Race Report: SoCal High School Cycling League’s Race #1
The first race of the season is always exciting! After months of practicing, both on the trails and trainers, the first race gives riders a chance to get their jitters out and test themselves. The Lake Perris State Recreation Area venue proved to be a wonderful venue again with cooler temps, a fast and scenic course, and the most student-athletes ever participating in a SoCal race in the league’s history- 1,161 kids racing to be exact! If you ask us, #socal2020 is off to a great start.
Results and Photos HERE
We like having Lake Perris State Recreation Area as the first venue for many reasons. The course is wide open, which is nice and safe for newer racers as they get used to passing and riding in very large fields. For veteran racers, it gives them a chance to learn and practice race tactics. Many say Perris is the easiest course, but with the road sections, twisty cyclocross segments, a sandy beach straightaway that often has wind, and limited singletrack, we think it’s one of the most challenging courses from a race-standpoint. Lastly, we like Perris because of the nice, grassy infield and large amounts of camping. Community and fun are at the heart of SoCal culture and this venue lends itself to that very much!
The weekend was fabulous! While Saturday was overcast and Sunday was partly cloudy, the weather was great for racing. Thousands attended the event and the vibe was very positive! The start area was filled with parents, families, teammates, and coaches. The same folks were there for the exciting finishes with high fives and fist bumps galore! Seeing the positive sportsmanship from so many teams made the staff smile. The Sponsor Expo was well-attended with Kenda, Haro, Velofix, and Around the Cycles hanging out all weekend. The Pit Zone was huge with tents of all sizes and colors filled with teams! Once again, the GRiT tent hosted yoga for everyone. The volunteers ROCKED and none of this would be possible without them (and of course, our coaches). Overall, it was an amazing weekend to kick off Season 12! We are looking forward to seeing everyone again at Vail Lake in less than two weeks.
SoCal League Program Coordinator
Anyone who has ever been to a SoCal League race knows that there is far more going on than just racing. In past seasons we tended to share only the perspectives and stories of those privileged enough to make it to the top of their fields. This season we are continuing on with a new tradition, which we started last season, and are instead trying to capture a bit clearer picture of what it’s really like, how it feels, and what it means to be involved at a SoCal League event. We’ve asked that coaches, riders, and parents share stories with us about things they experience on race weekend so that we can share with you. We’re calling this section “Tales From The Dirt Zone” and we hope to feature at least three per race report.
Our first story comes from Michael Legge who is the Team Director of our largest team, Newbury Park High School. With well over one hundred-student athletes this season we can help but wonder if traditions like these are the reason that the Panther ranks keep growing.
Mountain biking is challenging. There are are so many moving parts when it comes to racing and sometimes even when we are giving our best efforts it’s just not enough. Our next story, by Sam Freiberger, focuses on the story of his race last weekend while demonstrating the mentality that we hope to see in all of our student-athletes. Great work out there Sam.
Sometimes we say things over and over and over. The reality is that there is no better teacher than experience, and we think Sophia Estes knows that’s true after her race last weekend. Many of us have experienced the sickening feeling of apprehension at a start line somewhere at some point in our lives and so we are sure many will relate to Sophia’s story. What’s we want to point out however is the lesson it can lend her peers. Take it from her not us, give your best effort every time you roll up to that start line, no matter how deep that pit in your stomach goes.
We don’t try to hide that accidents happen at the races. Mountain biking is mountain biking and it comes with a certain level of inherent risk. The awesome thing about being a part of the SoCal League family is that we take those risks together and so when things inevitably do go array we have a huge network of support to fall back upon. Our final story for this report comes from Cameron Sarrail, a rider for the Damien High School team who shared a bit about the kindness and support she experienced when things went south last weekend at Lake Perris.
THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET MOUNTAIN BIKE ACTION
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun. Start a subscription by clicking here or calling (800) 767-0345.