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:

Monday, September 22, 2014

Highland MTB News and Practice Schedule 9/22-9/28

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.

Be sure to check the schedule soon -- our first ride (and pizza party) is Tuesday (tomorrow).

We had 10 racers compete at the Jail Trail in St. Cloud. There was some amazing effort put forth out there. In particular, congratulations are in order to Abe, who completed his race in style, Taylor who completed his first race, Ray who fought through a terrible respiratory illness all the way to the finish, and, most amazingly, to Maggie, who completed her first race, and, truly, her first mountain bike ride, wearing a smile to the finish!

Our next race is in Rochester on October 5.

NUMBER PLATES!!  Be sure to keep your number plate - you will need to reuse it at all of our races. [jf: replacements cost $25!!]

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
-Cole's jersey (that he kindly lent to another rider)

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: (see your email or contact Coach Erik)

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.

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:

You can also find us on Facebook and Google Plus at:

Facebook Group:
Facebook Page (public):
Gooble Plus: (add to your sharing circle)


Finally, the Highland Village newspaper is running a story about us. Please contact me if you'd like to be interviewed or have a great picture or two we could send to them.

Friday, September 19, 2014

The number you were given at first race is supposed to be permanent - don't lose it

Tim and I didn’t know this, unfortunately he threw his away. The race numbers are supposed to be for entire season:

CHIP TIMING: All registered racers will receive a permanent number that has a pre-installed chip on the back
side. Racers will need to use this plate for all 5 races. Take precautions to minimize loss by removing the plate
before mounting on car rack. Replacement number plates will be available at the Registration Tent for $25.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Highland MTB email list subscription (managed by Google Groups)

Google has an old but still working product called “Google Groups”. For most users it behaves like a 1980’s [1] email list, but there’s also a web interface.

One advantage of Google Groups/Email list is that it works with … email. You can send emails out and everyone gets it (in theory). The problem with Groups is the modern email problem — many times email is lost, blocked as spam, filtered out, bounces etc.

Another advantage is that you don’t need to give away too much personal information. You don’t even need a Google Plus account. It will work with non-Google email, though I think it does require some kind of Google setup. Google Group/email is more privacy friendly than most of our current communication options.

There’s a web archive of past messages and conversations that’s password protected.

You can view the archive and accept invitations here:!forum/saint-paul-highland-mountain-bike-team

I believe you can also go to that URL and request an invitation — useful if you wish to add a new email address or if you didn’t get an invite (probably filtered out by spam filter). It does work best with Google email of course.

As old folks know, group communication was probably easiest in 1994! Things are rather more challenging now.

I’ll try to keep the blog (mirrored to our Facebook Group(!) but not our Facebook Page(!) up to date, though I’ve been traveling lately and I’ll try to update our website to list what’s up.

[1] For most of our riders that’s so long ago it blurs into World War II.

PS. If you’re a super-duper geek there’s actually a no-longer documented way to follow Group activity with RSS feeds, but I don’t know if it works with private groups like ours.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

St Cloud Race - Sept 21

Race #2 - Jail Trail - Sun. Sept. 21

We’re heading back to Jail Trail for Race #2 in St. Cloud, MN. Get ready for flat singletrack, mixed with cross-country ski trails. Several small technical features await the MN League racers! 

Tues. Sept. 16 – Online Registration in Pit Zone closes at Midnight.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week of 9/8-9/14

We had an amazing day of racing at Buck Hill today. The course was incredibly tough - arguably the toughest we'll face this season. The next few courses will seem easy by comparison.
Please see practice details on the team calendar on our website: -- Click on any event to see practice details.
I tried to work around riders' schedules and have generally shifted the practices to later in the day. Please give me feedback if the schedule isn't working for you.
Looking ahead, Race #2 is in St. Cloud on Sunday, September 21. You can check the Pit Zone now to get registered for it.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Race Weekend: Meet pre-ride 2pm Sat, be onsite at least 1 hour before your race.

