Meet Junior Bear Athlete Sean Middleton

Every week we will introduce a new member of the Bear Development Team. This week, meet…


Racing Age: 17

Hometown: Greenbrae, CA

Race Bike of Choice: Trek TopFuel 9.9

Favorite Training Song: Nonstop – Drake

Favorite Post-Ride Snack: Chocolate milk + a quesadilla

I started out as your average 3 year old, riding my bike with training wheels. Then one day, my older brother managed to take off my training wheels. That led to me riding a bike to school everyday since the 3rd grade. At that time, I had never thought of cycling as a sport… I was more of a baseball, basketball, soccer, swimming type of guy.

Sean was an athlete from a very young age, and was always staying active. When he was 13, he completed the Silicon Valley Kids Triathlon, which consisted of a 200 meter swim, a 6 mile bike ride, and a 1.25 mile run!

It just so happens that my father is an avid cyclist himself. He was always able to convince me to go out for a ride with him, even when I dreaded it. Every time we went out for a ride, we would return to the same fire road, and every time we rode it, I would try to get one turn further than the ride before. Luckily for me, I was able to find mountain bike racing my freshman year of high school. Ever since that first race, I knew that this was something I wanted to continue.

Nowadays, If I’m not on a bike, its probably because I’m traveling. From going into the forests to go backpacking, to getting to go on a cruise to Antarctica… I’m lucky to have the opportunity to travel so much. Getting to see all different parts of the world has been amazing. I think that all of the outdoor trips I’ve been going on my whole life have made me enjoy the outdoors even more. I appreciate our planet, and I respect mother nature. So far my favorite trip has definitely been getting to explore Sweden with my family. Other than traveling, I work on my scheduling and time management. Staying focused on school, a cycling schedule, and maintaining a social life all at the same time takes hard work and commitment!

Coming from a great town, I have always had the support from everyone around me. I was luckily enough to have an older brother that is a great influence. From being beaten up on the ground, to playing chess at night, I’ve gotten to learn how to have fun from my brother. Also, throughout my entire time cycling, I have always had my mother to guide me. I’m super happy of where mountain biking has taken me so far. It has been a great experience learning this incredible sport.

Meet Junior Bear Athlete Quinn Felton

Every week we will introduce a new member of the Bear Development Team. This week, meet…


Racing Age: 17

Hometown: Belmont, CA

Race Bike of Choice: Trek TopFuel 9.9

Favorite Training Song: Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Favorite Post-Ride Snack: Peanut Butter + Banana Smoothie

Both my parents raced mountain bikes in the 90s, so naturally, I was introduced to riding at a very young age. However, I switched to “regular” sports once I got into elementary school: Baseball, soccer, flag football, track, cross country and this is also when I discovered my love for ice hockey. I spent the next six years with skates on my feet and assumed I would play it for the rest of my life.

My obsession with ice hockey came to an end in middle school when I suffered a series of severe concussions, resulting in missing almost 8 months of school over three years. My doctors told me that another head injury could cause permanent damage and advised me to find another sport. I was devastated, but began exploring other avenues.

During middle school, I had begun to explore the local MTB trails with friends but I still didn’t consider biking much of a competitive sport. That all changed when I met Cameron and Alistair, who showed me the wonders of Strava and invited me to join their constantly expanding MTB riding group of other 8th graders. Immediately, I was hooked. Every day I would try to beat my times, or complete new goals that I had set the day before. This ability to see any improvement and then to be able to correlate it with what I had changed or worked on fascinated me and caused me to want to work harder and improve as much as possible. The only time I had this feeling prior was in running but I found it a lot more fun to clear a new technical descent or even complete a weekly mileage goal than the try and run in a circle faster than the week before.

I have always had a love for animals and when I was younger. This love manifested itself into an obsession with reptiles, especially snakes. When I wasn’t on skates, I was probably either researching or out looking for snakes in the surrounding neighborhood.

Since my younger days of reptilian wonder, I have resorted back to more “normal” animals and spend a lot of my time off the bike playing with my two cats. I also spend my time computer programming which is something that I started learning at school this year. I enjoy the logic needed to do it, and I love the ability it gives to custom tailor a program for a specific job. I also enjoy how it allows me to see how computers work and how websites are made.

