SoCal Interscholastic Mountain Bike Racing Series ROUND ONE

2019 Beach to Boulders Race Report


Photo Credit: Motovation Sports, Alexa Azzolin, Ron Deversa, Jeremy Eisenhart, and Devin Wilson

February 28, 2019

2019 SoCal Interscholastic Mountain
Bike Racing Series ROUND ONE

Beach to Boulders, Lake Perris State Recreation Area, CA

Contact: brandon@socaldirt.org
(909) 753-3694, www.socaldirt.org

Results and Photos HERE

Nobody likes spending more time in garages on trainers or frequenting spin studios than actually being out riding bikes and from experience I can tell you that event planning does not do much for ones anxiety whilst social media is constantly being flooded with postings pertaining to historic rainfall. Yep it’s been a soggy few months, but at last SoCal Season 11 racing is is finally underway and despite the torrent of weather systems that have been pummeling our state we, luckily, were gifted with a near perfect weekend of SoCal sunshine last Saturday and Sunday. In total 1061 High School and Middle School student athletes turned out to take on their first event of the year at the remarkably scenic, and now much fuller, Lake Perris State Recreation Area venue.

The Lake Perris venue has always been unique. It offers a much safer place for first time racers to experience what it’s like to be on course, amidst a few hundred others, while also functioning as a sort of metric for higher skilled riders to gauge the fitness of their competition. This time around riders put both their skill and fitness to the test on a slightly revised Beach to Boulders course. Lap lengths ran 3.75 miles (Middle School) to 5.5 miles (High School) on a loop featuring a new cyclo-cross style section implemented to recover the mileage swallowed up on what used to be Lake Perris’s lower beach. The section was a big hit with the spectators, who turned out in droves, but it also made for some interesting racing as riders strove to catch their seemingly not so far away competitors through three 180 degree switchbacks. Outside of the infield things were just as typically inspiring of head down pedal mashing apart from the many snow capped peaks in nearly every direction who’s beauty sought to distract just about anybody who dared look up.

It was a beautiful weekend for racing and quite possibly the best the league has ever seen at the venue. Hundreds gathered to watch as a steady stream of riders rolled through the finish, into the arms of friends and teammates, disappearing into a sea of colorful tents that resembled a small city. Everyone seemed to just be having a blast from the racers, to the kids hitting a pinata, to the folks who showed up to join our GRiT Ambasadors for a bit of yoga. I think everyone was just happy to be out with the rest of their SoCal League family for such a great weekend of racing and that’s the feeling we hope to bring back in just a few short weeks when the league head to Vail Lake for race number two.

Brandon La Rue
Associate League Director
SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League

 

Anyone who has ever been to a SoCal League race knows that there is far more going on than just racing. If you have ever read a race report you probably already know that 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 however we are taking a different approach and trying to capture a bit clearer image of what it’s like to be a high school or middle school student athlete at a SoCal League event. So we’ve asked that riders share stories with us about things they experience on race weekend so that we can share with you. We have decided to name this section “Tales From The Dirt Zone” and we hope to feature at least three per race report.

Our first story ever comes to us from Ryan Herrera of Ramona East County Composite who wants to share with some details from his race as well as a few important take-aways to think of when facing experiences like his last weekend.

Photo Credit: Ryan Herrera

Ryan –
I was certainly nervous going into the first race of the season although I knew a lot of others were nervous as well. I however was especially nervous because I had crashed last year and broke my jaw. After a year of getting my confidence back, training hard, and getting set for this year I knew I was ready to race my heart out.

BOOM!!!

We’re all on our start, some of us had started sprinting, even though they told us not too, we still did. Yes, I will admit I did it too. I knew I had to get to the lead pack to have a solid spot throughout the race and I knew I had the power, so halfway through the main climb I took out the front and started to pull away, leading into the downhill. In my mind I was thinking “YES, I have the courage and YES, I have the will power,” and look where it had gotten me, I was leading the downhill and I wasn’t killing my legs. After the downhill, the lead group and I were going through the beach and I had moved to the middle of the pack to conserve some energy. We all made the turn up onto the pavement that leads to the Feed Zone and then something unfortunate happened. A fellow rider, without calling his pass, cut in front of me and I didn’t have my fingers near my brakes. I went down hard! I was scrapped up, starting to bleed, and I got freaked out from it all happening. It took me a moment to regain a grip on everything but I did it. I got back on my bike and I needed to finish what I started.

Throughout the rest of the race I couldn’t shake the pain in my arm, from getting scrapped, and it made me want to just quit. I knew I couldn’t though because I had a lot of people believing in me. Not believing that I would win or anything, they believed I could conquer the course, and I did. I caught back up to 12th place and I finished the race. Yes I was a little bummed that I had crashed but I was happy I had finished, even if I didn’t show it at first.

