Friday, December 19, 2008

St. Francis is featured in the SoCal League Team Spotlight!

High school mountain bike racing? Could it be true? Though his son had not been an avid cyclist, Lee Bird noticed his ears perk up when he heard about high school mountain bike racing. Both father and son decided that they wanted a high school mountain bike team at St. Francis High School in La Canada, where Lee’s son Lance is a freshman, and soon they were off to start one of the first high school mountain bike teams in SoCal.

When Lee initially talked to the school administration about starting a mountain bike club he received enthusiasm and support. “At first, I think they thought I was talking about a bunch of kids sitting around at lunch talking about bikes,” said Lee of school administrators. The school allowed him to attend club day during lunch-time to see if there would be interest among the student body. During that lunch period, 41 students expressed interest and signed up. Soon after, Lee met with administrators again and this time got into more detail.

After learning that students would be, in fact, riding their bicycles, the administration asked more questions to make sure that they became educated about mountain bike racing. Being a new venture for the school, they made sure that they had as much information about the sport required to make a fair judgment about the program. “St. Francis has both Lacrosse and Roller Hockey clubs which are just as, or more, dangerous than mountain biking,” stated Lee, which worked in his favor. Lee was also able to generate tremendous support on several levels. The mountain bike club had advocates in the students and parents, but also in some of the school’s faculty and administrators. Ultimately, this had a huge effect. After gathering information from the League office, other SoCal schools with mountain bike clubs, and from Lee himself, the school board approved the formation of the team.

Once he got the green light, Lee set out to get some team sponsors in the local community. By seeking sponsorship from people he knew personally, Lee was able to talk about the team, the League and about the students directly with potential sponsors. Within 24 hours of beginning the hunt for sponsors, Lee already had $1000, with more on the way. A local bike shop, Helen’s Cycles, was particularly enthusiastic about the team, though everyone wanted to help out in any way they could. The St. Francis Mountain Bike Club currently has seven local sponsors who have given close to $2,000 for its inaugural season. The fundraising was an important part of the overall vision, as Lee wanted to make sure that funds were available to provide scholarships to any student that could not afford the required equipment.

The St. Francis team came together very well, with fifteen students committed to the 2009 race series. However, Lee stressed that he and other committed individuals put in countless hours. “I knew it would be a huge undertaking, but it has taken about three times as much work as I anticipated,” said Lee. Finding a school faculty member was a big help, especially because Lee doesn’t work at St. Francis. Lee enlisted the help of the school’s cross country coach and English teacher Patrick Donovan. “Patrick, and the school’s Activities Director, Denise Gunter, have been a tremendous help and allies of the program from the beginning,” said Lee.

With the team clothing design finalized and submitted to Hincapie, the first team ride under their belt (check out for a great picture), and their team blog riddled with updates the St. Francis Mountain Bike Team appears to be well on their way to a successful season.

If you would like more information about the St. Francis High School Mountain Bike Club, contact Lee Bird at or check out the team blog at

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Final Clothing Design

Our team kits have been ordered! Here is the final design. We're going to represent St. Francis High school well!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

First Ride is in the Bag!

I wanted to share some exciting news with you. Today was the first ride of the SFHS Mountain Bike team and it went great! It looks like we have about 15 riders on the team. 13 showed up today at 3:00pm after school for our first ride, although one wasn't able to join us because of a broken bike. Thanks to the SoCal league and the guidance of the NorCal league, Coach Donovan and I had some skill drills that we worked on with the students down at Hahamunga Park.

After awhile, we were off and had our first ride up the fire road behind JPL. It wasn't a particularly long ride, but it took a lot of work to get us to this point. I want to especially thank Coach Patrick Donovan, Ms. Gunter, and the administration at St. Francis High School for their support. I would also like to thank the SoCal and NorCal leagues for the incredible program that they have put together, our eight corporate sponsors that have generously stepped up to help these young men, and especially all of the parents!

Today was a milestone that we should all feel great about. I'm looking forward to many more days like today!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Updates - Are you ready to ride?

The bike inspection last Saturday went great! It was very nice to see all of you and your parent's.

During our club meeting yesterday, we went over some final details before our first club ride on December 3rd. To recap:

1. First Ride is on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 at 3:00pm.
2. Meet at the back gate down near the athletic fieldhouse.
3. Ride is over at 4:45pm. We will return to the same gate at the athletic fieldhouse. Parent’s can pick you up there. I DO NOT recommend riding home in the dark!
4. I must have the following documents for you to be able to join us on the ride: SoCal League Release of Liability, St. Francis HS Athletic Emergency/Medical Information Form, St. Francis HS Preparticipation Medical History Form.