Looking back at all of this, I am forever thankful for my parents for supporting me in whatever endeavor I was currently occupied with and for their own love of the sport of cycling which is the reason that I can live next to world-class roads and trails. I am extremely excited and honored to be racing for Bear Development this season and can’t wait for the racing to get underway!

Remembering our Teammate, Tate Meintjes

Our beautiful, kind, thoughtful & playful teammate Tate Meintjes passed away yesterday.

We are heartbroken, devastated, and overwhelmed with emotions.

Tate was one of the good ones. A young man that always had a smile on his face, went out of his way to touch base with friends, and took time out of his crazy school and racing schedule to teach others about the sport he loved.

Tate grew up skiing, kayaking, hiking, playing soccer, and cycling in Reno, NV. In the wintertime, he taught skiing & snowboarding lessons to kids at a local ski resort. During the cycling season, Tate absolutely crushed it on the bike, participated in teaching local skills clinics, stayed focused at school, and spent time with friends & family. Tate always had his priorities straight, he was always improving & growing, on and off the bike, helping others, and sharing his love.

Tate was raised by two incredible parents that were always supportive and loving. The two of them, and Tate’s step-mother, have been a huge part of our Bear family over the years helping during race weekends and being there for Tate’s teammates. His brother, also a cyclist, was his bestie and friends of Tate’s teammates as well. We don’t want to accept that his life has come to an end; his strong and playful spirit will always be with us. Please join us in the hashtag #RideForTate to honor our memories of him.

We love you, Tate. Rest in peace.


By Dr. Michelle Cleere

You have to prepare yourself to be competition ready. Your pre-competition routine is as important as practice. This prep is the way to deal with mistakes and overthinking, and to utilize muscle memory and develop a process-oriented way to evaluate performance. This is an incredibly necessary part of competing.

Learning how to deal with key competition moments has transferable skills to how you see, think, and feel about performance at practice and in daily life. And, there is another moment just a few seconds before performance that’s important to specifically address – at the start line – to be competition ready!

Overall mental attitude

You can’t be positive about everything all the time, but you can learn to be more positive – in your performance life and life in general. You can also learn to deal with nerves, doubt, overthinking, etc., all which impact performance and life.

Because performance mental skills and life mental skills are the same and each impacts the other, this is the reason that at the core, mental performance skills are life skills. For example, learning to deal with nerves before a test or presentation has carry over to dealing with nerves before competition.

Beat the demons

There are 4 key moments that can make or break you in competition.

1.Switch on your Champion… before performance. Could be the week before, day or night before, morning of, etc. To be the most effective, cyclists must deal with what happens mentally before a performance.

2. Develop Mental Muscle Memory… during performance. Thinking is what destroys cyclists who know how to perform. This routine Is designed to help you tap into muscle memory and distract you from thinking too much.

3. Bounce Back Faster… let go of mistakes. This is the most difficult. Why? An action has just happened, your brain starts to analyze it and your critical voice (ego) wants to immediately reprimand you for it. This is how you’ve been conditioned to respond but you can control that critical voice.

4. Post-Race Evaluation…after performance. Objectively evaluating performance is the most overlooked moment – what went well, what was challenging, and what do I need to work on tomorrow – but can be the most beneficial.

These are the basic, foundational building blocks for mental skills. Developing these key moments develops confidence, positivity, resilience, focus and emotional control.

Crossing the imaginary start line

So you develop your Beating the Demons (BTD) mental training program and develop the ability to utilize these skills in your performance and life in general. Congrats! You are well on your way to having better control of your life but then there are some small, seemingly innocuous moments that don’t quite fall within the lines of BTD. One of those moments is crossing the imaginary start line.

You’ve done your mental and physical warmup and are ready to go. But then, you cross an imaginary line. This line triggers that you are going from warmup to the race and things are about to get very serious and something starts to change. Even though you did an awesome job setting yourself up for success, the final seconds before a race could bring it all crumbling down. You must be prepared for this.

