Coach Kristi’s Corner: March 2017


Coach Kristi Berg has been racing bicycles in various disciplines since 1994. Read about Coach Kristi Berg here.

It’s time to talk Race Categories!

The countdown to the first race of 2017 is on! April 9 is quickly approaching, and that means you’re probably starting to think about race categories for your students. At the beginning of each race season, the League assigns a race category to every registered student-athlete. Rider category assignments will be published on Tuesday, Mar. 6.

This assignment is based on the riders’ prior year racing category or the default category for new riders, as well as information from students, coaches and parents.

How a Student-Rider Changes Categories

All riders wishing to race in a category other than their assigned category must file a petition for category change. Category placement will be updated regularly. Petitions must be filed by the published deadline in order to be reviewed prior to the next race:

March 31 Race Category Petitions Due for Race 1

April 14 Race Category Petitions Due for Race 2

April 28 Race Category Petitions Due for Race 3

May 12 Race Category Petitions Due for Race 4

Our race categories are based on a combination of both skills and experience. We want to create the safest race experience for all of our student athletes while keeping the racing fun.

Here’s an assessment tool you can use as an additional reference.

Students don’t have to race to be part of the League!

There are many student athletes in our program that do not have the desire to race. That is perfectly okay and we encourage these students to be part of our mountain bike program and participate in race day, whether it be swinging a cowbell, working the feed zone, or announcing riders as they cross the line. They are also encouraged to go out and ride the marked course.

It’s important that we get our student athletes in the right categories to maximize their fun while racing. Work together to determine the most appropriate category for your students, and encourage them to take their time before moving up in racing categories. It’s better to spend a bit longer in a lower category to get a feel for racing and experience hearty competition before moving up. Slow and steady wins the race!

Keep bringing the fun to team practices

Although your focus is shifting toward team rides and racing, you can still mix in some bike games to keep the fun level high while building skills.

Survivor Island (Foot Down)

The point of this game is to stay balanced and riding on your bike within the boundary for as long as possible, without touching a foot to the ground. Last one to put a foot down wins. This game teaches balance, slow-speed riding and track-standing skills.

  • Set up a big circle using backpacks, sticks, whatever you have around you for the boundary.
  • Everyone starts riding and then you count down to the start.
  • For beginners, play no-contact, do not purposely run into each other. Accidental contact is okay (like tires touching)
  • If you put a foot down, you’re out, get out of the way of the other players.
  • If you’re out, you become part of the boundary.
  • The boundary will slowly shrink in on remaining players to increase the difficulty.
  • You can try to make other players put a foot down by charging at them or pushing them to the edge of the boundary.


Coach Kristi Berg has been racing bicycles in various disciplines since 1994: Road (Cat 2), Cyclocross (Elite), BMX (expert in 20″) and MTB (professional downhill, crosscountry, and dual slalom). She enjoys coaching and sharing all she has learned through riding and racing, and is committed to giving back to her cycling community. Kristi is a Level 2 USAC Cycling Coach and owner of Berg’s Coaching Services. Get in touch at