USA_Cycling_CoachTo be a good cyclist takes a few certain innate personality traits—determination, perseverance, drive, and a willingness to endure much physical and mental pain. To be a great cyclist, one must have all of the qualities above, as well as an intense curiosity. A great cyclist always asks, “What can I do better and how can I do it better?” Great cyclists scour their training and race data, as well as the latest books, magazines, and forums for answers that lead to real, visible results: a podium finish, a personal best, or a qualifying time. For a lucky few, this tactic works. But for most of us mere mortals, an extra ingredient is needed — a cycling coach could be the missing key.

An effective coach can provide you with three benefits: knowledge, objectivity and inspiration.

Knowledge

Experienced cycling coaches have a tremendous amount of knowledge. This can be helpful because competitive cycling is a complex sport. There are many variables that impact your success including the bike itself, bike fit, position on the bike, bike handling, year-round training regimen, diet, motivation, rest and recovery, choice of racing discipline and race selection.

A good coach can be very helpful when it comes to developing a training plan, improving your cycling skills and dealing with problems such as performance plateaus.

Objectivity

Objectivity is another benefit of coaching. A coach can objectively diagnose problems that are impacting your performance. For example, if you are struggling during the season, you may have difficulty determining the cause of the problem, but it might be clear to your coach.

Your coach might notice you’re not resting enough, or may recognize the need for a diet modification. Even more commonly, your coach may point out your expectations are unrealistic for your current stage of development. With their impartial perspectives, coaches can often discern issues athletes overlook.

Inspiration

Third, a coach can be a great source of inspiration. Never underestimate the tremendous psychological benefit an effective coach can provide. No matter how dedicated and committed you are, sooner or later, you’ll need some inspiration. Cycling is a very difficult sport and there are numerous obstacles every cyclist must face. These include injury, illness, difficult training and racing conditions, uncertainty and a lack of confidence, especially when things are not going well.

A coach can help motivate you during these difficult times and can be a source of strength, a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board and a friend. A coach will also hold you accountable. You may buy the excuses you make but a good coach never will.

If you are ready to work hard and need a coach to help guide you, encourage you, and help you reach your goals, we know that we can help you. We strongly encourge you to set an appointment with our head coach coach, Richard La China, to learn more … http://richardlachina.me/contact/

11/21/2013 – 6pm Lefty’s Pizza.

leftys_pizza_ninja_cycling_team

We had an incredible turn out at our 2nd Official Team Ninja meeting – 9 new members joined Team Ninja putting our total rider count at 38 – Awesome!

Here’s a quick recap of the meeting in case you were not able to join us (or couldn’t hear me over all the Lefty’s madness)…

Review of Team Ninja Historyteam_ninja_cycling_team_jersey

Richard started a mountain bike workouts on Meetup.com at Balboa Park in 2012 because he saw there was a void. Every other sport has group workouts and now mountain biking had its own too.

The workout has been free because he sees it as a public good. Hundreds of riders have participated since its inception and there’s no end in site.

A lot of close friendships have been forged at these workouts and it was at participants demand that we created the jerseys, and at their demand that we are starting this team.

Who knew that meetup would be the beginning of something so cool. Still today, 18 or so months later, we’ve have between 25-30 people coming out week after week. If you haven’t made it out to a workout lately, join us!

Team Ninja Mission Statement

A team of like-minded cyclist working together to support each other and achieve our goals while giving back to the community and inspiring others to ride. Team Ninja is open to everyone, no matter what level rider or cycling discipline. You just need to ride a bike!

What We Have Done so Far

kids_bike_skills_imba_team_ninja

IMBA and Team Ninja join forces to put on our first ever Free Mountain Bike Kids Skills Clinic October 2013.

