Mountain biking is a resource-intensive sport. The following information gives you guidelines on what to expect to spend on equipment, team dues, and travel. The Drake mountain bike team makes every effort to be inclusive, so if the following approximate expenses are outside of what you feel your household can afford, then please check out our Scholarship program.
Helmet and Shoes200
Travel (3 races)**200
Note that this estimate includes the cost of getting a race-ready mountain bike. If your rider already has a bike, then nearly all of the expense is already taken care of.
*We are looking into a team related swap meet where we can find good, past season race bikes for sale by ex riders and coaches that could make this less expensive.
**Normally approximately $750/6 races; discounted due to COVID-19.
As a club sport, the mountain bike team does not receive school funding (except for about $1,000 from the Drake Fund each year), so annual dues are the financial foundation of the team. Dues for the 2020/2021 season are $350 (a substantial discount over years past due to COVID-19 impacts to our racing routine). About $75 of the dues go toward league race fees, and the rest help pay for coaches stipends and expenses, equipment, and activities. See here for dues and payment details.
Scholarships If dues are outside of what you feel your family can afford, scholarships are available. Every year the team works to reserve funds from our team sponsorships for team members in need of financial assistance. Scholarship funds are available to those families who would like assistance in paying for some of the expenses associated with team participation. We trust our community members to be the best judges of their own need and to reserve these funds for those in greatest need. It is an honor-based system and scholarship awards do not include a financial review of your household revenue and expenses. Applications are due by November 23, 2020.
If a rider does not already have a high-quality mountain bike, we suggest that you spend at least $1,000 on a used bike see http://www.craiglist.org or http://www.pinkbike.com for excellent used bicycles and $1,500 on a new bike. Most of the other racers will be on hard-tailed 29-inch wheel bikes, so this is a good configuration to look for; dual-suspension bikes tend to be heavier and more expensive, neither of which tend to enhance the cross-country racing experience.
Some of the parents are saying to themselves “my first used car was cheaper than that!”, which may be true… however, a rider spends an enormous amount of time on the bike, and these amounts try to balance how much you will spend for repairs and maintenance to keep your rider upright and safe on a cheap bike, vs the peace of mind and better lighter components found on higher-quality bikes. In general, spending more money gets you lighter bikes with longer lasting components. Sunshine Bikes gives the team a substantive discount on new bike purchases, and Mike’s Bikes often discounts bicycles for Norcal riders. This discount changes every year, so check in with DrakeMTBDirector@gmail.com for the latest information.
Each year, expect to buy a new set of tires ($150), replacement front and rear brake pads ($100), at least one new chain ($50), and some key bearings ($100), depending on how much rain northern California gets during the season. Every other year, expect to replace the entire drivetrain ($250 to $500), and have the front fork serviced ($200). Mileage will vary according to your rider, weather, and bike, but these amounts get you in the ballpark.
At a minimum, each rider must purchase his or her own Drake mountain bike team jersey, which usually cost around $70. Team jerseys are required for racing in the Norcal league. During the season, however, riders will likely need multiple sets of other cycling-specific clothing like jerseys, shorts, gloves, light jacket, arm warmers, wool socks, etc. If there is not another cyclist in the house, then there are opportunities to get this clothing at pre-season swap meets (ie, free!) and through cycling clothing donations through some of our sponsors. See what to wear to get an idea of what a complete kit might look like. And in general, it is usually a good idea to get a new pair of $30 gloves for your Rider every year, though in a pinch a $7.99 pair of construction gloves from the hardware store will work just fine if you are not too picky.
Helmet and shoes
Even wily old cycling veterans replace their helmets every two years. Helmets degrade over time, and to maximize safety and take advantage of the latest technologies like MIPS, we recommend a new helmet at the beginning of the year, and a new one again two years later. For shoes, we recommend any shoe that works with the pedals that your rider uses on his or her bike. Most mountain bikes have SPD pedals, as do the stationary bikes at Pelo, so we recommend this shoe/pedal combination.
Assume one night in a hotel for $85, food for the rider and family at $45, and gas plus other amenities at $20, for $150 per race weekend on average. For five races, that is approximately $750 in travel expenses.