Preparing for those seconds – be competition ready

  1. Know it exists, know it will happen.
  2. Figure out how to deal with it, and plan to deal with it.
  3. Extend your mental preparation.
  4. Decide if you’ll use something similar to what you used in your race ready plan or need something else

In these few seconds just before the start, many cyclists will take a couple of deeps breaths, recite a positive mantra and physically get ready, set, go! Regardless, don’t let these few seconds ruin all your hard work. Be prepared. Be race ready! Make it happen!

Dr. Michelle
Elite Performance Expert
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Meet Junior Bear Athlete Meigan Butler

Every week we will introduce a new member of the Bear Development Team. This week, meet…


Racing Age: 18

Hometown: McKinleyville, CA

Race Bike of Choice: Trek Procaliber

Favorite Training Song: Highway to Hell – ACDC

Favorite Post-Ride Snack: Grilled Cheese Sandwich w/ Pesto + Turkey

Mountain biking has always been a huge part of my life. My dad was, and still is, obsessed with riding and got our entire family involved. I have been riding mountain bikes with my mom, dad, and older sister ever since I was little. Every Sunday, we would go on a family ride in our local forest. A majority of our family vacations revolve around mountain biking in unique, beautiful places. When I was young, my parents would take turns towing me on a tag along bike. Once I outgrew that, my dad and I rode on a mountain bike tandem. I wouldn’t say I loved mountain biking as a younger child. I use to dread going on rides and I could not wait for them to be over. However, once I was on the ride, especially after a fast descent or technical section of single track, I absolutely loved it. Not only did I enjoy the challenge and adrenaline, I loved being outdoors and exploring whatever terrain I encountered.

I wasn’t introduced to competitive mountain biking until my freshman year of high school. I joined the Humboldt Composite Team and for the first time ever I rode with kids my age. I made lots of friends from this team and enjoyed team rides. However, the idea of racing was still terrifying to me. I didn’t get to race my freshman year due to an injury from Track and Field, so that bought me time to think about racing in the future. I already wasn’t a huge fan of climbing hills and the idea of ‘pushing my limits’ sounded awfully painful, but my parents gave me the push I needed to try it out and see how it goes. After getting the courage to roll up onto the start line, I found it extremely fun. Being in a racing environment was an incredible experience and it got me hooked. Looking back, I wish I never lost that year since I found a passion for it.

One challenge I encountered was last year’s first NorCal race, which was only my second year of racing. Within the first ten seconds of the race, I started getting blocked out to the side and caught a pole that caused me to crash. I knew my knee was in an immense amount of pain, but I got up and pushed on. It wasn’t until halfway through the race that I noticed I had a sock full of blood. After I finishing the race fourth, tenths of a second away from third, I went to the Stanford medical tent and seeked assistance. I ended up going to urgent care and getting seven stitches. It was a rocky road after that: my knee got infected, so I couldn’t compete in the second race. I had to take antibiotics to cure it, only to find I was allergic to them. This was a six week process of endless doctor appointments and stress of trying to heal my knee. By the time I was cleared to ride, I had ten days to make train into the next race. After a strenuous and short training block, I completed the race in second place. This challenge was tough, but it made me fall in love with the training process, gave me more motivation to push my limits, and showed me how truly passionate I was about racing.

When I am not on the bike or doing schoolwork, I enjoy spending time with family and friends. We love to play games and spend time outdoors. In the summer and any spare time we can find in the rest of the year, we spend time in our vacation house in Oakridge, Oregon. During winter, my family and I cross country ski and fat bike in the snow. During the summer, we spend time hiking up mountains, fishing, kayaking, and adventuring on our mountain bikes. When I was twelve years old, I also discovered I loved tennis. I played a local team with the Humboldt Tennis Club. Through this team, I got to train and travel all over California and Oregon to compete in tournaments. In the fall, I played on the Varsity team for my high school.

This year, I am incredibly excited to be a part of the Bear Development Team and take my racing to the next level! It will be a new learning experience, challenging, and most importantly FUN! I am going to make the most out of this last year as a junior racer.