Norcal League season kicks off

The NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League kicks off its eighth annual season Sunday with the Central Coast Invitational at Fort Ord in Monterey and runs for six races through May 18, when it will close with the state championships at Bogg's Mountain, north of Calistoga.

This season, 40 registered teams will bring 450 racers, along with 200 coaches to each race. Traci Kroll (Berkeley High) will return as the top ranked returning varsity rider where she will be joined by Christine Weir (Nevada Union) who last season dominated in the girls Freshman/Sophomore category and Laney Aldridge (Harbor High) last year's top ranked junior varsity girl.

In the varsity boys' category is top ranked Daniel Boyes (Marin Academy), along with Tylor Brandt (Drake High). Nate Byrom (Nevada Union) will be another varsity rider to watch out for, as last year he had a strong showing as one of the first sophomores competing in varsity. Also keep a close eye on top ranked Jon Bennett (El Cerrito High) who will be making his varsity debut in this field of 50 riders. Last year's three "Freshman phenoms" Will Curtis, Jeremy Blalock, and Davis Bentley will also be in the mix after outstanding junior varsity results in 2007.

This season, the league's racers will be racing without caffeine after a recent ban on the use of the substance during League events.

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