Hi, everyone.  Coach (Paul) Johnson here.  We have 9 riders registered and race ready for this weekend!  We are racing Division 2. It makes a difference for knowing which wave you need to start with.  Middle School is the only category that does does not divide by Division.  Here are our riders!! 
MS Boys Race (9:00, 1 lap=2.8mi): Cole, EmmettSoph Boys Div 2 Race (12:03, 3 laps = 8.4mi): Luke, JulianFrosh Boys Div 2 Race (12:09, 2 laps = 5.6mi): MichaelJV Boys Div 2 Race (2:06, 4 laps=11.2mi): Abe, Thomas, Tim, Ray
Note that race day will be a long day.  It would be terrific if you are able to come and stay for the whole day and cheer on your teammates!  Bring homework, a camp chair, snacks and drinks.  If you really can't stay the whole day, we hope you can at least overlap with one other race to be there for your team.  

The weather looks fantastic this weekend.  But we know races later in the season will bring us fun surprises.  It doesn't hurt to always be prepared with some warm clothes, rain gear, tights, full fingered gloves, perhaps arm warmers or a long sleeve to wear under your jersey, etc.  Even this weekend, the early morning races may still be a little chilly.  Having a race bag ready to go for the season can be super helpful.  Check the NICA sample equipment list below (link) for more ideas on what to bring.

Sat Pre-Ride:  Open 1-4pm.  WE WILL MEET AT 2:00.  Note that pre-ride opens at 1:00 but we will not meet until 2:00.  Coaches Matt Johnson and Paul Johnson will be on hand to help you get your race numbers and check out the course.  You must have your race number attached before you can pre-ride the course.  Take advantage of the pre-ride!  It is extremely helpful to know the course.  You will want to be looking for pass zones, places to make a strong move, the best line for corners and more.  Ride tricky spots more than once to dial them in.  Seeing all of this the day before allows you time to visualize rocking the course!

Sun Race Day: You should be on site at least a full hour before your race.  If you are there early to cheer on teammates, even better!!  We will have two tents at our site, a red-covered tent and a NOW tent.  Coaches Paul Johnson and Matt Johnson will be your primary contacts (Coach Peterson hopes to catch the races, if possible).  NOW will have a mechanic on hand and some extra supplies (if needed)!  If for some reason, you can't make the pre-ride on Sat, the course is also available for pre-ride on race day from 8:00-8:45am (can't start later than 8:15am).  

You will want to do some warming up starting at least 45 min prior to your start time.  Expect staging (lining up) to begin 20-30 min before your race.  Check the links below for more race day info (especially the race flyer and equipment checklist).  Don't forget your race jersey!

Coach Paul Johnson, 651-285-2970
Coach Matt Johnson, 651-470-7048

PS. races we have riders in are on our calendar (boys only at moment).

Keep up with Highland MTB at

Thursday, September 4, 2014

No practice Friday 9/5

Coach Erik Writes:
We had a fun, challenging, hot, sticky practice today. Everybody is looking really strong.

We have a long weekend of riding ahead of us, so we are going to cancel our ride at Battle Creek tomorrow, Friday, September 5.
Our next ride will be the race pre-ride on Saturday at Buck Hill. I'm sorry to newer riders, but if you aren't racing Sunday (or won't be -- you can still register to race on-site if you get yourself listed as "race ready" by completing all of your paperwork on the Pit Zone) the official word is that they won't let you on the race course to ride.

When you arrive on Saturday, look for Coach Paul Johnson and Coach Matt Johnson who will be leading the pre-ride. See the team calendar for their cell phone numbers. Before riding, we will have to check in to get our race numbers and then attach those to our bikes.
I plan to make it to all of your races, assuming I get back from my race in Wisconsin at a reasonable hour.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Week of 9/2 to 9/7: Important race information, deadline to register without penalty is midnight 9/2.

See the team wiki for this week's practice schedule. Click on any event on the calendar to see more details, such as directions and coach phone numbers.

See the Single Track Times below for important information about Race #1 at Buck Hill: (really, do read this. There’s lots of info in there.)

If you don’t already get Single Track Times, go to to sign up for league email newsletters.


Racer registration on Pit Zone for Race #1 closes on Tues. Sept. 2, 2014 at Midnight.

Please log onto the Pit Zone and be sure you are RACE READY! Avoid the long lines and take care of your registration online before the race:

Here is a Race Ready Checklist:

Pit Zone information entered and confirmed

MN League Fee and Race Fee paid.

Participation Waiver mailed, faxed or emailed (once per season)

Deadline to be fully registered online is Tues. Sept. 2 by Midnight. On-Site Registration will be available on Sat and Sun during Pre-Ride, but a late fee will be applied.