For the first ride, bring:
Mountain Bike (Check your tire pressure)
Flashing red taillight
Clipless Pedals and Cycling Shoes (Not mandatory but will be after December rides).
Gloves and Eye Protection
Cycling Shorts
Cycling Jersey
Vest (or windbreaker) and Arm Warmers
Water (Bottle or Camelback)
Nutrition (Gu, Clif Bar)
Spare tube and inflation device (Pump or Air Cartridge)

Helmet Rule: If your legs are over the bicycle, even if you aren’t pedaling, you must have your helmet on and it must be fastened. There are NO warnings. If you are caught on the bicycle without a helmet, you will be dismissed from the club.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We're a real team!

I wanted everyone to know that I received an email from the league that team registration was open now, and I have registered our team. We are an official SoCal league team now. This is the first step in us getting our insurance, which we will need to start our rides. We're getting closer!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jersey Designs

So far we have two jersey designs. I asked our clothing provider, Hincapie Sports to help us with a design. In addition, Carter and Tim did a GREAT job and have provided a design as well. Look them over and please give me some feedback on what you like or don't like. If you have a design, it's not too late to submit it. Please email it to me or give a copy of it to Lance at school.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Interview with NorCal / SoCal League Founder

Here's a really nice interview with NorCal / SoCal league founder, Matt Fritzinger. He talks about expansion of the league Nationally!

Important Dates for Our Club - Yearbook and Open House

We are eligible for a group photograph for the yearbook. We need to have this photo to Mr. Bidwell by December 1st.

If we want an extended feature on our club in the yearbook, we need to let Luke Stephens or Nick Coasta know by November 21st. Would anyone like to volunteer to get our group photo done and to notify Luke or Nick about an extended feature on our club?

Open House is Saturday, January 10th. (Setup is on January 9th from 2pm to 4pm). We need to participate to keep our active status. Please let me know if you can help man the table during Open House to tell families about the Mountain Bike Club. Also, end of the year club awards include best club of the year, best new club, and most devoted club moderator. Let's work hard to get an award!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Videos from NorCal League Races

Here are some videos from the NorCal league. This is what our racing experience will be like!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Upcoming Meetings

Thanks again to those that made it to our team meeting today. Just a reminder about a few things:
1. Please get your medical forms turned into Coach Donovan ASAP. There is a link to the left called "important documents" that has a link to a copy of the forms on the SFHS website in case you need them.
2. Mandatory parent's meeting on November 13th at 6:30pm in Room 102.
3. Jersey designs due by November 14th. Clothing will be ordered on November 19th.
4. Bike inspection on November 22nd in the SFHS Quad area from 8:00am to 11:00am. Stop by anytime for a free bike inspection.
5. December 3rd, first ride!
6. December 14th from 9:00am to 4:00pm. SoCal league riders clinic in Bonelli Park (San Dimas). Cost is $45 per rider.
Please email call or email me if you have any questions.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sponsors Needed!

I asked...and the positive response has been overwhelming! Yesterday, I emailed friends and family asking if they would assist us with sponsorship for the team. Our goal was to raise $2000.00 for incidental expenses this year. We split this up by offering 6 pocket sponsorships for $250 each and one shoulder sponsorship for $500. In less than 24 hours, we already have 4 pocket sponsors that have stepped up. Thank you!!! Our first four sponsors are:

Design Imports
Mountain Pine Shutters
Strategic Law Partners

I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to see these businesses step up, so quickly, to help these young adults. We still have two pocket sponsorships and one shoulder sponsorship available. Please email me at if you are interested.
Thank you again!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jersey Design

One of the first things that we need to get done is to design and order our team clothing. (Team clothing is often referred to as a "kit"). We will have a jersey and shorts that we will train and race in. At our first club meeting, we talked about a design contest for the clothing. Hopefully, everyone is coming up with great ideas. We want our kit design to show our pride in being Golden Knights, and to make sure that the other schools that we will be racing against know that we are from St. Francis.

I am currently working on getting sponsors for our team. We will add their logos to the clothing also.

If you need a sheet to do your design on, you can download one HERE.

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with for their design. Some samples are below.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I can't believe that this is really happening! What seemed like a dream a couple of years ago, is becoming a reality.

My son Lance and I had always dreamed of starting a mountain bike racing team. We had heard about the successful NorCal league in Northern California, but didn't know how to get a program started here in Southern California. Well, it's happened! The NorCal league has recently started a league here in Southern California guessed it...SoCal!

Lance is a freshman at St. Francis High School. With the help of his cross-country coach Patrick Donovan, and the school administration, we have started a Mountain Bike club.
Ms. Gunter, the activities director at St. Francis, was very accepting and supportive of our idea for a mountain bike club at St. Francis and assisted us in getting approval for the club. At the school club fair in September, 41 students signed our "interest" sheet. Of those 41 students, 21 made it to the first club meeting. With all of the positive things that have happened, I am encouraged and believe that we will have at least 15 students racing their mountain bikes in the spring of 2009.

Thank you to everyone that has helped us get this far. Coach Donovan and I are very excited about this opportunity and look forward to seeing you...out on the trails!

If you are interested in being on the team, or helping us in any way, please contact me at