Racing is hard. There is no hiding that. It takes a lot to compete. But one of the greatest things that every rider should have, is total positivity. Being positive the whole time and trying to wear a smile, will serve so well in the end. It will leave you feeling happier than when you started. Following positivity comes perseverance. No matter how hard it feels or how much you want to quit, when you keep persevering, the positivity does, in fact, come with it, you just need to give it time to set in.

I went out and I did the best I could with all the obstacles that were thrown in my way and I would encourage everyone in their own way to do what i did and make the best of their situation, no matter if it’s one of the best or worst moments of their life. We will all end up in both at one point and for my fellow riders, when you fall or get knocked over or you don’t have the day you want remember… Get back up, dust it off, get back on your bike, and never stop pedaling.

Our next submission comes to us from from Heleena Fisher who rides for Beaumont High School and has a story about the type sportsmanship and kindness we hope to see from all of our ridership.

 

Photo Credit: Heleena Fisher

Heleena-
This is my fifth year racing in the SoCal League and as of this season I am a female racer in the JV2 category.

As I arrived on race day to Lake Perris, I grew more and more anxious. I was excited to cheer on my team and see how this first race would turn out. As my start time neared, nervousness took over. However, as I recognized some familiar faces of racers from other teams (now friends) from previous years, I started to grow more confident.

Queue the race start and up the fire road we went, starting to become strung out. I notice my friend from Rim of the World is not to far ahead and this begins the start of our race, drafting back-and-forth. After passing the finish line to begin my second lap, and after passing the zigzag section there was a perfect area to drink water, unless you are me…”butterfingers”. My bike only holds one bottle, and right before I took a drink of water, I droped my bottle, with the rest of the second lap ahead of me. A little frustrated with this, I missed a turn of the course and had to stop and correct myself to continue the race. All as this is happening, my friend from Rim of the World, Kacy Johnson, catches up. A few sighs of frustration are let out and she, only having one bottle as well, hands it to me.

As the race continued, along with the exchange of drafting, the finish eventually comes into sight and is only one turn away. She enters the area first, me following closely behind her tire. This is the moment. The sprint to the finish. All the sounds around me became muffled, as the only things that mattered at that moment were exerting any energy left and getting to the finish line. Sprint. Breathe. Push. Those were the only thoughts running through my head. Both of our wheels cross the line, neither of us knowing who beat who right at that moment. Our hearts were pounding but there were smiles across both of our sweat covered faces.

It was quite an experience, and I am very grateful to have had such a tough, yet very kind competitor. I am beyond grateful for the kindness she showed during the race, even though she didn’t have to. I love racing with these ladies! They are resilient and kind.

Our final story from Beach to Boulders was provided by Raulito Gutierrez who rides for Great Oak High School. Raulito wanted to share a quick synopsis of his race but in doing so he also provided some insight about what it’s like to be one of the few at the front. Sometimes a whole race comes down to just one moment.

 

Photo Credit: Rualito Gutierrez

Raulito-
I was super excited to start my last season as a middle schooler racing against fifty plus fast riders in the Level 3 Boys class. I had a second row placement for the start of this race. I knew from the past, that you must race Perris like a road race (which is not my thing, but it was a good experience). You have to make sure to stay in the front group and in the draft.

After the first lap, a group of ten of us broke away and we settled in with a good pace. The next two laps seemed very easy, as nobody was trying to attack. We where literally talking among us, that was funny. I knew the race was going to come down to a sprint in the last few yards. I was making sure I had a good position in the group and to be alert of any attacks.

Coming down the beach on the last lap, a rider moved to my right, as soon as he was moving to my side, another rider attacked and I believe that split second that I had to move around to get some room, cost me the race. I was able to catch a couple of the riders that broke away but came just short for a third place a few seconds back. I know this course doesn’t suit me very well, so I’m very happy to have been on the podium at this race. Congratulations to my friend Corbin from Murrieta Mesa for the win.

That concludes our Tales From the Dirt Zone for this time around but we would love to hear more of your stories following our future events. Submissions are due the Wednesday after each event and may be sent to brandon@socaldirt.org along with a photo of your choosing.

 

Upcoming Events:

Mar 16-17: Vail Lake Challenge at Vail Lake presented by Around the Cycle

Mar 30-31: Victory at Vail presented by Haro Mountain Bikes

Apr 27-28: Cruise the Keys at Keysville

May 11-12: Intergalactic Finals at Tehachapi presented by Specialized

May 18-19: California High School State Championships at Tehachapi
presented by Hyperthreads

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 national lead sponsor Trek Bicycles; major sponsors Shimano, Clif, Specialized, Salsa, Giro Podiumwear and QBP; league level sponsors Haro Mountain Bikes, Hyperthreads, Jax Bicycle Center, Jenson USA, and Kenda.


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