PS. We’re now sharing photos and videos by Google (better for getting local copies) and our Facebook Group. See our main web page for links:

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Trail Ride Sunday 8/31, Race news, buying guide

Lots of news related to weather, race venue, and the like. We had to cancel the Saturday ride due to wet trails. So we have a Sunday ride (it's in our website Calendar).

Sunday, 8/31 Trail Ride 3-5 at Theo Wirth, Glenwood spur
Tomorrow's team ride will be at Theodore Wirth park @ 3pm. We will primarily be riding the Glenwood spur beginning at Glenwood Ave & Theo Wirth Pkwy, which is where we will meet to start practice. If you will be driving there, the easiest parking is just east on Glenwood Ave near the swim beach. Please plan to arrive and be ready to ride by 3pm, and of course let me know if you have any conflicts. 
Team jerseys have shipped and we should have them next week. I'll let you know as soon as we have them.  I have most rider's waiver forms, but not everyone's so please, Please! make sure to get those submitted to myself and the League (I can scan/send the forms if needed). 
Also, check back on the Pit Zone to make sure you have registered for and have paid for Race #1!
More on our venue change to Buck Hill
We have moved Race #1 for the 2014 Season from Salem HIlls to Buck Hill in Burnsville. 
We will be sending out a SingleTrack Times later today, but please do share this information with your racers, parents and volunteers.  
Due to construction at Salem Hills Elementary School, parking would not be available for the over 400 estimated racers and their families. We have moved the first race to Buck Hill on a new course that has similar technical features to Salem Hills but minimizes the sustained climbing. New course distance is 2.8 miles. 
Race Flyer and Course Map are available on this webpage.  
Race Features (Pit Zone, Feedzone... are being worked out this weekend and the map will be updated before the race.) 

There's a document on bike features and buying options added to our website. I've also been told Jonny Rock Bikes in Hopkins has a good selection of quality used mountain bikes.

[1] Mountain bikers are fine in the rain, but urban trails can't handle it.

Note: this post gets copied automatically to our Facebook Group, but links only work in original.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Saturday Aug 30 practice moving to Buck Hll

More details to come, but I've updated the calendar to have location at Buck Hill. That's where next week's race will be.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Change in venue to Buck Hill and new Facebook Group

We’ve created a Facebook group for easy communication and sharing tips:

Anyone can join. It’s public so you can read it if you’re not on Facebook (but remember anything you post there is public).

In other news we’ve been moved from Salem Hills to Buck Hill for race 1. From Facebook:

It's official - Race 1 is being moved from Salem Hills to Buck Hill. Unfortunately the active construction zone around the elementary school will prevent us from using any school grounds including the parking lot.

Our staff has worked with Buck Hill to develop a course that has a similar technical features to Salem and minimize the sustained climbing. An announcement will be sent to all coaches later today with a communications to parents/athletes Friday.

and via email

Our first race of the season is being moved from Salem Hills to Buck Hill. A wet spring has caused a delay in construction at Salem Hills Elementary. The school is used as our primary parking lot and our Pit Zone (team tent area). Without it, we lack the space and parking to hold a league event.

The core staff has worked with the trail crew at Buck Hill to develop a course suitable for a first race. Each of series races become more difficult in technical features and physical ability. The technical riding skills required is comparable to Salem. The course distances have been reduced to 3 mile laps to bring the finish times for all riders within the time windows outlined in the NICA rule book. You can view the course here:

We strongly suggest that all athletes pre-ride the course. Pre-ride will be open from 1-4PM on Saturday, September 6th. Please note that Buck Hill is private property and cannot be ridden without prior authorization from Buck Hill staff.

There’s a map of the new course.

