Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ninja Business

What started as a small role (arranged over a single tweet for goodness sake!) sharing my acquired knowledge of mountain biking with skills clinic participants has turned into much, much more, so I just wanted to share a little bit about what's up with all this "Ninja Stuff."

I'm now a USAC Certified Cycling Coach and working on becoming an IMBA Certified Skills Instructor as well. That means that when you sign up for one of our skills clinics, I'm one of the qualified coaches you'll be working with. I LOVE these clinics. It is so much fun to meet all kinds of riders and remind myself that this sport is hard, rewarding, exhilarating, and challenging all at once. Seeing it through others' eyes never ceases to amaze me. 

I'm really excited that we seem to be on to something, and that's allowed us to grow our skills clinics and take this thing on the road. And we were honored to be mentioned in San Diego Magazine's Get Happy issue as one of the 36 ways to feel amazing (we made it to #11, thankyouverymuch). You can keep up to date with upcoming courses at Next weekend we'll be in Orange County ... then we're off to Phoenix (again!) ... then up to LA. I'm excited to meet even more riders, but I'm also selfishly looking forward to getting to ride all these new trails! Laguna and Malibu, here I come!

Next order of Ninja Business is TEAM NINJA

Now that we have all these great riders getting to know each other, working out together on Tuesday nights in Balboa Park, and practicing all the skills they learned with us in clinics, it only made sense that we would start a team. 

Team Ninja has really taken off. And although we are stoked when our members show excellence on the race course (so many podiums already!!), we've also made it our mission to give back to the community, encourage more people to ride, be good ambassadors of the sport and support our chosen charities. 

Sponsors have rallied to our cause and so have riders so now we are 40+ riders of all ages and abilities. 2014 is going to be tremendous and I can't wait to see what this team will accomplish, on and off the trails. 

If you're interested in joining Team Ninja, you are WELCOME! Details are on the website:

So that brings me to NINJA NIGHT RACE 

Of course, if you have a bunch of skilled riders and they're already on a team, it would be great if they have somewhere to race! That's why we started our own race series, too. I was being a little facetious though, really -- there are already a lot of awesome organizers in this area, including Racers and Chasers and Quick and Dirty. So we wanted to add to these events rather than compete with them, plus give local racers another chance to rack up the points they need to move up the ranks. That's how we came up with the idea to race at night. It's the first USAC-sanctioned night race ever. We ran one back in October, and coming up THIS THURSDAY is the second in this historic series. 

This event is going to be unlike any other mountain bike event I've seen. We've got amazing sponsors and no less than four full demo trucks are going to be joining us, bringing bikes (Norco, Neil Pryde), neutral support (Zumwalt's Bike Shop) and lights (Light & Motion). 

By the way, Light and Motion is bringing 40 light sets for demo so don't let a lack of lights stop you from coming out for the fun. If you like what you try, you can pick it up for 15% off. You'll have to get behind me in line, though! 

Ladies especially -- please join us. I happen to know that registration, though rotund and healthy overall, is a pale sickly thing when it comes to women's sign ups, as is often the case. If we want women's racing to thrive, we gotta sign up and show up.

Last thing on the race, and coolest of all (at least I think so), we're the first mountain bikers ever to be allowed on to the velodrome where this thing is going to start. It's spectator friendly, we're running a raffle with amazing prizes from our sponsors and all the proceeds are going to the Monarch School. Plus, we hired a band, and a Tamale guy, so I think of this more like a "Mountain Bike Party." It's going to be awesome. Make sure you're there, even if you don't race. You won't want to miss out. 

So these days I pretty much eat, sleep and dream Ninjas. I am very lucky to have met such a great crew, led by my coach, friend, and Head Ninja Richard La China. Mountain biking and I have had our ups and downs over the years, but I've never been more excited to stay with my training, share what I know, and lend a hand however I can to help others find the joy of riding. Happy Trails! 

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