Racing Series kicks off this weekend near Monterey
BERKELEY, Calif. (March 2, 2010) – The Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing Series celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with a five-race season that promises memorable events for more than 500 high school mountain bikers from 40 schools across northern California. Students have been in training, and eagerly await the opening round on March 7 at East Garrison, Fort Ord, near Monterey.
Vanessa Hauswald, the incoming executive director of the League, is as excited as anybody. “As expected, more than 530 riders have signed up for this series already, and we may get close to 600 by the time registration closes. This is a 20% jump over last year’s membership. We’re proud to be going into our tenth year with such a strong showing of teams, coaches, athletes and volunteers. Once again we have a challenging line up of courses that suit young riders, and we are really looking forward to watching our athletes enjoy themselves out there.” As the season kicks off, Santa Cruz Bicycles comes on board as a silver level sponsor of the NorCal League, an indicator of the continually growing recognition that High School cycling is gaining in the cycling industry.
The tenth year of the series marks a turning point, necessitated by the popularity of the races. Hauswald said, “Now that we’ve grown beyond 500 riders, our venues and infrastructure are bursting at the seams. We are looking at options to accommodate the ever-increasing numbers and next year we will implement some changes.”
The top ranked returning Varsity rider, Will Curtis, of San Rafael High School, said, “In the four years I’ve been with the League I have witnessed its growth, with each year getting even more fun and exciting than the last. The lineup for the courses this year looks awesome! I think it will be a fun year for sure.” About his personal aspirations, Will says, “I am confident of my form going into the series, but at the end of the day I am just hoping to perform to the best of my ability at every race. If that is good enough to win, that would be awesome. If not, I can be happy knowing that I gave it all I have. Can’t wait for next weekend!”
The 2010 series opener is held on a course featuring spectacular single track through the rolling hills in mountain biking’s classic Fort Ord venue. Riders will complete on a circuit of approximately 5 miles per lap. The series final and state championship race will be held in Grass Valley, a stone’s throw from the opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California that same day in Nevada City.
In 2009 the Drake High School team won both series and state championships titles. Coach Paul Chourre is looking forward to another year, but with his team going from strength to strength he remains realistic. “Having graduated only three members of the 2009 squad, and picked up a record 23 new racers for a total of 49 this year, I would think that we are in good shape, but repeating as state champs is a very difficult task given the caliber of athletes that the League is producing,” he said.
While the high school Mountain Bike events enjoy a relaxed, friendly, fun atmosphere that harks back to the early days of the sport, one feature that sets them apart from other mountain biking events is the number of course marshals. In addition to over a dozen trained stationary monitors, each wave of racers also has at least two ‘sweepers’. Sweepers are course marshals that monitor riders’ behavior and respond to emergencies should they occur. Parent and coach volunteers enjoy these active roles, carrying radios, first aid kits, and many are trained in wilderness first aid.
The complete schedule for the 2010 Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League Series is as follows:
March 7: Central Coast Invitational (Monterey)
March 21: Granite Bay Challenge (Folsom)
April 11: Boggs Mountain Classic (Cobb)
May 2: Mountain Goat Challenge (Monterey)
May 16: State Championships (Grass Valley)
Registration, course maps, past results and directions are available at the League website (www.norcalmtb.org). Highlight from past races are available at http://www.norcalmtb.org/about/press.htm. Gratis photographs for editorial use are available on request after each race.
About the NorCal High School Cycling League The NorCal High School Cycling League, founded in 2000, is a non-profit organization open to students from both public and private schools. The League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities as well as generous donors and sponsors including the founding sponsor of the SoCal League, Easton Foundations; the founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components, SRAM, Trek Bicycles, Clif Bar and Co., Fox Racing Shox, Creation Engine, GU Sports, Mike’s Bikes, Primal Wear, Santa Cruz Bicycles, and Touchstone Climbing Gyms. The League provides coaching and camaraderie to help students achieve both competitive and non-competitive cross-country mountain biking goals in a safe and enjoyable manner. Each season includes a fall Leader’s Summit for coaches, winter riding camps, the five-race series, and a variety of summer camps. For more information on the League visit www.norcalmtb.org or call (510) 524-5464.
source: Tyler Dibble