I’ve heard rumor that we’ll change our Sat ride location, but for now the calendar says Salem Hills.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Highland MTB News and Practices 8/12-8/17

1.  Please get a basic tool kit and a method for carrying it on rides(under seat bag, small backpack, etc.), including the following:

  • spare inner tube (small patch kit optional)
  • 2 tire levers
  • inflation method (small pump or CO2 kit)
  • multi tool (or small collection of basic tools)
  • money (it can be a good idea to carry $10-20 for emergencies)
  • cell phone (in plastic bag - protect it from rain and sweat)
  • I.D. (even just hand-written -- your name, a phone number where someone could reach your loved ones)

2.  Please be sure to send email if you will be missing any practices or have any questions about practices.

3.  Please follow this link to find or offer rides to practices and rides (these events are also on our team Google Calendar)

TRAINING AND EVENTS CALENDAR (click here to see the complete, interactive calendar where you can record ride details, and find or offer rides to events)

Week of
Aug 11 -
Aug 18
Coaches, Ride Leaders, Racers Attending, Notes
I Need a Ride (provide name & contact info)
I Can Provide a Ride
(provide name & contact info)
Tues, 8/12
Independent Strength Training: Choose at least 3 exercises from this list:

Wed, 8/13
Skills Practice at the Deer Pen (contact Coach Peterson if you are not sure where this is), 2-4 p.m.
Coaches: Peterson
Ride Leaders:

Thurs, 8/14
Independent Hills Ride: Hill Repeats: During your ride, find a huge hill. Sprint up it. Repeat 3 more times. Smile.
Please post your contact info here if you'd like to ride with a teammate:

List your name, mileage, and ride time here:

Fri, 8/15
Trail Ride at Battle Creek (meet at the rec center again, 1-3 p.m.:

Coaches: Peterson
Ride Leaders:

Sat, 8/16
Trail Ride at Salem Hills, 10-12 a.m.

Trail Directions and Conditions
Coaches: Peterson
Ride Leaders:

Sun, 8/17
Independent Strength Training: Choose at least 3 exercises from this list:

Keep up with Highland MTB at

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Reminders Aug 5 2014: record ride, practice schedule, NICA registration, video

1. REMINDER: Record your ride data from today's ride on the Events Planning Calendar.

2. Complete the Practice Schedule Survey (if you haven't already done so).

4. Complete your NICA Registration. See the Pit Zone Invitation you got in your email a while ago. If you didn't see it, search your spam folder. If you don't register, you can't ride with us. Abe, Cole, Ray, Thomas and Tim have done this already. Ask them if you have questions.

Finally, a challenge: watch the video How to Mountain Bike Better - 5 Backyard Drills for Awesome MTB Skills. Try one of these drills before our next practice. Be ready to tell us which drill you did and how it went.

Can't wait to ride at Battle Creek with you Wednesday evening!

Coach Peterson
Keep up with Highland MTB at

Monday, July 28, 2014

Planned rides on wiki and calendar

Our team page has a link to a schedule of planned rides. These rides also show up on our team calendar, which you can subscribe to (iPhone, Mac, Windows, Google Calendar, etc).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jersey Design and Team Meeting

Highland Park Mountain Bike Team -

It's time to order our team gear and we need your help.  We would like to incorporate your ideas and designs into our jersey!  You can send us sketches, color suggestions or samples of your favorite jersey design.

Please send your ideas no later than this Thursday July 24 to parent Matt Johnson who is coordinating the jerseys at:

We will take these ideas and then have 2-3 versions of the jersey designed for the team to vote on a final version to be produced.  We have selected St. Paul company Podiumwear to produce the jerseys.  A number of schools have successfully used Podiumwear.  The cost of the short sleeve jersey will be $60.  For more information on the jerseys you can go and review the silver series jersey.

Additional clothing options are available including matching shorts, long sleeve jerseys, and t-shirts if there is interest.

We are SCHEDULING A MEETING for 6:30-7:30pm, Wednesday July 30 at Now Bikes & Fitness, 75 Snelling Ave, St. Paul, MN  55104.  

At the meeting, we will finalize clothing orders, review team training for August and complete any remaining paperwork.  And, of course, it would be a great time to consider gear you want/need and ask questions about bikes.  We will also have sample jerseys available for team members to try on and select their size.  It is important we finalize our team order no later than August 1 to be sure our jerseys are ready for the first race on September 7.  We will also take orders for shorts at this meeting.

