Tuesday, May 26, 2009
2009 State Championships
For those who were able to go to States this year, the experience was fantastic! It's really difficult to explain the sheer scale of the event unless you see it yourself. This was BIG TIME racing with all the bells and whistles from an announcer with a British accent, to a Pit Zone that went on for days, to campers as far as the eye could see, to an interview tent stocked with reporters, to a podium ceremony with hundreds of spectators (see photo above), to....
GUSD was ably represented by racers Weston Weaver, Dillen Maurer, Reilly Pratt, coaches Sean, Dale, and Matt, and Dillen's parents. We had a deluxe campsite (actually, all campsites were pretty similar --- ours was just really close to start/finish) with all the ameneties (including a bag of water hoisted into a tree to shower under).
After a LOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGG drive Saturday (about 9 hours) we set up camp and got on our bikes to pre-ride the course. The course was a fun mix singletrack through the trees (which we don't really get too much of in SoCal), difficult power climbs, and fast fireroad. Though the weather was warm, almost all of the course was in the shade of 100 foot pine trees keeping the direct sun off most of the time. We rode two laps of the 6+ mile course including the second lap with the Newport Composite team. Though we were competitors through the season, it was nice to feel cameraderie with the other SoCal racers as we were a small contingent amongst the nearly 400 NorCal racers. It was great hearing "go SoCal!" That being said, the NorCal folks were VERY welcoming to us. They were genuinely happy to have us there as they can see that as SoCal grows and strengthens, the level of competition throughout the state will grow!
Saturday night the coaches were able to attend a little ceremony where the NorCal and SoCal Leagues were ceremonially joined to form a "State Championships." We were joined when two halves of a California shaped cake were brought together by the NorCal and SoCal Board Presidents. Needless to say, after a day of labor and pre-riding, the cake didn't last long!
Sunday morning we watched what had been a large group of campers grow into a HUGE number of attendees as many riders/supporters of the close in teams arrived on site. The forest was full of brightly clad riders, team tents, and campers of every shape and size. Racing got kicked off with the waves of girls at 10:00. And these were fields of 20, 30, 40 girls! At a little before noon, the Freshmen boys and Sophmore boys fields set off. This alone was 4 fields as there were two fields for each category as NorCal is divided between Division 1 and Division 2 schools. All SoCal teams competed in Division 2 this year. Wesley and Dillen competed in Freshmen boys and Reily competed in Sophmore boys. All three riders rode hard and finished smiling and dusty and excited to come back in 2010!
The third wave was the JV and Varsity boys. There were some VERY fast riders in these fields. And it wasn't only the top 2-3 riders that were fast. The top 20 in every field rode competitive lap times. This is exciting because it shows the depth and level of competition happening in NorCal. Within 3 years the SoCal fields should show similar depth!
After the racing there was a fantastic awards ceremony. The podium was set under a canopy of tall pines and MANY people stuck around to support the winners. After the podium, people dispersed quickly and within 2 hours there were only a few isolated campsites still occupied. As the tradition of the League is to "leave no trace" the forest was left clean and it was hard to tell that hours before there had been over a thousand people camping, riding, racing, and spectating.
See you next year at States!
HERE is a link to the photos Dillen's dad took of the weekend and below are some videos.