By Kevin Giberson
This past weekend was the first NorCal High School Cycling League cross country mountain biking race with all teams and riders in the same race. There are 750+ registered racers, with 27 teams in our division which usually has the faster riders since we have all the independent racers and composite teams too. We traveled to Granite Bay which is just east of Sacramento for this race, attended the pre-race ride on Saturday afternoon and then had the races on Sunday.
The conditions were very sloppy, with water on the course in many areas, slippery granite slabs, and mud several inches deep across the trail in many areas. The course was fairly flat overall which is not typical of a true cross country course, with some short quick hills, quite a bit of singletrack that made passing difficult, and some very technical areas where riders got backed up and had to slow or even wait when someone ahead of them had trouble. The advantage was to those riders who do not do well on hills and for those with less endurance who could catch up when the trail got backed up by a slower racer.
Despite this unusual course and set of conditions, our team still had very good results for our first full race. The team finished 4th in points out of the 27 teams in our division, and just a few points behind the third place team.
In the Varsity Boys race (combining both Division 1 and 2 for 40 racers) our sophomore racer Jacob Albrecht took 3rd place behind two senior racers. In the JV Boys race Curren Giberson took 2nd place (with the second fastest time of the 107 racers in both Division 1 and 2), and Chase Cummings took 5th place. In the JV Girls race our top female Dominique van den Dries, a sophomore, took 10th place despite a hard crash in the middle of her race in a thick area of sand where she had handlebars into her ribs and broke a wood post into which she fell... ouch. In the Sophomore Boys race Josh Krisman took 4th place, one second behind the finisher ahead of him. New racer Jose Reynado finished 13th in JV Boys in his first ever NorCal race. The team had four podiums out of 11 racers, on a course that was not our favorite and knowing all the remaining courses have plenty of hills on which we excel as a team.
Next up will be the NorCal race at Laguna Seca on March 27, with one very long uphill that our riders are already smiling about. Hopefully we can get out to the course this coming weekend despite all the rain, and worst case we just come back with lots of mud on our bodies and kits. Thanks again to our sponsors, as none of this would be possible without your generosity and support.
You can view more pictures on the Home page of our team website at www.santacruzjcc.com, and better pictures will be posted soon once received from our photographers with higher quality cameras.
Kevin Giberson, Team Director
Santa Cruz Junior Cycling Composite