Again, please send your jersey design ideas and any questions to Matt Johnson
More info on ride opportunities coming soon.
Keep up with Highland MTB at
"I thought of that while riding my bicycle." Albert Einstein on the Theory of Relativity

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Insurance and wiki page

We are insured. With a handful of parents that have offered to be Ride Leaders/Volunteers, we are looking at some dates to get together and ride! I hope to be in touch soon with more dates, times and locations. In the meantime:

1. Reminder: tonight is a Try it Out session at Carver. Tues, July 15, is another Try it Out at Murphy.
2. Sunday is a MN MTB series race in Duluth (citizen class free for HS)
3. Tentatively plan on Wed, July 16, 6:30-8:00pm for a first team ride at Lebanon!! Low key. We'll send more info beforehand. Will likely do a quick bike/gear check, ensure we have waivers for everyone and review some group ride safe practices. And, of course, get on the trails! There are a variety of trail difficulty levels so no worries! Please let me know if you plan to make it.

Please try to do the NICA registration and waivers before we ride next Wed. I will at least have to have the waiver before you can ride (signed by parents). If you need me to send the NICA invitation to you again, just let me know.

Finally, we are going to switch to a wiki web page which will be easier to keep updated. Here is the address: It still needs some info added but has most of the key stuff:

1. Home page for immediate action news. Including yet another form to fill out with emergency contact info. Thanks for getting it done!
2. News page in blog format. Note that the past few emails are archived on the News page in blog format so you can access that past info. Thanks, John Faughnan, for setting that up!
3. Calendar. Google. So can subscribe.
4. And some other pages that will get beefier as we roll ...

And we'll try to add some more group rides soon! Stay tuned! As always, feel free to send questions my way

Paul Johnson, 651-285-2970

Parent Homework: Ride Leaders/Vols

Hi, Highland MTB!  This email is more for parents.  In order to get the NICA insurance, we have to have at least a couple adult riders who have passed the basic licensing requirements.  At this point, we are OK just having adults who have met the level of General Volunteer.  Eventually, we will need some parents to complete the Ride Leader requirements.  An explanation about the NICA licensing program can be found at this link:

Basically, the GV requirements include a background check, waiver, concussion training (free) and registration.  The background check costs $22 and the registration is $25.  Total $47.  I'm not in a position to make any promises, but it is my hope that team dues and fundraising will cover these fees and you can be reimbursed.  I've already submitted the background check and completed the concussion training.  Fairly painless but it does take a small chunk of time (30-60 min??).

Please email me if you intend to follow through on these requirements and I will send you an invite through the Pit Zone (just like our riders) so you can register.  Sounds like a fun task for the weekend!  :)

You might also find these links helpful:
Safe Kids Program (NICA).  Might want to take a look at the second half of the first page.  HP might also have some additional policies regarding transportation that Erik and I will look into later (probably in mid-Aug when teachers and staff start to return to school).

Paul Johnson
Go Scots!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pit Zone registrations - complete and mail

Your turn is coming to do some homework, riders and parents!  I've got our team registered in the NICA "Pit Zone" under "Highland Park."  I will soon be sending out "invitations" from the Pit Zone to all of you to register. 

This registration is a key step toward insurance and being able to ride as a team.  When you finish registering, you will be provided a link to the NICA waiver.  The waiver also needs to be filled out and sent to the NICA office in CA.  They need to have one for each of our registered riders.  However, our team is also supposed to maintain a copy of the waivers.  So, If you can, please print out and sign two waivers and send one to CA and one to me. 
Paul Johnson, Highland MTB ad hoc admin guy
2151 Randolph Ave
St. Paul, MN 55105
You may want to review the Pit Zone FAQ for Riders before you start the process.  A few key points:

1. When you register, you will need to include your and your parents' contact info as well as health insurance info.
2. You will also need to specify your "category" during registration.  In the FAQ, it says that riders of first year teams (that's us) should only register as Freshman, Sophomore or JV (depending on your year in the fall (Jrs and Srs register as JV).  There is also a category for Middle School (7th/8th grade).
3. The cost will be $10 for NICA and $40 for the MN League.  The NICA box is checked by default but you will have to check the MN League box.  Thus, a total of $50.  You don't need to pay the registration for the races just yet unless you are totally fired up!
4. When you have completed the registration process, print out and sign two waivers.  One to be sent to the address in CA (provided on the form and online) and one to my address.

So, watch for the invite email from NICA.  I will be using the email address we have listed for you (riders -you may have used your own or a parents email address so go looking).  You have to use that email address to register (but can change your signon info later, if you wish).

Coach Erik's blog posts

Coach Erik's older blog posts can be found on