Whole Athlete junior development team targets Fontana Pro XCT

The Marin County-based Whole Athlete Cycling Team is traveling to Southern California this weekend to build upon its successes at the Triple Crown opener in Bonelli Park a few weeks ago. There, the team took second through sixth in the junior category-one division.

In a variation on the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" theme, the winner of Bonelli park, Zach Valdez, has since joined the Whole Athlete team and is looking forward to his first race as a member of the squad.

The team is on something of a roll in recent weeks with Will Curtis having taken his second consecutive Varsity win in the NorCal High School MTB League while Whole Athlete juniors took six of the top-10 Varsity boys spots. Not to be outdone, on the female side of the squad, Victoria Yoham and Sofia Hamilton took second and fifth in the girls Varsity, and Kate Courtney won the Junior Varsity categories.

Fontana will mark the return to the dirt of Under 23 pro rider John Bennett, who has been focusing on competing as a category 2 road racer. He recently won his overall classification at the San Dimas Stage Race after winning the time trial and finishing second in the circuit race.

In just its third season, the Whole Athlete junior develpment program continues to be supported by the non-profit Velo Development Foundation, and is building momentum while staying true to its core principles of fun, integrity, and a balanced integration of sports into the busy lifestyles of modern teens.

Eighteen young athletes and three mentors will make the trip south in rented passenger vans, and the team is particularly excited to put their new Specialized Epics to the race test.

"It's a lot of fun and highly motivating to work with such a dedicated group of young riders," said team founder and director Dario Fredrick, who is also a current Masters national mountain bike champion.

The team plans on repeating its trip to mountain bike nationals in Granby, Colorado, again this year, following an altitude acclimitization camp at Lake Tahoe. The team, which is registered for the first time this year as a UCI trade team, will also compete at the UCI World Cup Finals in New York.

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