  1. IMBA Kids MTB Skills Clinic | Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (24 participants)
  2. First ever USAC XC MTB race – Ninja Night Race

In the Future

  1. Kids bike skills clinic at San Diego Gran Fondo in April, 2014
  2. This is where Dan and Heidi come in… (if you have ideas, let them know)

Upcoming Cycling Events and Racers

  1. An upcoming MTB race schedule been created by Mike Henry (will be posted on the website shortly)
  2. Ray Snoke will be taking on the task of assembling a Road Race list for Socal – Thank you Ray!! (will be posted soon)
  3. Ninja Night Race – No confirmed date yet, will be announced soon — Stay tuned

Ninja Supplies

  1. New Team Ninja canopy has arrived – awesome!team_ninja_cycling_team_event_support
  2. Water coolers are here.
  3. Tables are here.
  4. (portable bike rack on order)

Sponsor Update

  1. Reference Sponsor List on website (and in Members only section)
  2. New Sponsors: Lefty’s Pizza, EZ-UP, Paul Gamache LAC – Acupuncture, Sports Medicine and Family Health

Communication

  1. Group email list. You need a Google account to participate. This is a great way for everyone to communicate about everything Ninja; team rides, community events, carpools, etc. Go here to request access: http://teamninjaelite.com/forums/
  2. Website updates (new features, check ‘em out!)
    1. Members only section (Member’s Only: Login is ******** and password is ******** (email Richard or Kristen for this information). Go to http://teamninjaelite.com/members-only/ and key it in to get more team info and learn how to access sponsors’ offers.)
    2. Classifieds (Use this to sell and buy cycling parts, gear, etc.) http://teamninjaelite.com/ninja-classifieds/
    3. Forums (This auto categorizes all group emails into forums threads for future reference, searching,etc.) You can post directly to the forums here, or by sending a group email. Go here to request access: http://teamninjaelite.com/forums/
  3. Facebook Page (Join Team Ninja | Cycling Team)

team_ninja_bib_shortsTeam Orders

  1. Rudy Project – going to be placed quarterly (Monday Dec 2)
  2. Team Ninja bib shorts, order yours on the Team website ASAP (deadline Monday Dec 2)!
  3. Socks – available online tomorrow on the team website store for $8.

Team Photos / Bios

  1. Team Portrait night at Zumwalt’s Cycle Center — December 5 (Thursday) 6pm
  2. Please send in your Rider bios to go with your photos – due by Dec 15.

Volunteer Positions

  1. Membership coordinator / communication role.
    1. James Vo will assist Richard in this role. Thank you James!
  2. Other community events (looking for a community service minded volunteer to take this position)
    1. Heidi Amundson will take on this role – Thank you Heidi!
    2. Dan Golich will assist – Thank you Dan!
  3. Rudy Project orders
    1. Michael Henry will take the lead on coordinating these orders. Thank you Michael! Expect an email from Michael soon with instructions, in the meantime – check out http://e-rudy.com to figure out what you’d like to purchase.

Positions yet to fill (let Richard know if you are interested in any of these):

  1. 
Race / Ride Result Coordinator (post results from team members on Team Ninja site and social media.)
  2. Sponsorship Coordinator – work with prospective and current sponsors for Team support, product, etc.
  3. Social Events (off the bike) Coordinator (Art galleries, concerts, movies, wine nights, etc…)

Closing Remarks

  • Thank you Lefty’s Pizza (David)!leftys_pizza
  • If you know anyone who might like to be a sponsor of the team, let Richard know.
  • Everyone is welcome to join the team (as long as you ride a bike) More info here: http://teamninjaelite.com/join-renew/
  • We have most size jerseys in stock on the Team Ninja Store. If we don’t well include yours in the next order (Dec 2)
  • If you haven’t already, order your Bib shorts in the Team Ninja Store – deadline is December 2, 2013.

Whew, you made it this far… In case your eyes glazed over some of the important dates, here they are in a list, put ‘em in your calendar now…

Item / Event Due Date / Date
Bib Shorts Orders 2-Dec
Additional Team Jersey Orders 2-Dec
Rudy Project Orders 2-Dec
New Members Sign Ups 2-Dec
Team Photos (Zumwalt’s Cycle Center) 5-Dec
Rider Bios 15-Dec

Thank you for being a part of Team Ninja – We’re really looking forward to seeing what we can do in 2014!

team_ninja_logo_cycling_team

http://teamninjaelite.com/

by Richard La ChinaMountain Bike Steep Descent

Before you tackle any unfamiliar section of trail, take a minute to evaluate the situation. Look for what may be an obvious ‘line’ (a route that most other mountain bikes have taken). This route may not always be the most efficient choice or even the smoothest, but it’s usually the path of least overall resistance.

