Oakland, California's cowbells will be rung loudly by parents, coaches, and cycling fans alike Sunday, May 20 to cheer on the high school teams that compete at the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League's State Championship and Series Final. Starting in early March, this six-race series began in Monterey and has seen tremendous growth of new teams and tight competition across eight boys' and girls' categories.
Each race this season, at locations including Grants Ranch and Folsom Lake, has been a unique test of skill and endurance. While some riders preferred flat and fast, other prevailed on the courses with major hill climbing, and still others found their glory in the slick mud at Angels Camp. Both the team and individual competition will come to a head on the longest and most rugged course of the season at Boggs Mountain Demonstration Forest north of Calistoga.
Division I has been dominated by the Miners (Nevada City) led by the stellar performances of Sarah Ely who's been undefeated this season and also Nate Byrom, the League's first sophomore to compete at the varsity level.
Miners Coach, Jason Moeschler said, "The final race is the most suitable course to our kids' riding styles, and they all know that. The kids are amped to make an attempt at winning finals. Harbor High School (Santa Cruz), has been at their heals all season long, but a start line mishap shuffled the results at the last race giving reigning State Champs Drake High School a renewed taste for victory."
Jesse Nickell, coach of the nascent Division I Harbor High team commented "We have had an awesome season so far and I could not have asked for more from our small power house team. Everyone has been riding at their best and I am proud of them all. Both Berkeley High and Los Gatos High have also been coming into great form and should be watched closely."
In Division II, the Calvary Chapel Warriors have gone undefeated all season long as Nick Kintz made an incredible come back after breaking his collarbone on a December training ride. Coach Mark Kintz said the Boggs course "has heaps of variety and a whole chorus of strategic risks and opportunities" and will have to watch out for Sierra Foothill Composite (Colfax) and Tamalpais High (Mill Valley) who have also been on the podium all season long and hoping for a State Championship title.