter participate in a single practice every 1.5 weeks would be suitable / acceptable as part of the Covid prevention measures necessary for all participants’ safety?
*Note, this question was, admittedly, poorly worded.
Will you support and encourage your son/daughter to participate in the League’s virtual, “Single Track Solidarity” efforts this season? (See https://madmimi.com/p/fb64011?pact=14116585-159236328-4655523835-cd3d0f4e9ea93a273cd2d055fe65b34d12e54c16)
Are you concerned about your son/daughter’s safety at practice/riding this fall due to the Covid pandemic?
Do you think the season as a whole including practices should be cancelled this season due to the Covid pandemic?
On a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the least comfortable, and 1 is the most comfortable. How would you rate your comfort level when riding in a group with 5 other people.
1 – 32
2 – 15
3 – 18
4 – 6
5 – 4
6 – 1
7 – 3
8 – 2
9 – 3
10 – 1
On a scale from 1-10, where 10 is the least comfortable, and 1 is the most comfortable. How would you rate your comfort level when riding in a group with 10 other people.
1 – 16
2 – 6
3 – 15
4 – 5
5 – 14
6 – 4
7 – 3
8 – 7
9 – 6
10 – 4
BHS MTB is exploring shared written Covid compliant practice standards with Fairview’s mountain bike team. The intention of these standards is to be compliant with public health regulations, BVSD, The Colorado High School Mountain Bike League, and local land managers like The City of Boulder and Boulder County. These standards would be based on the “bubble” concept of small groups that remain stable, physically distanced, follow facial mask protocol, and routine health screens. Would you be in favor of such policy and operations?
I’m not sure 33
Boulder High Shared Standards for Covid Compliant Mountain Bike Practices – Boulder High Version
30 July, 2020
This document outlines shared policy for mountain bike practice operations during the Covid-19 pandemic. Its intention is to establish written standards in order to operate in compliance with public health regulations, BVSD, FHS, BHS, The City of Boulder, Boulder County, The Colorado High School Mountain Bike League and the community.
Its goal is to get kids on bikes in a reasonable and safe manner in order to balance the health and wellbeing of students with the risks of the virus.
The document is the product of existing and currently accepted practices among peer youth cycling nonprofits across Colorado and Boulder County and consultation with Fairview High School’s mountain bike team.
The safety of our athletes and coaches is our number one priority and we are committed to limiting exposure to and spread of the Corona virus. We will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of expert medical authorities. The information here and our programs will likely change based on evolving circumstances and regulations.
KEY POINTS FOR OUTDOOR CYCLING ACTIVITIES
- Outdoor recreation presents a low risk of transmission
- Mountain biking provides natural distancing, due to the nature of the sport
- Cycling is a healthy outdoor exercise recommended by government guidelines
- Outdoor recreation creates a sense of normalcy for children currently under substantial stress due to the pandemic
- Outdoor recreation provides many physical and mental benefits
- See https://covid19.colorado.gov/safer-at-home/recreation for guidance informing this document from The State of Colorado.
Per standard risk management protocols teams need to plan for the adequate Coach to rider ratios (League guidelines call for 1:6 or 2:8) for trail rides. Due to the pandemic, the goal is to maintain mostly stable groups of one coach to six riders.
We will begin practice sessions in groups with a maximum of 25 riders plus commensurate coaches in any single location at any single time with physical distancing and facial mask protocol among all groups. In reality, numbers will be far lower due to staging rider groups of six separately and distanced across BHS grounds.
GROUP MAKE UP
Start times will be staggered by 15 minutes of separation between practice groups’ meeting times. Specific meeting locations will be given for each group with emphasis on adequate social distancing within the groups and between the groups. Groups are predetermined and will remain stable over the course of the season.
#DISTANCED GROUP MEETING PLAN TO COME#
Riders must ride with their assigned group and are not permitted to switch groups without permission. Riders who are late to practice and miss their assigned group will not be permitted to ride with another group.
Athletes and coaches should maintain a physical distance of 6 feet between one another and other trail users.
Practices will start at Boulder High School with predetermined, spaced locations for our small groups. These locations will provide for large amounts of physical distance because they will be far apart from each other. For example two groups could meet in the senior parking lot – two groups could meet in the west faculty parking lot – a group could meet at the school’s southern entrance. As groups leave school in a sequenced event (5 minutes apart) , health checks will take place in a single location. This plan will be reviewed by school administration.
PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (MASKS)
Athletes and coaches should wear masks according to the current local regulation. The guidance for masks by the CDPHE is HERE. Wash masks every day and remember to pull them on and off by touching the sides to avoid the mouth and nose.
Whenever riders and coaches are within 6 feet of each other, a clean, non-medical face covering should be worn, including when stopping at intersections and trailheads, and when passing another trail user. Face coverings, need not be worn when at a distance greater than 6ft from others, such as when riding.
