What is 612MTB?

612mtb is a youth development mountain bike team serving riders in 6th - 12th grades, who live in south Minneapolis.  Our "composite team" consists of riders from Southwest, Washburn, Roosevelt, and South high schools, as well as students attending other schools, who reside in south Minneapolis.  We ride and race under the umbrella of the Minnesota Cycling Association

What is the Minnesota Cycling Association (MCA)?

The Minnesota Cycling Association (MCA) was founded in 2012 and is the middle and high school mountain biking league in the state of Minnesota. Formerly a NICA-affiliate league, the MCA is committed to building strong minds, strong bodies and strong character through cycling. Their vision is that every youth is empowered to be part of a thriving and engaged cycling community.  This is accomplished through a series of programs that serve those who have never been mountain biking to after school programs, day camps and a cross country racing series.

To learn more, visit www.minnesotacycling.org.

Who is eligible to join 612mtb, and what team should I join?

Anyone who attends one of the four south Minneapolis high schools (South, Southwest, Roosevelt, or Washburn) can join 612mtb and race for their school.  Additionally, riders who live in South Minneapolis (south of interstate 394) but do not attend one of the four high schools (e.g., attend home, private, or charter school, etc.), AND whose school does not have its own team, can join 612mtb and race for the Southside Composite team.  

Middle school riders are also invited to join 612mtb based on the high school they plan to attend and may join the Southside Composite team if they live in south Minneapolis and plan to attend a high school that does not have its own team.

What if I want to join 612mtb, but do not live in south Minneapolis?

612mtb can only accept riders from our geographic area, which is regulated by the Minnesota Cycling Association.  However, other MCA teams serve the surrounding areas.  Contact the 612mtb team director for referrals, or if you have questions about eligibility.

How do I join 612mtb?

If you are a new rider and are interested in joining the team, please read how to Join the Team.

If you are a returning rider, watch your TeamSnap communications for announcements about registration.

Are there benefits to MCA membership?

Yes!  As a 612mtb member, you will also be a member of the Minnesota Cycling Association.  MCA sponsors provide substantial discounts on bikes and gear for MCA riders and coaches.

What are the season start and end dates?

Team practices start the first Monday after the 4th of July.  Race season is the last weekend of August through the weekend before MEA weekend.  All practices and team activities will end by November 1.

Is there a registration deadline?

Registration for 612mtb will close on June 1, 2023.  After that date, we will not be able to accept any additional riders.  

Can I talk to someone in person?

We host an in-person registration event and girls "try-it-out" clinic in May.  Send an email to 612mtbinfo@gmail.com to be added to the mailing list about that event.

Where does the team practice?  When does the team practice?

Practices are typically Tuesday and Thursday evenings at Theodore Wirth Regional Park, as well as at other trails around the metro area.  We also hold practices most Saturdays.  Specific practice times and locations vary throughout the season based on daylight hours, weather, trail availability, and other factors.  We will always announce practice schedules well in advance.  Riders are responsible for transportation to and from practice.  Self-organized group rides to and from practices are common.

Do we practice in the rain/storms/heat/smoke?

Our team will practice in the rain, as long as there is no thunder/lightning.  For further details, please review our Team Weather Policy.

Who are the coaches?

612mtb is led by a group of experienced head coaches who have both past mountain biking experience and have coached with 612mtb for multiple years.  612mtb has a coaching staff of 30-50, depending on the season.  All coaches are certified through the MCA and undergo training and background checks.  All coaches are volunteers who love mountain biking and most have (or had) kids in the program.

How do I become a coach or parent rider?

We are always looking for parent riders and coaches, and welcome anyone who would like to join.  Many adults start coaching because their kid(s) are in the program.  Whether you are an experienced mountain biker or have never ridden a mountain bike before, you are welcome to join.  Mountain bike parent riding and coaching is one of the only sports where the coaches can learn along with the riders.  And, the coaches have as much fun as the riders, too.  If you are interested in becoming a parent rider or coach, contact 612mtbinfo@gmail.com.

Tell me about racing. When are the races? Where? What days?

The MCA hosts races at various locations throughout the state.  Venues include Buffalo, Austin, Rochester, Duluth, River Falls, Chisholm, Alexandria, Shakopee, Mankato, and others.  Every team particpates in five (5) races per year (weather permitting).  Generally, 612mtb races 2-3 “metro” area races (within 1 hour of the Twin Cities) and 2-3 out-state races.  

Middle school races are Saturdays, and high school races are Sundays.  Riders are responsible for transport and lodging (although it is very common for families to carpool, camp together, hotel together, and have much fun).  612mtb has coaches at every race to help the riders warm up, answer any questions, and be there for support.  Race days are a super fun community event, with many 612mtb riders and families spending the day with riders from all over the state.

Information about the current MCA race series.

How competitive are the races? What if I don’t want to race?

The races are divided into different categories, and riders race against others with the similar skill, speed, and competitiveness.  All levels of skill and experience are welcome and accommodated. 

612mtb encourages all riders to race, but there is no requirement to do so.

What is the race refund policy?

The race refund policy is set by the MCA, and can be found here. 

What if I don’t have a bike?

Any local bike shop will be able to outfit riders with a suitable bike for riding and racing.  But, register for the team before purchasing a new bike, because substantial discounts are available for MCA members (see "Benefits to MCA Membership" above).   

Additionally, quality used bikes can often be found for sale in the Twin Cities Bicycle Trading Post and the 612mtb Trading Post.

The MCA also runs a loaner bike program.  Please contact the team director at 612mtbinfo@gmail.com for more information.

What gear do I need?  What should I bring to practice?

Required gear for all riders:

Required gear for racers:

Additional Recommended gear:

Leave at home:

Flat pedals or clipless pedals?

We recommend that beginning to intermediate riders use flat pedals, which provide maximum freedom to put a foot down in technical terrain.  Moreover, flat pedals allow riders to develop ankle strength and flexibility, as well as proper foot/pedal position and technique.  Developing these skills aids in pressure control (weight distribution to front and rear wheels).

Most entry-level mountain bikes come equipped with flat pedals that have plastic lugs to grip the rider's shoe.  As a rider's comfort and skill increases, flat pedals with metal grip pins become an option.  When coupled with a bike shoe that is designed for such pedals, metal pins provide excellent foot/pedal security.

When an athlete is ready, they may choose to transition to a clipless pedal ("click pedal").  This is never required or forced, and our coaches can assist with this transition.

Lastly, for riders who already ride with clipless pedals: it is recommended to spend the first half of the season riding flat pedals to continue development of the aforementioned pedal position skills, and maintain ankle flexibility and strength. 

Do I need mountain biking experience?

No experience required!  612mtb riders range from brand new to riders who race nationally.  Practices are generally split into groups of 6-10 riders and two coaches based on skill, speed, and experience.  All riders are encouraged to respect and support each other, and our experienced riders genuinely enjoy teaching and mentoring newer riders.

How much does it cost? 

First-year fees and costs for the 612mtb team, MCA registration, race fees, and jersey will be approximately $400.

Are scholarships available?


612mtb does its very best to make mountain biking accessible to anyone and everyone. 612mtb and MCA offer scholarships and reduced fees for registration and racing. The team can often provide jerseys and other gear for free or, or at significantly reduced costs. 

In short, we will do everything possible to ensure cost does not prevent interested and passionate riders from joining 612mtb. Please reach out to 612mtbinfo@gmail.com with any questions about costs, scholarships, etc. 

All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential.

What if I haven't found the answer to my question?

If your question is not answered in this FAQ, please send an email to 612mtbinfo@gmail.com , and we will do our best to answer as quickly as possible.