Marching Ahead

This month we continue our racing focus; firstly Ignacio is taking a small crew on March 6th to the MBAA race in Lake Havasu and then on March 12-14, The Cactus Cup. We are excited that so many team members (25!!) have signed up for this classic Arizona mountain bike race.  We will continue to bring fun, challenging, and team oriented practices this week in preparation.

We have more fun programming in the works for April and May so stay tuned for those developments.  Here are this week’s practices;

Don’t forget also that Colter and Nathaniel need your help with Bike Club.  Here’s the sign up for this rewarding experience.


How we camp and Cactus Cup Information

I want to thank everyone who has approached the coaching staff with their insightful questions about the Cactus Cup Mountain bike race and about how we camp.




When we travel to races, we do so together and we camp together. In normal times we would all travel in the vans together, with coaches or parents driving the team vans, and all the youth together. This is another opportunity for the kids to bond and to have shared experiences. We very much encourage and ask for kids to travel with the team.


However in these times we are not packing the vans to 12. We are only putting 8 total people in vans, everyone has to wear a mask the whole time, and we mandate a negative test that is not older than 72 hours.


We will have 14 possible spots for youth to ride up in the vans with the team.


Event dates are Friday March 12th to Sunday the 14th.


One van will leave at 9:30 am. TUSD does not have school on that particular Friday.

and a second at Noon, to accomodate the kids who are not in a TUSD school.




So at the McDowell Mountain Park I have reserved one of the group camp spots for us. There is space for 50 people and 6 rv’s I am told, so there should be ample room for us all.


In normal times we would use the team tents that we have, which are huge 12 person tents that you can stand up in. We have always camped in this group style as we believe it helps to build comraderie, friendships and a true team by sharing the experience.


In these Covid Times we are mandating that only siblings can share tents, and that all others must sleep in their own tents, solo.




We eat and cook together. In normal times we would have youth placed in shifts and they would help coaches and parents with the prep and clean up of every meal. Its a chance for youth to learn to cook and to be involved. Its also a time for the coaches to talk about proper nutrition and how to properly fuel for a race.


At Cactus cup we will continue to eat together and cook for the team however we will not have kids involved. We will only have adults involved so as to minimize that particular level of contact.



Preparing for the Race

I, Ignacio,  will be the coach at the race and will ensure that every rider properly warms up, gets to the start line and understands what to expect. The youth will be guided through the whole process from start line to finish line, except of course for the part where they are actually racing.


We are very aware of the different levels of comfort and factors that each of you as a family are contending with in these incredibly difficult times. We want to create as safe an environment as we can, while also allowing the youth to express themselves physically and to have a  chance to bond in that special team atmosphere. We are well aware that not everyone will be able to attend and we fully respect the decisions made by each family.


Please feel encouraged to ask any questions you might have, and you may email me directly if you like.



We had a wonderful camping trip to the magical Chiricahua Mountains last weekend.  I happily borrowed some gear from our BikePacking program to comfortably negotiate the sub freezing night temperatures. Saturday we rode gravel bikes out and back over Pinery Canyon road to the town of Portal, AZ.  The climbs were tough but the scenery unsurpassed.  Most rode the climb up to the National Monument on Sunday, while a few of us ventured further south to tackle Turkey Creek Canyon.

Balance was the theme of the weekend and we hope many riders had a chance to press the reset button.  After so many race cancellations lately, it was imperative that the team revert to a system that has worked so well in the past; camping and bonding in a beautiful backdrop and pushing our limits on the bike.  It was my first time experiencing classic El Grupo programming and I’m hooked.

Thanks to Coach Ignacio and Daniela for sharing this place with us newbies.  Thanks also to Mary Bell Cruz, Shannon Scott, and David Walker for their tireless support and a big thank you to Rosanne (Nona) and Michael (Tatone) for engineering superb meals for the entire entourage.  We rode to new places, ate like royalty and enjoyed each others company for a memorable weekend.

Next up are some mountain bike races with the MBAA race in Lake Havasu on March 6 while a large contingent is heading up for another epic camping and race weekend on March 12-14 for the Cactus Cup in Phoenix.  We have 25 riders registered and we look forward to this event!

Our practices will thus focus on the preparation for Cactus cup the next few weeks with a good attention paid to the mountain bike. Here is the practice schedule for the next two weeks;

Team members also don’t forget about the opportunity and expectation to give back with helping out Colter, Nathaniel and the Bike Club.  Here is their sign up to volunteer;




New buildup

New kits that have been earned by the team members have been circulating in public last week to favourable reviews.  I think they really look sharp and there’s pride in wearing it. Practice attendance has been really stellar the past week, and the infusion of our newest members have given everyone a boost.  Here are… Read more »

Racing, New Jersey and some gravel

We had a busy weekend with athletes competing in a couple of events.  White Tanks Park in Phoenix saw more MBAA mountain bike action on Saturday, while closer to home the FlapJack Time Trial was held on Sunday at Picacho Peak.  It certainly was nice to have a small sense of normalcy with racing available…. Read more »

Practice Resumption

We will resume practice as per the schedule starting tomorrow Saturday, February 6th.  Our most recent exposure with covid saw our team member ultimately testing negative.  I look forward to seeing you bright and early for the Shootout and Cara’s ride.  Coach .Allison will be on hand too.  Those racing up in Phoenix we wish… Read more »

Thursday Feb. 4th practice canceled

Dear Team, We are still awaiting test results from a recently exposed team member, so unfortunately nothing has changed and will force the cancelation of practice today February 4th.  We will continue to be cautious and report again tomorrow about the status of Saturday’s practice.  Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Team El Grupo practice canceled Feb. 3

We will have to cancel practice today due to a recent revelation of a team member’s immediate exposure to a positive covid case.  We will assess whether Thursday will be canceled upon test result information, hopefully by this time (2:30pm) tomorrow.  We want to make sure that practice is the safest possible environment in these… Read more »

Team Presentation and New Opportunities

This SUNDAY February 7th from 1pm to 3 pm.   Team Presentation   All Senior Programming Youth are expected to attend and arrive at 12:30 pm at the latest. Please dress in your “Sunday School Best”.   In normal times this would be our sponsor appreciation event. This would be a chance for us an… Read more »

Bike Club!!

Practices last week were some of the best attended yet!  It’s amazing the energy and support each member brings; especially to the numerous new recruits that have just started with us.  Here is our practice schedule for this week;   Bike Club coordinator Colter Thomas is thrilled to announce that the Manzo Bike Club… Read more »