SoCal Dirt :: High School Race #1

Former SoCal League riders Zach Valdez (Hemet High School), JC Goldsmith (Hemet High School) and Mareck Mitchell (Royal High School) will join their Alma Maters for the first race of the SoCal High School Cycling League this Sunday, March 6, 2010 at Vail Lake in Temecula, California. Riders will race for points for their High School and individual honors with the ultimate prize being the California State High School Champion jersey– which is new for 2011. As the level of competition increases, it is important that the riders attend all of the races. And while a handful will be highly competitive, the riders who make up the bulk of the League are in it for fun. And fun it should be as the League numbers have increased by leaps and bounds.

Pamela Bogust of Crescenta Valley being cheered on by her team. Photo: Banner Moffat

As the first race of the 3rd season approaches, I gave a call to League Executive Director Matt Gunnell to see what is on tap for the race this weekend.

At the time of the interview, 210 riders were already registered for the first race of the 2011 SoCal High School Cycling League season. Online registration is still open, and a few will likely register on-site. With these kind of numbers, League Executive Director Matt Gunnell expects a few more of the 257 league riders to attend. In it’s first year, the SoCal League opened with 75 riders. Last year, 2010, there were 162 riders and the numbers are only expected to grow.

The big news is that 47 girls are registered for the race, most of these young ladies in their first and second year of high school. The number of “Frosh/Soph” racers has more than doubled in the first race this year over last, from 7 to 18. These numbers are encouraging to Gunnell as these young women will be around for another 3 years to grow with the League.

When asked if running the League and the races is getting any easier, Matt answered with an emphatic “no!”

“I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off right now just getting everything ready for the first race, ” states Matt. As any no-profit goes, the ED is charged with the lion’s share of the work, attending to details and ensuring the race goes off safely with the fun level at maximum. Apart from the nitty gritty of race radios, cones and safety vests, the League has a new online registration system. “It will make things a lot easier. There are a lot of growing pains bringing it all online. But it is beneficial for coaches to manage their kids.” As with any new technology, it will, eventually make life easier.

The fast girls. Photo: Roman Krajewski

Technology is key as the League grows. In its first year there were 14 registered teams. In 2010 there were 19 registered and 2011 adds 7 new teams for 26 registered teams in the Southern California region. The number of teams may not feel as big of a deal as it actually is. “The biggest thing’s that’s happening is that we’ve reached a level where we’ve needed to split the race into 3 waves,” due to the number of boys on course. For 2009 and 2010, the girls raced in their own wave, with the boys in their own wave. With the kind of numbers the League is seeing, and with safety as the main priority, the boys will be split into two waves.

That means more volunteer time. Although Matt did dot seem to be worried about having enough volunteers for the first race, he says, ” we’re always looking for volunteers. For this weekend, if people are interested in being course marshall on Sunday, or work at a future race, people can contact me.”

Vail Lake will host the opener for the 3rd season in a row. The weather for this weekend?  “Perfect! The forecast is for high 60s and low 70s with wispy clouds and mainly sun.”

Real Podium Girls. Photo: Roman Krajewski

For more information about the League, to volunteer or sponsor visit the web site

Registered 2011 Teams

Projected Division 1 (D1) teams noted. D1 teams are returning single school clubs with over 12 riders on their roster. All other teams are Division 2 (D2).

  1. Bakersfield Composite
  2. Burroughs High School
  3. Castle Park High School
  4. Channel Islands High School (D1)
  5. Corona Composite
  6. Crescenta Valley Composite
  7. Eastlake High School (D1)
  8. Hart District Composite
  9. Hemet High School (D1)
  10. Manhattan Beach
  11. Murrieta Valley High School
  12. Newport Beach Composite
  13. Northwood High School
  14. Palos Verdes Composite
  15. Ramona High School
  16. Rim of the World High School (D1)
  17. Royal High School
  18. San Gabriel Valley Composite
  19. San Marino High School
  20. Santa Barbara Composite
  21. St. Francis High School (D1)
  22. Warner High School
  23. Webb High School
  24. West San Fernando Valley Composite
  25. Woodcrest Christian High School (D1)
  26. Yucaipa High School (D1)

View Vail Lake Challenge 2011 in a larger map

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