Thursday, November 6, 2014

Dues due - please mail $100 to Paul Johnson

Most school activities ask for money up front — then make you do painful fund raisers. If you drop out of the team,  you don’t get your dues back.

This year the Highland Mountain Biking Team is much more civilized. No painful fund raisers, and you get all that great coaching before you pay.

If you’ve paid your dues for the season thank you very much. If, like me, you forgot to bring a check to our post-season dinner (thank you Hooley family!) you can mail one to Paul Johnson:

… Our team dues have finally been determined (just to cover costs form this past season). See the tabs in our detailed Highland MTB Team Budget for details.

It is our goal to reimburse ride leaders the $47 for their league registration and background check, unless you let us know that you’d like make that a team donation (note it when you email check). Also, please let us know if you incurred other expenses for the team that you'd like to be reimbursed for.

2014 Team Dues: $100 per racer

Please make your check out to the Highland Park Mountain Bike Team.

Mail to:

Paul Johnson, Highland Mountain Biking

2151 Randolph Ave

St Paul, MN 55105

***Please consider adding a donation to your team dues of $50, $100 or more.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Year End Party: Sunday November 2nd at Hooley Home.

Our year end party will be at the Hooley home: 405 Portland Ave, St Paul, MN 55102 next Sunday, November 2nd.

Start with a ride at Lebanon Hills in Eagan at 2:30 followed by a very casual pot-luck dinner at our house. 

The Hooeley’s will supply chili (one vegetarian option and one meat option). If people would like to volunteer to bring the following, it would be great:

corn bread/bread

At the party, we should discuss a few business matters such as finances for this year, fundraising/finances for next year and general plans for next year.

John F is going to try to put a slideshow together that will run during the party.

Please send a note to with what you can bring.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

2014: Race #5 – Whitetail Ridge Sunday Oct 26 (final 2014)

First - put your numbers in your car now so you don’t forget them.

Our calendar is up to date with race starts, the official details are on the race site:


Race Profile - from David Moore (Peter’s Dad): (zoom in and switch to Satellite view)
(it doesn’t feel that up and down, but I guess it us!)

Race strategy for the finisher (not trying to win - seeking to finish tired but with style and have fun)

  • The race starts with a long climb. Stay to the right and go at 80% so you have energy at the top; stay in your seat to conserve energy. There are periodic gravel bumps, get some momentum so you get up and over without spinning wheels.
  • There’s one other smaller but similar climb - play it the same way.
  • After each of those two climbs there’s an grassy flat or slow climb are around open fields. This is where you can pass when you’re ready — often at the top of the climb. There’s good room to pass there.
  • The rest of the trail is fairly narrow — there won’t be much passing. 
  • After the first open field there’s a stretch with several bridges. Approach with steady speed and look ahead, they’re no problem.
  • Not a lot of berms on this trail, remember to stay on the outside edge.
  • There are some narrow spots and the roots are tricky. Keep eyes open, look ahead, and lift your front wheel to cruise over the roots. If there’s someone ahead of it’s easy to spot the fun stuff.
  • There’s a lot of fun up and down, trick is to stay in an solid gear so you can get speed on the down and cruise up the other side.
  • Have a great time, and remember than once you start the 3rd lap you are sure to finish. So just be steady and finish fast.

Course review - David Moore

The course starts with a sweeping right across a wide flat grassy field for 150 meters. An immediate dive into the forest yields a seriously steep 250-meter-long climb up a rutted, slightly loose Jeep road: don't get caught in the big ring entering the woods. It's a leg-burner, by far the likeliest place to pass or be passed on the whole course.

Then there's about a half mile of flat wide grassy path around a plowed field -- further opportunities to pass or be passed.

Almost all of the rest of the course (excepting two more long flat grassy runs alongside plowed fields) is singletrack: often twisty, with roots, a half-dozen low short wooden bridges, and frequent rises and dips. It's at about the same technical level as most of Lebanon Hills, though not as rocky as the Expert and XX sections there.