Be sure to have participants practice covering and uncovering their face coverings before riding on trails, bike paths or densely populated areas.
Explain to riders that while riding if they cannot safely ride and cover their face while riding such as descending rocky terrain the priority is to maintain control and covering their face is secondary in those circumstances. It is a good idea to pull up the mask before descending.
Coaches and athletes must have no signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, and the same for anyone that they live with. If a person has had a case of documented COVID-19 infection they will need a note from their doctor indicating they are cleared to participate.
Temperature check policy is evolving with BVSD policy.
3 Main Health Screening Questions [administered electronically for every practice day]:
- Are you feeling sick, such as a sore throat, fever, muscle aches or shortness of breath?
- Have you been exposed to anyone sick?
- Have you or a member of your household travelled to a hotspot?
If answering yes to any of the above questions, more thorough questioning will be done, and the individual may not be able to attend practice.
- Have you had fever, cough, muscle aches, tiredness, or shortness of breath in the past 48 hours? Have you had any other symptoms of illness in the past 48 hours?
- Have you had a lost or altered sense of smell or taste?
- Have you recently traveled to any Level 3 place listed on the CDC warning list?
- Have you spent time with anyone who has been sick with COVID-19 or some other infectious illness?
Athletes and coaches should not touch each other and should not share any objects of any kind. If touching of equipment is necessary, for example in an equipment malfunction, individuals should use hand sanitizer before and after. Athletes and coaches all are required to carry some form of hand sanitizer. Individuals are not to spit or blow their nose on the trail, and use kleenex instead.
We will avoid skills, drills, and games that involve touching or sharing of equipment, and will not teach skills that require spotting or supporting the athlete. Games and activities that put athletes within 6 feet of each other will also be avoided.
Shaking hands, hugging, and high-5’s are forbidden.
MINIMIZING RISK OF INJURY
Steps will be taken by coaching staff to minimize the risk of injury. Injuries may potentially require physical contact between coach and athlete and also clinic/hospital visits, and should be avoided to the best extent possible.
If needed, first aid will be administered following the current Covid-19 guidelines of the Red Cross. For minor injuries, such as scrapes and small cuts, the athlete may be directed to clean/treat the wound with guidance from a coach, following social distancing protocols.
PICK UP & DROP OFF
Parents and guardians picking up and dropping off athletes will be asked to wear masks and keep at least 6 feet distancing from others. Please consider staying in your car. Avoid the temptation to get out and greet others. Staggered pick up and drop off times will be used to avoid large gatherings. Specific pick up and drop off locations will be announced for each group. Being on time is essential.
We’ll strive to use locations that are less crowded. We may use lightly travelled roads if appropriate.
Steps will be taken to avoid crowding at busy trailheads and meeting locations. Time spent at trailheads will be minimized, and pickups and drops will be as brief as possible. When appropriate, groups may instead meet away from the trailhead in a parking lot or at a safe rideable location to the trailhead, such as a school.
This is an especially sensitive time for interactions between trail users. It is both a responsibility and an opportunity for youth programs to promote good trail etiquette. Various types of positive behaviors will be taught and practiced, including communication, sharing space, yielding, distancing, use of masks, appropriate rest stop locations, speed control, and other types of etiquette that are unique during the pandemic.
It is to be stressed to riders and parents that bikes must be in excellent riding condition. To minimize contact coaches will be instructed to not work on a bike, unless absolutely necessary.
NO SHARING OBJECTS – SELF SUFFICIENCY
Participants must be self sufficient and provide everything they need for the day. The coaches will not supply anything to the athletes, and sharing or borrowing shall be avoided. This includes water, snacks, clothing, sunscreen, tools, spare parts, etc. See the required gear list for details on what to bring on each outing.
If athletes or coaches test positive for Covid-19, the program will discontinue until an appropriate response is formulated.
All riders are required to mark their attendance in Team Snap or Team App at least 24 hours prior to the ride.
Riders who do not notify they will be in attendance via team snap will not be allowed to ride.
We will maintain a detailed log to enable contact tracing if it becomes necessary.
TEAM RESOURCES – Addendum from The Colorado League
Team & Practice Management
Positive COVID-19 Tests or Exposure within your Team Community
If a participant self-reports a positive COVID-19 test, has COVID-19 symptoms, and has attended an activity when contagious or within the past two-weeks, needs to follow local health department guidelines and CDC COVID-19 Guidelines if Sick.
They cannot return without meeting the guidelines set out in this document. This may require a health care provider’s note. They must isolate according to CDHPE How to Isolate Guidelines.
The person in charge of the activity or event must take the following steps:
Call the local county health department or CDPHE 303-339-1687 which will direct you to the local agency.
