ABOVE: Video from the inaugural race in 2009.
The Southern California High School Mountain Bike Racing Series follows up on a highly successful inaugural series with a five-race season that is attracting considerable attention from high school students across southern California. The season gets underway at the beautiful Vail Lake Resort near Temecula on March 14.
Matt Gunnell, the executive director of the League, can’t wait. “Last year our opener had 76 racers. This year we’re expecting over 130! We have a huge incoming class of freshman riders which bodes well for the growth of the League. We believe our program will not only be one of the keys to finding the next Lance Armstrong but, more importantly, will help provide a path to a healthy life and the love of a lifelong sport. In addition to providing a much needed competitive outlet, our program helps to instill an appreciation for and sense of stewardship of the outdoor spaces around us.”
Independent Racer Tiana Row said, “I am super excited for the start of the season and can’t wait to see how many more girls there are this year. I’m happy to be racing again for the SoCal League as the returning Varsity leader and just can’t wait for the first race!”
The Varsity boys winner from 2009, Zach Valdez, is returning too, and by his own admission is looking forward to it, saying, “The 2010 Socal League season is going to be huge! I’m so pumped just to be a part of this phenomenon that is slamming the world of cycling! It’s going to be awesome just to be out there with all the kids, having fun on the bike. I’ve come to know many of the league racers, and am excited to know that everyone will be out there having a blast. I’m proud to be a part of the league during its beginning stages.”
The 2010 series opener is held on a course featuring spectacular single track through the chaparral and oaks in the rolling hills surrounding the outstanding Vail Lake venue. Riders will complete on a circuit of approximately 6 miles per lap including a trip up the daunting “Marine Corps Hill” every lap. The SoCal series final will be May 2nd in Los Olivos near Solvang and the 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 Newport Beach Composite team led the series from start to finish. Coach James May is looking forward to another great season. “We have some amazing new riders and five of the six back from last year. We have more than doubled our team’s size. I am really looking forward to watching the kids race on Sunday at Vail Lake. We’re excited to compete and grateful to be a part of the adventure!” He said.
The complete schedule for the 2010 Southern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League Series is as follows.
March 14: Vail Lake Challenge, Vail Lake Mountain Resort, Temecula
March 28: Warner Ranch Roundup, Warner Springs
April 11 : Lake Arrowhead Challenge, Lake Arrowhead
May 2: Cow Pie Classic, Santa Ynez
May 16: State Championships, Grass Valley (Not part of SoCal point series)
All race programs start at 10 a.m. IE Bikes (www.iebikes.com) will be providing mechanical support in the SRAM Neutral Support Zone at Vail Lake.
Registration, course maps, past results and directions are available at the League website.