Norcal Race Report #2: Granite Bay Challenge Unfolds Over Weekend


2010 Racing Series is Shaping Up Well


Berkeley, CA (March 24, 2010) The second race of the 2010 NorCal High School Cycling League brought out 492 student athletes on March 21, held at the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area in Granite Bay, California, under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 60s.

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Full results here:

Just two weeks after the season opener in Fort Ord near Seaside, California, the second race provided just as much excitement as the first, with Varsity Boy’s co-leaders Will Curtis (San Rafael) and Bryan Duke (Salinas High) sprinting in the sand on the uphill finish after 24 miles of intense racing. Curtis went wide on the final corner, beating Duke to the line by one second for an overall race time of 1:38:07.

“After losing the sprint at a race in San Dimas last weekend, I decided to save my legs for the end today,” the third-year Varsity rider said after the race. “Cody (Kaiser) wanted to lead at the beginning so we let him. Bryan and I started attacking each other on the third lap, and took over the race lead.

“Tony (Smith) was sick this past week, and was dropped on the descent,” Curtis added. “Bryan attacked on the final fire road, and I gave everything I had into the sand pit. He took the outside line, which was deep. It was an awesome race, and it appears there won’t be any domination this season.”

Curtis and Duke shared the race leader’s jersey after the first race, where a late-race crash involving JV boys caused Curtis and Duke to take different lines, with Duke crossing the line ahead of Curtis. The Salinas High student asked the judges after the race to share both the victory and the leader’s jersey with Curtis. After the March 21 event, though, Curtis now holds the lead heading into the April 11 race at Boggs Mountain.

“It was another exciting race for several reasons,” NorCal founder Matt Fritzinger said. “Lots of exciting action, with another close finish to the Varsity Boy’s race. Despite what happened at the first race, Will and Bryan raced wheel to wheel Sunday, so for them to go that fast with so much composure showed a lot of class.”

In typical NorCal fashion, three Varsity riders — Cameron Hays, Evan Shorter and Skyler Nilsen — did an impromptu game of ‘rock-paper-scissors’ (roshambo) right before the finish line to determine their finish order. Fifty-one boys raced the event, held on a 6-mile combination of twisting single-track, wide double track and rolling cross-country terrain over four laps.

Varsity Girls
Independent racer Shayna Powless kept her winning streak alive in the Varsity Girl’s race, beating Marin Catholic’s Victoria Yoham. The Roseville resident finished the 18-mile course in 1:26:44.

“I trained mainly on these trails this week, because we only live 15 minutes from here,” Powless said. “I have a couple track meets between this race and the next, and I’ll do both the road and mountain bike races at Sea Otter following the next NorCal race.” Twenty-two Varsity girls raced the event.

The third race of the 2010 season, the Boggs Mountain Classic, will take place near Cobb, California, and according to many insiders, will be one of the most challenging courses so far.

“Boggs will be a harder, more technical course,” Vanessa Hauswauld, the NorCal League director-in-training said. “There will be more climbing than the first two races, a true mountain biker’s challenge. Boggs has lots of trees and exposed rock with tons of singletrack.”

Second-year Varsity Boy’s racer Colby Pastore of Casa Grande, in his fourth year racing the NorCal League, felt good about his 10-place finish in Granite Bay, but knows that Boggs won’t be easy.

“I felt good Sunday,” he said. “I didn’t finish my first NorCal race; I was more careful with my preparation this time. Boggs is my arch enemy!”

JV Boys
Berkeley High’s Isaiah Rapko, a noted road and cyclo-cross racer, came into the second race with a similar plan as Will Curtis: conserve energy for a big finish. His plan worked, as the final turn proved almost as exciting as the Varsity Boy’s race, with Rapko narrowly beating Drake’s Nik Dommen and Redwood High’s Taylor Smith to the line by two and five seconds, respectively. Rapko finished the 18-mile event in 1:21:14. Sixty-eight students raced the event Sunday, with Smith holding on to the race leader’s jersey.