As you approach the descent, slow down, bring your weight forward and look over the bars down the descent. Once you’ve made your line choice, start down. Just as your front tire starts to descend, quickly and explosively, lunge your bike forward. This will bring your hips back behind the saddle and put all your weight directly on the pedals.

Make sure you’re in full Ninja (ready) position at this point: heels down, knees bent, low center of mass, elbows bent, knees out, fingers not overly tight on the grips, index finger over each brake lever, head up, eyes looking where you want to go. Relax, breathe and enjoy!

Greetings Current and Prospective Team Ninjas Members!2013-10-29 10.47.37 am

We hope your base miles are underway or that you’re enjoying CX season and Ninja Night Races! We wanted to interrupt your regularly scheduled Ninja-ing to discuss topics outlined in the agenda below. Meeting will be November 21, 2013, 6pm at Lefty’s in Mission Hills.

Please RSVP (here) for the meeting so we know how many are coming — and let us know how many guests you are bringing.

Meeting Agenda

1) Team introduction to new members and prospective members.

• What we’ve accomplished so far as a team.

• Upcoming community events.Upcoming races (Ninja Night Race, Quick and Dirty, Racers and Chasers).

• Team Ninja jersey distribution.

• Team equipment update (tables, water coolers, tent, flags, more)

• Sponsor review (current, new, prospective).

• Group email list.

2) Team Orders:

• Rudy Project – Please have your wish list ready to go!

• Check out the “Members Only” section of teamninjaelite.com for more details. Team Ninja bib shorts – Please be ready with your size and quantity.

• Socks – how many pair would you like to order?

3) Discussion on team structure, infrastructure and organization

4) Short presentation on the “Advanced Health Directive” available through Casiano Law (If you’re interested in a AHD, plan on staying after the meeting to get things rolling with Vinny).

But wait, there’s more! We’d like to share some information that is strictly Ninjas only:

1) Member’s Only: Login is ******* and password is ******* (will give out at the meeting). Go to teamninjaelite.com/members-only/ and key it in to get more team info and learn how to access sponsors’ offers.

2) Team Ninja deadline: For USAC registration and for our sponsors’ information we need to lock in our official team roster. If you have friends who are interested in joining the team, please let them know the deadline is December 15, 2013.

Team Ninja is open to everyone, no matter what level rider or cycling discipline.   You just need to ride a bike!

If you’d like to learn more, join us at the meeting.  And if you know someone who might want to join the team, BRING ‘EM too!

3) Rider bios: Thanks to all members who responded. If you haven’t already sent yours, please send them over ASAP. Also, we’d include a couple more questions as suggested by some members. The updated Q list is below — have fun with it!

Thanks for reading, thanks for riding, and we’ll see you at the meeting on November 21.

 

Rider Bio Questionnaire:

a. Provide all of the following information:
i. Name
ii. Primary discipline
iii. Birthday
iv. Hometown
b. Choose three from the following:
i. Nickname
ii. Special talent
iii. Fav food
iv. Fav music
v. Philosophy on life
vi. Most important person
vii. Movie quote
Next, we’d like to add:
a. Instagram?
b. Twitter?
c. Strava?
d. Any other social channels?
e. Favorite Trail/Ride?
f. What do you ride?

Also, please include 1 or 2 photos of you riding!

 

 

 

Obstacle Cost vs. Return

2013-10-08 10.50.44 amIf your goal is to reach the finish line in the least amount of time, you need to evaluate obstacles based on cost. What that means is you may be an amazing technical rider; but if you expend large amounts of energy riding every technical section in a race that takes over six hours to complete, you might be better off walking a few of those sections. A short hike up an extremely gnarly section can save your legs for a strong race finish.