The last fourth of the race loop is flat to rolling, but still singletrack. All in all, it's a challenging course, requiring constant alertness and resourceful riding.

Season Awards Ceremony Nov 1 7pm Hopkins

Season Awards Ceremony 2014 – Minnesota High School Cycling League has the details, and I’ve added them to the Calendar entry.

Racers should wear team jerseys, but otherwise “semi-formal”. Free, donations accepted at door.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mt Kato Race information is online - deadline for online registration is Tues. Oct. 7, 2014 at Midnight!

Yes, I know we’re still recovering from Rochester, but Mt Kato is open us.

The web page has the usual information:

Deadline to preregister is Tuesday 10/7 midnight. Tomorrow!

"The course starts with a nice warm-up climb to the top of the ski area. Once on top, all racers make a large traverse along the back of the ski area. The course has a good balance of climbs, descents and technical sections with switchbacks. Approximate vertical gain per 4 mile lap is 400 feet.”

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reflector alternatives for those who ride their mountain bikes on the roads

I always wear a helmet on my bikes, but when I'm with cars being highly visible is at least as important. My commuting bike is visible from low earth orbit.

Being visible isn't always a great match to mountain bike racing though. It takes the strongest of minds to race with wheel reflectors or front/rear reflectors. That's not a problem if you never ride your mountain bike on the street in dim light, but most of us at least ride to some trails.

One partial fix to reflector-free bikes is to wear highly visible and reflective clothing - and especially to stick a portable blinkie to your helmet or jacket.

That's good, but you can do even better with 3M based "Lightweights" Power Reflectors. I've put these on several bikes, replacing spoke reflectors and improving visibility.

They are quirky to apply to spokes. I'll try to do a short video; once you know the technique it's easy to do while watching TV or sitting outside with a beverage. Get one end wrapped about spoke and then use the paper end to turn the strip, the paper just peels off. Be sure to clean first with alcohol solution.

If you really want to be seen you can apply some of the 'extras' to bike surfaces. They stay on well. I apply those to cranks (front back outside) and maybe front forks.

The result is very visible at night, and not obvious during day. Total weight added is negligible.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Practice, Race, Jerseys, T-Shirts and more

The practice schedule for this week is updated on the team calendar at  Click on an event to see more info, including directions to the ride, some maps, and even trail video.


Our next race is in Rochester this Sunday, October 5. Online registration closes Tuesday, September 30 at midnight!

Check the calendar for race day details. Matt Johnson and Mark Hooley will be coaching during the race because Erik Peterson and Paul Johnson will be happily rolling through the forests of Northern Minnesota at the Heck of The North. (Admittedly, this ride ends Saturday at dusk, but they will definitely need a recovery day Sunday. They'll certainly be with you in spirit and expect to hear a lot of great race stories next week!)

NUMBER PLATES!!  Be sure to keep your number plate - you will need to reuse it at all of our races.

We are missing a number of our gray team NOW water bottles. If you have any, please wash them and bring them to an upcoming ride so we can get the set ready for the next race.

We have a growing lost and found collection. Talk to me:
-black River's Edge Academy t shirt
-black sweatpants

TEAM JERSEYS! - The Team Store is Open Until Oct 1
The new store front is now up and set to close on October 1st at Midnight.  The clothing should be ready by October 29.  

Password: Highland (the password is case sensitive)

I will have a jersey sizing kit soon. Let me know if you'd like to try a sample jersey on for size. In general, these run a bit small. For example, I often wear a size M for a "race fit" - but in PodiumWear I need at least a size L.

Contact Matt Johnson if you're interested in buying a team t-shirt for $10.

The best way to get in touch with the entire team is through our Google Groups. If you are not already signed up, use these links to join the team discussions. The best thing about these groups is that you can choose how often you get email from the groups.

Team Group - discuss anything related to the team, find rides, offer rides, post links to photos

Coaches, Ride Leaders & Parent Leaders - discuss administrative details and team planning: