Racing News: SoCal High School Mountain Bike Racing Series

2018 Beach To Boulders Race Report

 

EmailHeaderPhotoPhoto Credit: Motovation Sports

2018 SoCal High School Mountain
Bike Racing Series ROUND ONE

Beach to Boulders, Lake Perris State Recreation Area, CA

Contact: [email protected]
(909) 753-3694, www.socaldirt.org

Results and Photos HERE

Lake Perris, CA – It’s crazy to think that it’s been nine years since The SoCal High School Cycling League had it’s inaugural season. In 2009 the league started its journey with a mere 106 student athletes spread across fourteen teams. In the beginning, the SoCal League was just an experiment. The NorCal High School Cycling League had been around for years but they were really the only game in town. There was no National Interscholastic Cycling Association, no road map to building a league, no box of tools to work out all the challenges ahead. In the beginning the goal was simple, to see if we could accomplish in SoCal what the NorCal League had in the Bay Area.

I think it’s important to consider the league’s history because from the outside, especially to those who just arrived on the scene, we look in many ways similar to other large scale high school sports organizations in that the perception is that we have been around forever. The truth of course is that we are comparatively very young and that over the course of our brief existence a great many things have changed. Obviously our ridership has grown but here are just a few other interesting tidbits to think about. In 2009 we raced in six fields, some of which had only one or two racers, while this year we race in fourteen fields (broken into waves), many of which have over fifty racers. For the past few seasons riders have enjoyed hyper-accurate chipped timing results but not long ago results were tabulated by hand and riders would actually call out their plate numbers each time they road through for a lap. Middle School is actually still in its infancy, and in fact, SoCal helped pave the way for other leagues when it piloted its program in 2014. Did you know that in the early days our race staff operated out of a rented box truck that doubled as sleeping quarters?

I could go on and on, but what I want you, the reader of this race report, to understand is that when I say “It’s time to celebrate our 10thAnniversarySeason!” (#SoCalSeasonX) what I am really saying is thanks. It’s your hard work as volunteers and it’s the millions of hours that you as a group have spent working to build this program that made all those changes possible. It’s because of you, the coaches, the parents, the sponsors, the advocates, the school administrators, the land owners, whoever or whatever your involvement with the league may be, that we made it here and that we continue to grow and thrive. Last weekend we held our largest race ever with 894 student athletes in total, and if you are reading this it’s likely that you are to thank for that. Now let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty oh and of course…

Welcome to Season 10!
Brandon La Rue
Associate League Director

Eisenhart A beautiful day at Lake Perris – photo by Jeremy Eisenhart

Teams

SoCal League teams compete in two divisions. Division One (D1) is for large school based or homeschool teams having 12 or more racers. Division Two (D2) contains school based teams, homeschool teams, and composite teams with 11 or fewer racers. School based and homeschool (D2) teams compete for separate trophies than composite teams.

Familiar faces returned for Season 10 to claim their podium positions. On the Division One side Newbury Park High School had a strong opening racing taking 1st on the day. Murrieta High School came in at 2nd, grasping there first podium spot in six seasons, and Redlands Homeschool took the 3rd place spot for the Division. At the moment the only certainty going into race number two that we can see is that all three of the top Division One teams are going to have to fight hard to keep a hold. There is not much of a points gap between the top D1 teams after race one and typically that means it’s going to be an exciting season.

Head Coach Mike Legge summed things up saying “you never know how your team stacks up before the season starts. All of our coaches work off past results and refine the training program every year but so are other teams. Just glad that what we are doing is working. The competition this year is strong, so we will have to stay on the gas. Lake Perris has traditionally been our worst race, so we tweeked our training a bit to compensate. We hope this doesn’t hurt us at other races. Murrietta Mesa and Redlands Homeschool are really good teams that we are going to have to ride hard against. It should be another exciting season!”

Head Coach Michael Fuller had plenty to say as well. He told us that “it’s always fun getting back to Perris. As a coach you have an inkling about how your riders are doing but no idea about the competition. I was very pleased to have the team land on the podium. I saw wonderful performances from all my kids -some I expected and some coming from left field. We had a strong showing from my Varsity Boys and Girls , none of whom had ever raced that extra lap before. My JV and Sophomore riders had excellent races too. My favorite moment was watching my Freshman Girl, Annaliese Hampton, sprint to the line for the last podium spot, collapsing afterwards both physically and emotionally spent, and then finding her competition for a post-race hug. Now that Perris is done, the real mountain bike racing can start – I don’t know if we can catch Murrieta Mesa at Vail but I think we have a fighting chance. I’m really looking forward to it.”

In Division Two Hemet High School stood atop the podium above Rim of the World High School who took 2nd and Monrovia High School Mountain Bike Team who took 3rd.

Hemet’s Head Coach Gail Polvoorde was surprised by the teams performance at Perris stating that “the day went beyond our expectations. We have some new riders this year and it was exciting to have them at our first race and for them to experience the SoCal mountain bike experience! We are looking forward to the Vail Race. My team and I spend a lot of time training in the hills around Hemet so Perris is always a tough course for us, with the flats, gradual climbs and minimal single track.” She said the team is looking forward to heading to Vail where the terrain is a bit more familiar.

Rim Head Coach Kathy Horton is fired up for the season. She said that “In spite of strong winds at times it was a beautiful day and we were thrilled to get 2nd place in our division. Getting 2nd place is fueling our desire to go for number one. Watch out Hemet High School.”

Monrovia High School Mountain Bike Team Director Lisa Hickey said that for her team “it was a great day.” She stated that the teams “coaches and racers were all very happy with their results in the first race and looking forward to continuing to improve upon them.” She went on to say that the “races will be getting more difficult from here. We’ll continue to work hard to improve, but more importantly, we are going to keep having fun racing bikes. GO WILDCATS!”

Familiar players were back to do battle on the composite side as well. Redlands Composite became the first composite time this season to stand on the top of the podium taking 1st on the day. In 2nd was South Orange County Composite and in 3rd was Corona Composite.

Bryan Rails, Team Director for South Orange County Composite, said that “The kids have worked hard and are doing great but we have a lot of work ahead of us. We barely finished in the top three for composite. We have to fine tune “race tactics” and are looking forward to more single track at Vail Lake.”

Eisenhart3 Varsity Boys on the beach – photo by Jeremy Eisenhart

Varsity Boys

Varsity Boys competition started off with a bang this season. It’s no secret that all of the boys at the Varsity level are insanely fit but they also tend to be very mindful of tactics. At a venue like Lake Perris we typically expect to see large packs of riders using each other to help break the wind as they speed through the course. Perris can be thought of as being almost like a big road race for these highly skilled riders. That said, there is not much out on course to break up the pack, unless of course a rider wants to spend the whole race at full throttle. On Sunday Independent Rider Keven Vermaerke was that rider. Kevin broke away early on and maintained his lead throughout the race, claiming 1st on the day, with a solid lead over 2nd which was taken by Independent Rider Andrew Vollmer. Turner Conway of Redlands Composite took 3rd while 4th and 5th went to Seth Hampton from Redland Homeschool and Independent Tydeman Newman.

Eisenhart2 SoCal’s stylin announcer JJ Fresh interviews Meade after her race Sunday – photo by Jeremy Eisenhart

Varsity Girls

The Varsity Girls field was off to an exciting start as the Plum sisters Meade and Genevieve worked together to take 1st and 2nd on the day. Being that this is their first season ever wherein they are racing within the same field we can imagine the victory must have felt pretty fantastic. The sisters have a tough season ahead however as race times in the category were very close. As is true with the Varsity Boys all of the ladies in the field are at peak fitness and it will be interesting to see if things begin to shuffle as we head into some of the more technically challenging courses. It’s to early to make any calls yet but we cant wait to see what Mckenzie Steiner from Carmel Valley Composite(3rd), Haley Richards from Murrieta Mesa High School(4th), and Gabrielle Richardson from South Orange County Composite(5th) do at Vail to shake things up in the field.

Meade gave us a good picture of exactly what got her to the top of the podium saying “the race went better than I expected! I felt confident going into the race, used a lot of the lessons I have learned from prior races, and ended up winning, which makes me thrilled! Sunday morning waking up to find wind raised my nerves a bit. I had to come up with a new plan of attack quickly, so that I had a general idea of what to do out on course. Once racing I followed my gut feeling, tested the girls to see how strong they were feeling, and refined my plan from there. My attack worked better than I could of hoped for and my legs were there to back it, making the race a pretty ideal one!” She asked that we share her race day which can be found HERE.

Genevieve had nothing but good things to say about her race. She said “the race went awesome! I am really pleased with my second place finish! I felt really strong while I was racing, even in the wind. My favorite part of the course is the short single track down hill right after the climb. The main challenge during the race was the wind. When its windy out nobody wants to pull the group so trying to get the other girls to work is always difficult. I want to thank my family for always supporting me while I am training and racing! I can’t wait for the fun racing to come this year!”

Steiner said she though the race went very well and that “Meade was insanely strong and I think she deserved her win” and that her biggest challenge “was probably the wind and conserving my energy to stay with stronger riders.”

Eisenhart4 Keeping the course safe and having fun. Thats what being a marshal is all about – photo by Jeremy Eisenhart

JV Boys Conference A

In Conference A of the JV Boys Independent Rider Kyle Chromy became the first this season to dawn the Leader Jersey, taking 1st on the day. He was followed by Independent Rider Hunter Zubick who took 2nd and Aiden Chapin from Santa Clarita Composite who took 3rd. 4th place went to Independent Rider Eric Duran and 5th was snatched by Zachary Akin of Antelope Valley Composite.

Chromy gave some insights into his race saying “I feel that the race went really well for me. My favorite part of the race course would have to be the climb because that is where I am strongest. The downhill was also a lot of fun and super fast. I haven’t been on my mountain bike for a while because I have been racing a lot of road. This made the sand a little bit challenging, but I got used to it and wasn’t even thinking about it after the first lap.”

Eisenhart6 Thats quite the hat! – photo by Jeremey Eisenhart

JV Boys Conference B

Blake Wray from Corona Composite stepped up to the plate in a big way taking 1st at his debut High School event. He was accompanied by Ethan Sanchez from Murrieta Mesa High School who took 2nd and Ben Browen from Hemet High School who took 3rd. Cray Minor from Temecula Valley Composite was in at 4th and 5th went to Samuel Weber from Great Oak High School.

Wray stated that “the race overall was a lot more fun to race then everyone thought. Riding and racing the course was totally different. It gave you a chance to test your fitness and separated the the different riders.”

Browen commented on his day saying “race went great, 1st and 2nd snuck away from us when we passed a slower group but I’ll get them next time.”

28167359 10155298562472286 4235045173391947873 n Spectators gather at the podium ceremony Sunday – photo by SoCal

JV Boys Conference C

Jonah Martinez from Redlands Composite was the man to catch in Conference C of the JV Boys. He took 1st on the day over Philip Nadaskai of South Orange County Composite who was 2nd and Jeremy Mudgett from Newbury Park High School who was 3rd. Chance Lowery from Newbury Park High School grabbed the 4th place spot and 5th was taken by Alexander Williams of Yucaipa High School.

When asked about how his race went Mudgett said “it felt good to be back racing again after my season last year was cut short due to a medical issue. The race was fast and exciting and it was great to see Newbury Park High School take five of the top ten spots in JV Boys Conf C. I think the biggest challenge for me was not knowing the capabilities of my competitors because I have not raced with many of them before.”

NistPhil A group of girls are lead up to the start – photo by Phil Nist

JV Girls

Julia Gibbons from Canyon Crest Academy was on a mission at Perris. Fighting the headwinds she managed to pull away early on and hold a lead that got her to the top of the podium. Jordan Hurdle from Newbury Park High School took 2nd and 3rd went to Shelby Kawell from Yucaipa High School. Nathalie Lai from Crescenta Valley High School was in at 4th and 5th was swept up by Sofia Hillman from Newbury Park High School.

Gibbons told us that “overall, the race went pretty smoothly. The wind was fairly strong which made riding through the beach sand that much more difficult for me, but it was a fun course to ride with lots of amazing racers. I think my biggest challenge during the race was the wind on the beach. I stayed with the pack up the first hill, then attacked at the top of the climb and was on my own for the rest of the race, so I didn’t get to draft much.

Hurdle chimed in as well saying “Perris was really fun. I liked how much passing opportunities there were. Besides the sand slowing me down just a little, there were no major challenges. Bring the next race!”

28280116 10215256405339646 4602548809409976868 n Lake Perris from above – photo by Robert Galletta

Sophomore Boys Conference A

Levi Mason from Santa Maria Valley Composite is the first Conference A Sophomore to get to wear the Leader Jersey this season with a 1st place finish at Perris. He will have to work hard to keep it though as Independent Rider Evan Duran was hot on his heals, finishing only a few seconds behind to take 2nd on the day. Quinn Hild from Saugus High School came in at 3rd and teammates Nicolas Forno and Cade Lycklama from Academy of the Canyons took 4th and 5th.

Mason was happy with his performace saying that he felt “the race went really well and it was a great start to the season!” He also told us that his “favorite part of the course was the end part of the single track downhill with all the braking bumps and fast corners.”

Hild enjoyed the course as well stating that his favorite part was “coming downhill heading towards the beach.” He did say however that they “soft sand on the beach was a challenge.”

Sand The beach sand got quite thick in spots – photo by Joseph Villa

Sophomore Boys Conference B

In Conference B of the Sophomore Boys Ryan Landis from Great Oak High School(1st) had a very close race against Riley Sutton from Beaumont High School(2nd). The two finished a mere two seconds apart from each other but nearly two minutes ahead of their closest competitors Robert Zachwieja from Great Oak High School(3rd), Nicolas Despras from Coachella Valley Composite(4th), and Arturo Salas from Eastlake High School(5th).

Landis said that the race was fun and that he “was able to work with Robert and Riley by drafting each other the entire race. There was a huge headwind for most of the race that pushed everyone, but by working with Riley we were able to overcome that challenge. Another challenge was the sprint finish and thankfully, due to a lot of practice sprinting, I was able to pull it off and take the win.”

Zachwieja said “I think the race went great with a 3rd place finish going into the next round. I was sick coming into the race and it was a course that doesn’t fit me, so getting through it in a good position is awesome.” He too felt the headwinds at Perris saying that “there was a very strong headwind at the time of our race and I ended up riding alone with nobody to draft. There was a pack of racers behind me working together in a pace line to get up to me, which started to make me nervous. There were also two riders ahead of me drafting each other, pulling away from me a ton when we were in the wind. I pushed through it as hard as I could and was stoked to get 3rd and see my teammate Ryan Landis take the win.”

Birds Whatever you do don’t feed the birds – photo by Joseph Villa

Sophomore Boys Conference C

Tyler Thorp from Redlands Composite took control of the Sophomore Boys Conference C field with a 1st place finish at Perris. Teammates Ido Dukler and Lance Weyman from Newbury Park High School were next in line taking 2nd and 3rd. Bryce Halovaik from Redlands Composite was 4th and 5th went to J.P. Allen from Simi Valley Composite.

Dukler told us that “overall, the race was super fun and I would say my favorite part is from the downhill to the end of the beach. The biggest challenge throughout the race was dealing with the headwind and getting the people around me to pull too, but generally it was just really fun and I can’t wait for Vail next week.”

Weyman said that he “felt fine during the race. The wind was horrible on the beach, and I was glad to be drafting with a teammate.” He said his biggest challenged during the race was “just breathing. The two mile uphill was devastating purely due to its length and the pace we were pushing going up it.”

28279423 10155298727012286 388691948727485140 n A view from behind the curtian during the podium ceremony – photo by SoCal

Sophomore Girls

On the girls side of Sophomore competition Brooke Wallasch from Crescenta Valley High School was on a tear. Finishing well ahead of her field she grasped the first Leader Jersey of the season over her closest competitor Kristen Leutgeb from Canyon Crest Academy who took 2nd. 3rd went to Sophia Schaeffer from Tehachapi High School and 4th was taken by Gracie Knowlton from Tehachapi Composite. The final podium spot went to Heleena Fisher from Beaumont High School who took 5th.

Wallasch gave some insight into her race saying “the main challenges I faced during the race aside from the sandy sections of the course and the wind, were minor equipment malfunctions. While I was riding on the road section of the course, the gear that I wanted to use was repeatedly skipping, forcing me to either push a harder gear or spin out in a lower gear. The adjustment on my clipless pedals was also slightly loose, so my shoes came out several times on the rougher section of the course. I feel very lucky that these were the only equipment related challenges I had, and that they can easily be fixed before the next race. Shout out to my teammate Nathalie Lai who was not so lucky and had to run her way across the finish line after her chain dropped a few turns short of the finish line, still managing to come in 4th place in JV Girls.”

Leutgeb said that she “really had to think about strategy, especially with the wind. I tried to stay with the first place rider, but I lost her draft and had to use more energy than hoped. The downhill was fun and fast, but the sandy turns could be dangerous if approached to fast and I was lucky to pay attention to that in the pre-ride. I think I did very well and hope to improve in the next race.”

Schaeffer told us that her race “went well and that the downhill was her favorite part but that the sand was challenging.”

CLREffect Riders descend towards the beach – photo by CLR Effect

Freshman Boys Conference A

Independent Riders Matthew Kei, Nolin Costin, and Zeke Van Rooyen all fought hard at their first race of the season and managed to grab the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place podium positions. Josiah Hopkins from Tehachapi Composite rolled in at 4th and 5th went to Brandon Provost from Crescenta Valley High School.

Van Rooyen said that his goal was to podium but that he did not know he would do. He said “I’m in high school and the guys I raced against last year in Middle School Experienced Boys were split up among the three conferences.” He said overall he enjoyed the entire course “because it was a straight out hammerfest.” with is biggest challenges being “the headwind on the climb and the second stretch on the beach.”

Windy Beach Riders make there way across the wind whipped beach – photo by Jeremy Eisenhart

Freshman Boys Conference B

In Conference B of the Freshman Boys there was a battle for the top spot between Adin Papell of Murrieta Mesa High School and Carson Minor of Temecula Valley Composite. Papell managed to narrowly beat Minor for the 1st place spot but we have a feeling these two will be battling all season. Bodhi Chitraroff from Murrieta Mesa High School was not far behind taking 3rd on the day. 4th and 5th went to Hayden Metz and his teammate Ethan Villaneda from Corona Composite.

Papell commented on his race saying “I thought the race went great. Except the one down slope area where a few kids crashed. My favorite part of the race was the beach because I could see everyone but the wind was a challenge.”

Minor agreed that the”the race went great!” He said he “worked with a couple other guys the whole race and we pulled an awesome lead. We only separated towards the end of the race when we started sprinting for the win. I did my best and stayed with first place until the finish. For him biggest challenge of the race was in his words “the fire road after the single track downhill because it was hard to stay tucked in with the group I was with. The wind made it tough and the pace was really fast.”

28378711 10211345956272976 5595965499355269141 n Even T-Rex comes out to watch SoCal League racing – photo by Mike Schmahl

Freshman Boys Conference C

The C Conference of Freshman Boys was a very exciting race to watch with the top three boys in the field riding together nearly the entire race and finishing within a second of each other. We can’t predict where this is head but what we do know is that at Perris Brandon Thede from Laguna Beach Interscholastic Mountain Bike Team managed to take 1st over Eddy Huntsman from Corona Del Mar High School who was 2nd and Caedan Aveling from Redlands Homeschool who was 3rd. Daniel Hirota from Simi Valley Composite was 4th and 5th was claimed by Zander Hoppen from El Toro.

Huntsman was very pleased and told us he “was leading at the first uphill and then got in the draft of the winner. Once the race started I noticed that the course was very well marked off. The course was also free of debris which I appreciated. The most fun was the first down hill. My favorite part was the dirt uphill because that is where the race was decided. Hanging in on that headwind was tough.”

Aveling said that he “felt the race went pretty well, if not better than how I expected it too.I really enjoyed the teamwork aspect. Going into the race I wasn’t expecting to work with anybody, primarily because I’ve really never done that before. But even though they weren’t my teammates we kinda hung together and helped each other through the harder bits of the course. The fire road climb was absolutely brutal especially with all the sandy bits and ruts. also the braking bumps on the single track downhill were quite jarring. But overall I enjoyed the experience.”

SprintEisenhart Excitement at the finish as two Freshman Girls make a sprint – photo by Jeremy Eisenhart

Freshman Girls

For the Freshman Girls it was Emily Gables from Woodcrest Christian High School who took 1st on the day by a narrow margin to snatch up the seasons first Leader Jersey in the field. Eva Lintereur from Santa Clarita Composite was right on her heels in 2nd however and we expect that she will have Gables in her sights come Vail. 3rd place went to Lauren Lopez from South Orange County Composite and in 4th was Makayla Macpherson from Corona Santiago Mountain Bike Club. The final podium spot went to Annaliese Hampton from Redlands Homeschool who took 5th.

Gables said “I felt that it went pretty well apart from the few racers who obtained any injuries.” but that her race had its challenges “I experienced my worst fear for the first time… cramping. it hurt a lot!”