If you have the option to jump something or take a more direct line — going off the jump isn’t always the best choice. Your photo from Pink Shorts Photography might be a great new Facebook cover photo, but it wont necessarily get you the podium you’re looking for. Jumping increases the risk for injury or a mechanical. If you choose to jump, know the jump and take it with 100% confidence.

Results from the September 11, 2013 Tri Club San Diego TT at Fiesta Island

Tri Club of San Diego Cycling Coach Richard La China

Rider # Name Total Time (3 laps) Average MPH
1 Gary Watts 0:30:27 21.64
2 Aaron Hauck 0:30:49 21.42
3 Wiley Hemphill 0:31:17 21.13
4 Ray Snoke 0:31:35 20.95
5 Ian Young 0:32:03 20.68
6 James Vo 0:32:29 20.44
7 Kristen Gross 0:32:38 20.35
8 Greg Monera 0:32:40 20.34
9 Jude Carza 0:32:50 20.24
10 Michael Asgian 0:33:01 20.14
11 Darrell Styner 0:33:18 19.99
12 Heidi Amundson 0:33:18 19.99
13 Justin Taylor 0:33:54 19.67
14 Kevin Fayad 0:33:55 19.67
15 Jimmy Tu 0:35:11 19.03
16 Brandon Inis 0:35:38 18.81
17 Ryan Brown 0:36:12 18.55
18 Rochelle Versoza 0:37:28 17.98
19 Lisa Hauck (on a MTB) 0:38:03 17.73
20 Toni Martinez 0:38:04 17.73
21 Natalia Elizarova 0:38:36 17.50
22 Chris Atkison 0:38:53 17.39
23 Renee Torre 0:38:57 17.36
24 Joe Spatafore 0:40:39 16.70
25 Nell Garrett 0:48:34 14.18
26 Coralie Bordes 0:51:47 13.37
27 Eric Fischer DNF DNF
28 Manuel Martija DNS DNS
How to ride faster on your mountain bike

2012 California State Championship | 5th Place

Mountain biking has been a significant part of my life, teaching me discipline, strength, keeping me healthy and providing balance in my life.  I started mountain biking recreationally in 1991 and began racing soon thereafter. Over the years, I have raced as a Cat 3, Cat 3 Clydesdale, Cat 2 Clydesdale & Cat 2 and Cat 1.  My experience working my way up the categories has giving me a unique perspective as to what it’s like to compete at several levels—and weights— in mountain bike racing.

As a dad of two young kids, I want to do my part to ensure that the future of mountain bike racing stays as challenging, fun and rewarding as it has been for me the last 22 years. So, for the last two years, I have devoted much of my time to giving back to the mountain bike community.

Rim Nordic Autumn Cup 2011 | Richard La China

Rim Nordic Autumn Cup 2011 | Richard La China 1st Place

I saw a huge void in mountain bike specific coaching here in San Diego, so in 2011 I obtained my USAC Coaching Certification.  With that, I’ve held free weekly mountain bike workouts as a way for people of all levels to increase their fitness in the safety of a coached environment.  Typical attendance ranges from 25-35 attendees, some of which have gone from little to no mountain bike experience, to the podium at local and state level races.

Realizing that it takes both fitness and riding skills to be a successful mountain bike racer, I completed my International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) Skills Instructor Certification earlier this year.  I have used this knowledge to hold mountain bike (co-ed and women’s only) skills clinics in and around Southern California, from beginner level up to intermediate and advanced/flow clinics.  There is nothing more rewarding than watching a rider have a light bulb or “ah-ha” moment and conquer a section of trail that they previously would have had trouble with.

I am confident my racing and coaching experience as well as my commitment to the future of the mountain biking discipline makes me an excellent choice for the USAC Mountain Bike Committee position.   Please consider me for your vote.Richard La China USAC Certifed Cycling Coach

You can vote by logging into your USA Cycling account and selecting my name for the “USACycling Mountain Bike Commitee – At Large” position.   https://www.usacycling.org/

Thank you.

michael_page_san_diego_mountain_bike_skillsMaybe you’re completely new to mountain biking, or perhaps you’re a little more experienced, but you’ve never been taught the fundamentals of riding off-road.

Possibly you’ve tried some technical trails, but lacked confidence and scared yourself a few times?

