Cycling aficionados are invited to the eighth annual NorCal CycleFest, the San Francisco Bay Area's cycling social event of the season, November 6-7 at the Mill Valley Community Center, which this year features two-time Olympian and national champion, and Fairfax native Mary McConneloug as the special guest.
"It is an honor to speak at the NorCal CycleFest. This is very much a home audience for me, and it's impressive to see the remarkable growth in high school cycling in California during the past decade," said McConneloug. "Now the NorCal program is producing national team members! I cannot think of a better way than the high school leagues to develop mountain biking, and, of course, I cannot think of a better sport for young people to be embarking on. This sport and the League hold so much for the future of cycling."
McConneloug, who races for the Kenda/Seven/NoTubes team, grew up in Marin County, and while riding a mountain bike in her youth, didn't start racing until she moved to Seattle and was introduced to the sport by a friend. Had the NorCal League been in place back then, McConneloug's career might have started several years earlier.
As it was, she specialized in opera singing and was on course for a career as a stage performer before discovering her bicycle racing talent.
The two-day CycleFest gathering is the main annual fundraiser for the NorCal High School Cycling League, the organization that led to the formation of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)
The weekend will start on Saturday evening with a cocktail hour with McConneloug at the Mill Valley Community Center. Then will come a silent auction and gourmet dinner, which will be followed by on-stage conversation with McConneloug and her pro racer husband Michael Broderick. A live auction will follow. On Sunday, McConneloug will lead a limited-entry ride of 25 mountain bikers on some of Marin's finest off-road cycling trails.
Since then she has formed a small, close-knit team with her husband with whom she has traveled extensively, living for nine months out of each year in a campervan and competing all over the world on a budget that is tiny compared to most major teams. Her racing career has yielded places in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, two US national championship titles, and a regular spot on the US national team at the world championships.
McConneloug will make a rare public speaking appearance at CycleFest, where she will share her insights into the peripatetic life of a pro rider as well as her thoughts on the past, present and future of mountain biking in the United States. Her attendance at the 2010 NorCal Cyclefest will be a big help in hitting the US$60,000 fundraising target.
2010 CycleFest schedule
Saturday, November 6
5:00 p.m. Patron Cocktail Hour
6:00 p.m. Doors open and silent auction
7:00 p.m. Gala dinner
7:30 p.m. Student athletes speak
7:45 Live auction
8:15 Mary McConneloug is introduced and moderated conversation with Mary and Mike, followed by Q& A.
Sunday, November 7
11:00 a.m. Supported mountain bike ride for 25 joining Mary McConneloug on Marin's trails.
Proceeds from the ticket sales will support the non-profit the Northern California High School Cycling League. Regular tickets are $150.00, and Patron tickets, which include the cocktail hour with McConneloug, are $200.00. Tickets for Sunday's ride are $50 and will be issued to the first 25 applicants.
For more information and tickets, visit norcalmtb.org.