The local health department will guide you on the appropriate notification protocols. This is why it is vitally important for the groups to stay as uniform as possible, and for their check-in process to include which group they were riding with that day.
Be prepared to:
Notify those who may have been exposed (< 6 feet apart for >10 minutes) to the COVID positive person while not sharing names or other personal information to maintain privacy.
Those exposed need to quarantine for 14 days: How to Quarantine
Those who had close contact with a COVID + person can have testing and may do this at one of their local drive through testing locations. A negative test does NOT mean they can stop quarantine earlier than the 14 days.
Any person who is asked to quarantine, then develops symptoms, must then be tested and isolate appropriately as above.
If the participant’s exposure occurred at another location and they never developed any symptoms, then that participant may need to coordinate with the Head Coach or Team Director to verify when the quarantine began and ended by providing written documentation of this.
Please report any Positive Positive COVID-19 Tests or Exposure within your Team Community via this COVID 19 Exposure form. contact Kate Rau, Colorado League Executive Director, if positive tests are reported within your team community.
Click here to learn more and thanks!
Go to https://www.teamapp.com/clubs/547954/articles/4754273 and follow the instructions in order to stay up to date with team communications.
As BHS MTB looks forward to a new season, we are excited to reveal our new team kit and line of lifestyle wear for 2020-21. Thanks to our partners at Cuore and Anthem Branding and the hard work of coach Chris Aamot, the team will roll into the new season in style.
Every two years, BHS MTB works with Cuore to design a new kit for the team. Only a jersey is required for racing, but Cuore produces a collection of customized BHS gear that riders look forward to receiving at the season launch party in August.
For the 2020-21 jersey cycle, coach Chris Aamot and captain Elliote Muir worked with the team at Cuore to design a kit that takes inspiration from Cuore’s extensive catalog of custom kits as well as our Boulder surroundings and the team itself. The abstract mountain lines on the front of the jersey pay tribute to the flatirons visible from the windows of Boulder High while the topographic lines are a throwback to the 2017 lifestyle wear designed by coach Rich Zirk. In celebration of team’s first decade, detailing inside the topo lines lists the many trails we ride on a daily basis. A yellow stripe on the left sleeve and down the back was added to make riders more visible to traffic, while the right sleeve sports the school’s mascot: the panther. As always, our incredible sponsors are represented on the back pockets of the jersey. The jersey’s inside collar reminds riders of the commitment they’ve made to Be Great!
As it is the only required part of the kit, the jersey was designed to be the focal point while the bibs and baggies were kept simple and versatile. Tying back to the Be Great! theme, the back of the bibs features the entire commitment written out. The baggies are of a similar design, but instead of Be Great! they remind our riders to Live Slow, Ride Fast, and Finish It!
Completely optional but always popular, we revamped our lifestyle gear for the coming season with help from our partners at Anthem Branding. BHS MTB hoodies and t-shirts have become a staple for riders and family members alike.
For the first time, both men’s- and women’s-specific cuts will be available for t-shirts, whose design is an homage to the team’s jersey design of the last four years. Kit-complementing socks will also be available, as well as puff-embroidered hats in both trucker and flat-brim styles. The hats also feature interior detailing and embroidery on the sides.
The hoodie versus zip-up sweatshirt debate can be polarizing, so we’ve avoided the argument by giving you the choice. Featuring a design similar to that of the t-shirts, the sweatshirts are taken to the next level by replacing your average gray fabric with a subtle black camo, inspired by Lululemon.
Because of the world we find ourselves in now, the lifestyle line is made extra-special by the addition of BHS MTB face masks and buffs. Designed to keep our riders, coaches, and community safe while we’re out on the trails, the masks and buffs feature the same panther as the right sleeve of the jersey.
Many thanks go out to Chris Aamot and the teams at Cuore and Anthem Branding for their hard work on these awesome apparel items. Thanks to them, our team will be looking super fly both on and off the bike this season! Keep your eye out for ordering deadlines, which will be announced after the registration window closes in June.
With Coach Jensen editing, Coach Matt authored the below response to topics in the spring feedback form and brief coaches survey.
Response to BHS MTB Comments
Below are responses to the topics raised on the comment form linked to in this e-newsletter, https://mailchi.mp/5b575b48489e/yah-baby-welcome-to-the-2020-bhs-mtb-team-and-season?e=1f85088cee.
1. How will the groups be split?
Groups will be determined by ongoing management of skill and social compatibility or friends. Two of the top five reasons kids do sports are for fun with their friends and for appropriate challenge that facilitates growth in skills. That means, and the coaches agree, that a better job needs to be done of managing kids who, one, want and merit growth in ability and, two, kids who want to be with their friends.
For 2020, we will start the season by grade in order to establish initial organization. From there, requests and direction will be issued collaboratively between riders and coaches.
