The Washington Student League in full swing, first race of the series now in the books - actually a few weeks ago - call me Mr. Slow Blogger. My team, Northshore Middle School Composite, joined the fray with with most of 'em experiencing their first ever race. And not exactly under perfect conditions with rain and temps in the 40s. Wet 'N' Mud-O-Rama.
Middle School (Junior High) boys staged and ready to roll (top pic), my team included. Some of 'em literally shivering after being pre-soaked from the pre-ride one hour earlier. Then away they go, racing away from the start line.
The girls hit the second turn after their start. Great to see these young women get involved with the sport. Girl rocking the skirt and single speed - family has 7 kids and they all race - and they're all really fast. Amazing.
Jack on the left, Dylan in the middle, Andy on the right - three boys from my team in their first ever race. Awesome. Well, first XC race for Dylan - he does have downhill race experience and is quite the bike handler.
Race venue was Fort Steilcoom Park in Lakewood (Washington). Ian and I have been to this site a few times previously, for various mountain bike and cyclocross races. I also assisted at the first Washington high school mountain bike race held here, a few years ago. Now back with a team of my own. Pretty cool, eh?
Another young girl racer out on the course. Fantastic.
My son Ian, rolling along in the rain, also on my team. He found the competition a bit stiffer then expected, not all that different from the usual junior level race.
Teammate Scotty matched his helmet to course tape, how did he know? Scotty very new to mountain biking, now with a race under his belt. Nice job.
Teammate Andy with post race muddy smile, scoring 12th place out of 15 middle school kids. First race and he appeared to have a fun day, despite the weather. He also gets the hard core award - pulling off the pre-ride, race, and afternoon recreational ride on the muddy course. 15 total miles of wet off-road action, in jeans and a sweatshirt to boot.
Teammate Scotty scored 11th place, riding injured added to the fun. Previous day bike mishap scored him a bruised tail bone, but still wanted to race - and that he did - great job.
Teammate Jack in his first ever race experience, rolled in for 7th place. Excellent.
Dylan, downhill racer and expert bike handler, pulls off a 4th place finish in his first XC race. Missed the podium by only one spot. Fantastic ride.
Ian, looking a bit pensive, after his 8th place finish. Solid ride in messy conditions - way to roll - nice job.
Teammate Cormac cruising into the finishing chute. 15th place for the day. Great effort.
Assistant coach Marne gives Ian the post race muddy high five. Great group of kids and adults associated with our team.
Teammate Cormac wearing some of the course - as everyone did.
The fast high school boys give it a whirl, high school kids being broken up into various groups, based on skill and experience. The two boys in blue, Evan and Theo, former teammates of Ian's previous JL Velo junior race team. Very fast high school kids with previous race experience.
Zac, a member of the Northshore high school team, spins the 29ers.
The course, about a 5 mile loop, a mixture of gravel roads and single track.
Mixture of experience and racers found in this program, from total beginners to junior level racers with years of races on their resume. There's a place for everyone.
Sean and Zane, two more boys on my team, elected to ride the recreational event instead of racing. No wrong answers to any of this. All about getting kids on bikes, matching their level of interest. Great stuff.
Our first race day went well, 8 of the 14 students on our team elected to participate - races being optional in the program. Good turn out. All of 'em appeared to have a positive experience, even with the not-so-pleasant weather. It's a blast seeing these kids getting into mountain biking - from basic trail riding to racing - it's all good.