Lintereur said that she thinks Perris is “a good first race for new kids because the course wasn’t hard to get through. For returning racers it was a breeze.” She said that her favorite part of the weekend was “seeing all my teammates lined up on the side of the race course where we had our team pit.”

Nist2 Middle School Girls get ready to follow sean to the start line – photo by Phil Nist

Middle School

Three years ago the SoCal League pioneered it’s first middle school program with the intention to “introduce middle school aged riders to the sport of mountain biking focused heavily on skills, fun, fitness, and NICA’s “Spirit of Howdy” with a small taste of the competitive aspects of mountain biking they will find when in high school.” Each year the league has added an extra middle school race. Last year four middle school races were held over the course of our typical five race High School season. This season the league added another event meaning that from Season 10 going forward middle school now races at every season event. In an effort to allow kids to have a less pressured environment there is no team competition and no season overall standings. Instead, each race is treated as its own unique event even though many kids will likely do all five races. Even with this stepped down pressure the enthusiasm evident at the first race was contagious and there were smiling middle school riders (grades 6-8) everywhere you looked on Saturday. The ever-growing program was up to 358 middle school riders, up from 313 last season. Middle school racers took to the course in one of 9 separate categories designed to place them with riders of similar skills. Middle school categories were changed again this season to accommodate for growth with riders racing in one of nine different fields. Girls raced in Level 1, 2, and 3 girls only field and on the boys side the boys raced in Boys Level 1 Grade 6,7, and 8, Boys Level 2 Grade 6/7, and 8, and Boys Level 3 Grade 7/8. The middle school riders rode two laps, with the exception of the Level 3 boys who road 3 laps, of a 3.7 mile course giving them just enough fun and excitement to be enthused but leaving the harder training and longer distance to the high school riders. No burnout wanted!

IMG 2944 Teen Trail Captain accept their awards Sunday – photo by Beaumont HS

Last season at Beach to Boulders we announced our participation in a new program called the Teen Trail Corps. At that time we awarded the first ever SoCal League Teen Trail Corps badges during our podium ceremony. For those that are new to the league the, Teen Trail Corps is a new national strategic partnership between NICA and local leagues to directly incorporate youth in tomorrow’s future of trail stewardship. The idea was inspired by NICA and IMBA at the 2014 IMBA World Summit in Steamboat Springs where four students from three NICA Leagues attended the summit and conceptualized the program. It was officially launched in 2016. Teen Trail Corps mission sees young adults leading a movement encouraging and promoting trail advocacy, land stewardship, and courteous and respectful use of trails. Both NICA and SoCal hope the program can be one of the most important long term legacies we leave.

The Teen Trail Corps program is open to any NICA student-athlete (middle or high school). Students complete projects toward earning four badges which are based on the core values of SPEAK, SERVE, RESPECT, and RIDE. After earning all four badges students are awarded the TEEN TRAIL CAPTAIN award and the SoCal League gives them a custom McLeod trail tool.

Last season we awarded only two Teen Trail Captain award and so you can imagine our reaction when at first we heard that not just one but SEVENTEEN total SoCal League student athletes had fulfilled the requirements to earn their Teen Trail Captain awards ahead of Season 10. We expected the Teen Trail Captain award to gain in prestige over time but we never could have imagined something so fantastic as this. A large number of SPEAK, SERVE, RESPECT, and RIDE badges were also given out but in particular we would like to congratulate all those who were awarded the Teen Trail Captain award last Sunday including Hunter Zubick, Dustin Dixon, Douglas Rakow, Keegan Westbrook, Will Zak, James Pietronico, Eli Rutherford, Jonus Rutherford, Noah Poelstra, Austin Woolard, Chase Rutherford, Haley Powers, Luke Stawter, Trent Feyer, Heleena Fisher, Trisha Krigbaum, and Gregory Adame.

One team in particular has really stepped up to the plate in a tremendous albeit unexpected way. Of the nineteen Trail Captains awarded to this point 18 are riders from the Beaumont High School Mountain Bike Team. We spoke to Beaumont’s Head Coach Dave Azzolin to find out more about the teams involvement with the program. Azzolin said “I took on making TTC a priority with our team for multiple reasons, but probably the biggest was that this is such a unique aspect of our sport. Mountain biking in general is something that our athletes can enjoy for a lifetime, and once they are out of high school, and even college even into their senior years it is an activity they will enjoy, with friends, family, and on their own. This being the case I believe adding the unique aspect of developing our athletes and coaches into stewards for the areas we ride, and as spokespeople and promoters of our sport will help them grow as well as mountain bikers.”