The time trial at the beginning of the season is a way to initially sort the groups. Over the course of the season, management from the coaches will facilitate requests from or direction to kids to change groups. Over the course of the season, management of the riding groups including the possible movement of riders between groups for whatever reason, will be overseen and facilitated by the coaches.
There will be exceptions to the days-of-week/grade-level sorting. If a skilled freshman needs to ride with more varsity riders, that freshman will be invited to change practice days.
By going to a four day a week plan, in theory, groups should be smaller and easier to manage. Also, we disperse our use of local trails in combination with Fairview (Fairview is a great partner in all of this). Any coach will tell you, if the ratio of coaches to riders gets more coaches, everything gets better.
2. Older riders mentoring younger ones.
One of the captains suggested already that some experienced riders should have an opportunity to occasionally help lead groups on Mondays and Wednesdays.
This is a way for older riders to mentor younger ones. The benefits are both broad and deep. Look for this to happen this year.
3. Could there be short fun Friday practices or weekend rides?
Yes…but, a problem across BHS MTB is our size, around 150 kids, combined with our volunteer structure. Volunteer coaches are already maxed out making time in their schedules to attend two days a week. Expecting more from volunteers exacerbates the problem. And if you ask a volunteer to do too much, they go away.
Showing up at any trail system with dozens of kids on the weekend makes planning and logistics hard and crowds trails.
Equity figures as an obstacle as well. What about the kids who cannot ride on weekends?
In the past, there were weekend rides but that was before BHS MTB got so big.
On the other hand, there are things like the Bike Wash and Trail Building Days. Thanks to great work by parents last year, there were grade level dinners just for the kids.
4. Coaches should stay with the group by sweeping, never dropping the last rider.
Agreed. Thanks for the comment. Thanks also to Coach Cheri and others who brought up crucial criticisms like this, took them head-on, and made them explicit topics for improvement.
This policy is going to be one of the very few strictly issued regulations from the Team Director and head coaches.
5. Coaches should listen to their riders better…and inquire with them more.
Good comment, thank you. There’s a lot to this one.
Telling a volunteer what they oughtta do is different from helping a volunteer do what they offered to do. Coaches are there in the first place because they care and not every coach can be everything to every rider. Take Grumpy Coach Matt for instance, he’s not too talkative in the first place.
The associated comment went on to talk about the mental health benefits of riding with friends and coaches. Probably every coach has made a deliberate decision to sacrifice of their time and resources to contribute to their community by aiding in healthy activity for high schoolers.
Could it be better? Yes. How? Hard to say. One great idea is Vail Ski And Snowboard Academy which is the first public ski academy. It has an altered academic schedule that allows kids to ride and ski during daylight, off-peak hours. Imagine making healthy activity a built-in part of your school day.
6. If Coach Matt missed anything, tell him at email@example.com
Responses to The Brief Inquiry to Coaches
Separate from the feedback form was a brief communication to the coaches asking them what’s on their mind. Below is a response.
- From fear and furlough to gratitude for being able to ride and being stuck with family; the coaches unanimously look forward to the season and riding with the kids. The sum total of their payroll from infinitely patient Kay to speedy fast Scotty is $0.00, priceless.
- Coaches often state their desire to upgrade their NICA certification level. The pandemic is a new and powerful barrier to in-person training. Thanks to the Colorado League, a lot of things are being moved to online formats. Things like Wilderness First Aid will eventually require in-person work. No easy answers here at the moment.
- The Colorado League’s efforts to make NICA’s On The Bike Skills class more accessible are supported by BHS MTB team management. With the magnitude of coaches and resources between Fort Collins and Golden alone, it would be great if local coaches could be certified to teach other coaches the On The Bike Skills class or equivalents.
- Dividing the team’s workload through better volunteer management came up. Currently, a committee has been set up to identify (done), describe (done), and better fill volunteer roles across the board. Two principles are working here. One, asking more people to help. Two, getting organized so that helping is more appealing and natural to parents and others.
- Coaches need support with difficult ride groups or individual riders who manifest difficult behavior. Roughly the same topic is heard from both riders and coaches. Anyone who’s been around similar situations knows how hard this is. Part of an answer may lie in the move to shared management and switching to four day a week practice. By relieving a single head coach, such as Ben in the past, from the overwhelming need to do more than possible and by splitting practice days, hopefully, groups will be smaller and support resources will be proportionately larger. The other side of this coin is that BHS MTB has become an organization abnormally large and complex to be run by volunteers who, like everyone, have their own problems.
- BHS MTB can contribute to normalcy during the pandemic. Yes. Thanks to Coach Jensen, even though everything is uncertain these days, we’re going forward in order to provide as much order as we can.
- Basic riding skills or curriculum. Coach Brian is on it! Good suggestion. This one is in the works.
- “I hope the season happens.” That sums it up.