This Mountain Bike Skills Clinics will give you the core skills to get out on the trails tackling technical trails with confidence and commitment.

Following training you will see an immediate improvement in your riding and a boost in confidence. You’ll understand how changes in your body position, footwork and where you are looking affect the way your bike behaves on single track trails.

You’ll be able to tackle steeper terrain, corner with greater control and negotiate small trail obstacles with ease.  With practice, these tips will help you ride with more confidence, momentum, efficiency and control.

This course is lead by Crank Cycling Coach Richard La China.  Richard is a USAC Certified Cycling Coach specializing in Mountain Biking and a proud member of the PowerBar Team Elite.

Meetup at the entrance of the San Diego Velodrome.

San Diego Velodromeride_like_a_ninja_logo2
2972-3268 Florida Drive
San Diego, CA 92104

THESE MTB SKILLS COURSES HAVE LIMITED SPACE AND WILL FILL!

Register Today!

http://sandiegomountainbikeskills.com/

Join us March 23, 2013 | 7:45 AM – 11:00 AM
Learn How to Go Faster on Your Mountain Bike!richard_lachina_statechampionship

 

Maybe you’re completely new to mountain biking, or perhaps you’re a little more experienced, but you’ve never been taught the fundamentals of riding off-road.

Possibly you’ve tried some technical trails, but lacked confidence and scared yourself a few times?

This Mountain Bike Skills :: Basics coaching course will give you the core skills to get out on the trails tackling technical trails with confidence and commitment.

Following training you will see an immediate improvement in your riding and a boost in confidence. You’ll understand how changes in your body position, footwork and where you are looking affect the way your bike behaves on single track trails.

You’ll be able to tackle steeper terrain, corner with greater control and negotiate small trail obstacles with ease.  With practice, these tips will help you ride with more confidence, momentum, efficiency and control.

This course is lead by Crank Cycling Coach Richard La China.  Richard is a USAC Certified Cycling Coach specializing in Mountain Biking and a proud member of the PowerBar Team Elite.

Meetup at the entrance of the San Diego Velodrome.

San Diego Velodrome
2972-3268 Florida Drive
San Diego, CA 92104

We start this clinic with a talk about specific bike handling skills and technique.  From there, we’ll do some simple drills. The drills will be on a soft, flat section of the park where you’ll feel comfortable trying something new.

After everyone’s got the hang of things, we’ll head out to the trails to employee what we learned on a real ride.

This session is designed to be educational, fun and challenging.

This class is appropriate for beginner to intermediate riders.  This clinic is $30 and meetup time is 7:45am with the clinic starting at promptly at 8:00am Saturday morning ending at 11:00am.

This clinic is sponsored by PowerBar who has graciously provided samples of their sports performance products for everyone to try.

THIS MTB SKILLS COURSE HAS LIMITED SPACE AND WILL FILL!

Register Today!

http://sandiegomountainbikeskills.com/

FREE Mountain Bike Workout Balboa Park! Join us Tuesday evenings! http://www.meetup.com/Mountain-Bike-Workout/events/calendar/

sun-20-05-2012-027

Updated schedule for the FREE Mountain Bike Workouts is posted here.. 2013 Updated Schedule

Comments from past workouts…

Mountain Bike Workout at Balboa Park in San Diego with Coach Richard La China

“ This really was a workout! I’ve been to a couple clinics and have been disappointed in the past by the low level of intensity. This “workout” really was just that! It was nice to have actual techniques applied to words for someone who’s never been coached. I look forward to more hard work and knowledge! ” — Bridgett Beltran

“Hard, Challenging…no matter what your skill level. Richard breaks it down to make a good workout for all and FUN for all…You never feel out of place and have fun working out with others and helping push each other” — Eddie Alberton

“Great! I’m ready for many more!” — John Gio

“That was an incredible workout yesterday!” — Romney

“I have ridden mtn bikes for about 20 years and even raced in college, but I have never really worked out on my bike. It was a new experience and a big ego check. I would look forward to more workouts like this if the super fast dudes were separated from the slowpokes (me).” — Blanca Cardenas