“Getting more specific this is a program that really engages school districts and even the cities. Good press and community service I believe will be vital in getting school districts to be more accepting of NICA and mountain biking in general. On the team level we are helping to keep open and gain access for not only mountain bikers, but hikers and equestrians, in one of our local county parks that lack funding and attention from the county parks district. Getting to the individual rider level many colleges are looking for community involvement/volunteerism and what better way to do that than by an activity that not only meets that goal, but helps us to maintain our riding areas. Finally, by maintaining and upgrading the trails they ride, it gives a rider a better sense of how the trails “ride” and how to better ride them. On a personal note I know this can help our student athletes get scholarship money. Through being a Teen Trail Captain my daughter received merit based scholarships, extra interest in the college that she was accepted to, and is well on her way to meeting the community service requirement her collage has for new students.”

“To be honest, implementing this program, as a coach, is a chore, but this should only be now, while the program is new. Students see this as “homework”, and rightfully so because it is the antithesis of mountain biking, submitting these on on a computer, not enjoying the outdoors. Once the program grows and becomes the norm it will just be second nature and will come naturally to our awesome kids.”

We couldn’t agree more with Dave. As mountain bikers and trail users in general we clearly have everything to gain and little if anything to lose from getting more involved in advocating for our sport. To that end we asked a few of our Teen Trail Captains about the Teen Trail Corps and how they plan to use the things they have learned in the program.

Keegan Westbrook said “We want to do it because we are glad to do it. So many people do a lot of work for us and we’re giving back and making it easier on everyone else. Its making Mountain Biking such a better sport bringing everyone together and also boosting the sport’s reputation.”

Will Zak told us that “The Teen Trail Corps is an honor. To be a part of the amazing group of individuals that are involved with this program is truly incredible. I have learned so much, writing the essay and creating my advocacy entries, but also when I was out on the trails riding and building. The speaking was also really fun and it has had a huge impact for the Beaumont High School team and on mountain biking in general. The speaking I did was at my school’s “Club Fair”, where we ended up recruiting nine Freshman and one Junior for our team. This shows that if you put hard work in, in the beginning, it will pay off in the end. This is an extremely important lesson to learn in life and the Teen Trail Corps taught it PERFECTLY!”

The SoCal League has long encouraged teams and riders to work with local trail groups to build and maintain legal trails and to advocate for trail access. The Teen Trail Corps is simply an extension of that vision. We encourage parents and student-athletes to find out more and get involved at www.teentrailcorps.org! an we hope that we will soon be giving away many more Teen Trail Corps awards at our upcoming podium ceremonies.

Upcoming Events

Mar 10-11: Vail Lake Challenge at Vail Lake presented by Jenson USA

Mar 24-25: Cruise the Keys at Keyesville presented by Haro Mountain Bikes

Apr 14-15: Victory at Vail at Vail Lake presented by TASCO MTB

May 5-6: SoCal Finals at Tehachapi presented by Hyper Threads

May 19-20: State Championships, Five Springs Farm, Petaluma, NorCal

Full information available HERE

The SoCal High School Cycling League was organized in 2008 to provide a well defined race season for high school student-athletes and to promote the formation of teams at public and private high schools. In 2014 that grew to include a middle school program designed to introduce middle school aged riders to the sport of mountain biking focused heavily on skills, fun, fitness, and responsibility with a taste of the competitive aspects of mountain biking. With the cooperation of local race promoters and our sponsors we produce a first class series of races in addition to providing training for coaches and riders. The League is working to make interscholastic racing the easiest way for youth to get involved in the challenging and exciting world of competitive cycling. NICA and the SoCal League exist by virtue of a range of fundraising activities, as well as generous donors, and sponsors including founding national sponsor Specialized Bicycle Components, Easton Foundations, SRAM, Trek Bicycles, and Shimano; major sponsors Kenda Tire, Clif Bar & Company, Giro, Podiumwear, and Quality Bicycle Parts; sponsors, Haro MTB, Hyper Threads, Jax Bicycle Center, Primal, JensonUSA, Camelbak, and GU.

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