“I knew I wasn’t the fastest going into today’s race, but the plan was to grab some wheels and save myself for the end,” Rapko said. “I only led for five minutes the whole race; we had a very close finish, coming into the final corner pretty tight.”

Tamalpais High’s Spence Peterson continued his winning streak, taking the JV Boy’s Division 2 race by 3:36 over Santa Cruz rider Jacob Albrecht. Peterson finished the 18-mile event in 1:15:43, maintaining his hold on the race leader’s jersey. Fifty-seven students raced the event.

JV Girls
Branson High freshman Kate Courtney, fresh off her win in the Freshman Girl’s event March 7, won the JV Girl’s 12-mile race by a similar margin this time, finishing nearly three minutes ahead of Salinas High’s Rainee Chandler in 1:00:26. Trojan Composite’s Maren Cosens holds the overall race leader’s jersey. Thirty-two girls raced the event.

Sophomore Boys
Salinas High’s Steve Larson held off a strong Sophomore Boy’s Division 1 field to finish the 18-mile course in 1:20:11, beating Folsom duo James Amort and Avery Cook by 1:20 and 3:02, respectively. Larson’s teammate Matthew Epperson finished fourth, seven seconds later. Seventy-eight boys raced the event.

In the Sophomore Boy’s Division 2 race, Tamalpais High’s Bob Siegel turned in a winning time of 1:20:29 to hold on to his race leader’s jersey. Branson’s Eliel Anttila took second, 1:24 behind, with Jefferson teammates Carson Schmeck and Nick Price crossing the line in third and fourth places. Thirty-three boys raced the event.

Sophomore Girls
El Cerrito’s Julia Martien won the Sophomore Girl’s 12-mile race in 1:08:45, besting runner-up Emily Lawrence (San Ramon) by 1:26, holding on to her leader’s jersey. Sixteen girls raced the event.

Freshman Boys
Salinas High’s Brian Bauman won the Freshman Boy’s Division 1 race, a 12-mile event with 64 students competing. Bauman’s time was 0:55:36, just four and 10 seconds ahead of second- and third-place finishers Wyatt Morin (Woodcreek) and Daniel Szawarzenski (Drake) respectively.

The Freshman Boy’s Division 2 race was won by Tamalpais High’s Alex Howard, who beat his teammate Skyler Taylor by 1:09 over the 12-mile event. The top 10 finishers all came in under an hour, as all 52 students raced hard on the fast, sandy course.

Freshman Girls
In the exciting Freshman Girl’s 12-mile race, Salinas High’s Maddie Gieger pipped independent racer Dominique Vanden Dries near the line to take the victory in 1:08:57, by just one second. Nineteen girls raced the event.

Team Results
Division 1 Team Results from the March 21 event had the Salinas High School Mountain Bike Team come out on top with a combined 3,989 points over the Drake Pirates (3,978). Folsom High finished third with 3,731 points, San Rafael had 3,720, and Redwood High had 3,683. After the first two of five races, Salinas leads overall with 8,000 points, with Drake trailing at 7,906, and San Rafael in third with 7,443 points.

The Division 2 Team Results had the Marin Catholic Mountain Bike Club in first with 1,999 points, ahead of the Santa Cruz Chain Gang by 72 points. The new Trojans High School Mountain Bike Composite Team is in a close third, just six points behind Santa Cruz. Overall, Santa Cruz has 3,895 combined points, with the Trojans in second with 3,880 and Tamalpais in third with 3,831 points.

So Far, So Good
Overall, Hauswald was very pleased with the second race of the NorCal League season.

“I saw the head coach of San Ramon bringing 16 or 17 girls to the start line,” she said. “We don’t always have that many girls on one given team, and this is a great sign for the future of women’s cycling. We also heard about better passing etiquette throughout the day, and a lot of our athletes who had exceptional races today”

The third race of the 2010 NorCal League season will be the Boggs Mountain Classic held near Cobb, California on Sunday, April 11.

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, as well as 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 or call (510) 524-5464.

source: Vanessa Hauswald

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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