Race #1 | North Tahoe Challenge

North Tahoe High School
August 28th, 2016

Tahoe put on its best face for the first-ever Nevada League mountain bike race. Over 150 riders, from as far away as Mammoth and as close as Tahoe City, descended upon the world-class trails adjacent to North Tahoe High School for the Tahoe Challenge. They were met by bright blue skies, perfect racing temperatures, and more than just a couple of yellow jackets! But other than a few run-ins with one of Mother Nature’s questionable species, the Nevada League’s first race was an unqualified success. A friendly and supportive vibe buoyed nervous riders before their races, and supported tired and satisfied riders afterwards. Parents, grandparents, coaches, friends, teachers, and the community at large all came together to create an amazing experience for our middle and high school students. Mother Nature herself, perhaps feeling bad about all of the yellow jackets, helped out with a little rain a few days before the race, keeping the decomposed granite soil of Tahoe from becoming full-fledged moon dust.

Parents, grandparents, coaches, friends, teachers, and the community at large all came together to create an amazing experience for our middle and high school students.

The course itself was beautiful, with a finish line reminiscent of an Olympic mountain bike race and plenty of viewing opportunities for fans. Races ran so smoothly that it was hard to believe this was the inaugural Nevada League event. Representatives from NICA, the national organization of which the Nevada League is a part, were on hand all weekend, guiding the Nevada League’s launch. Their presence certainly helped the event become such a success. But most of the credit must go to league founder and director Doug Bedient who has worked incredibly hard for years to make high school and middle school mountain biking in our area a reality. Thanks Doug! Post-race, volunteerism reined supreme as parents and coaches from all of the participating schools jumped in to help clean up the venue before the awards ceremony. From the bottom to the top, everybody involved with this fantastic day deserves kudos!

The races themselves began with the middle school girls. Seventh grader Astrid Crow of the Reno Composite team nipped Ciara Wing of Truckee High School with Astrid’s teammate, Abby Swall, taking the 3rd spot on the podium. The middle school boys raced in two separate groups. The lower division of the middle school boys raced two laps of the course, while the advanced middle school boys completed three laps. Truckee’s Matt Seline finished just ahead of Mammoth’s Aidan Le Francoise, with Matt’s teammate Jake Solberg finishing 3rd in the lower division. Two Placer Foothills Composite racers, Khy Kinsey and Travis Boucher, took the top two spots for the advanced middle school boys with Truckee’s Finn Loper hot on their heels for third.

On the high school side, freshman girls Mya Dixon of Galena, Lily Bradley of North Tahoe, and Emma Herschbach went 1-2-3, while in the sophomore girls race, the top three were Mikaela Echo of Galena, Adelaide Crow of Reno Composite, and Taylor Jenkins of Carson High. Truckee High proved its mettle once again in the girls JV race with a victory from Syra Fillat. North Tahoe’s Anna Yamauchi wasn’t far behind for 2nd , and Carson High’s Mallory Otto took 3rd . Independent rider Aubrey Milner rode unopposed in the varsity girl’s race, but still put up some strong lap times to earn the victory.

With 27 participants, the freshman boys group was the biggest of the day – boding well for the future of the Nevada league! Taking 500 points for the victory was Galena’s Sam Ouzounian, followed closely by Incline Village Composite’s Ryan Herhusky and Reno Composite’s Crispin Hilliard. The sophomore boys winner and new points leader was Shane Swigard. Tobin Mcrae of Carson High was second about a minute behind, and North Tahoe’s Andrew Bourke and Nathan Gracey were 3rd and 4th respectively. The JV race was nip and tuck the whole way, with close friends Drew Swall of Reno Composite and Matthew Nugent of Galena High battling it out. At the end, Nugent took the well-earned victory.

The boys varsity race was also hotly contested. Alta Alpina Composite’s Danner Hillman led the first two laps with Galena High’s Austin Smith just behind. Cooper Anderson of North Tahoe lurked 30 yards behind. Anderson charged up the “Purple Trail” climb to pass both Hillman and Smith on the last lap. Nevada League fans screamed for their favorite as these three young men fought for the victory. It wasn’t until the last climb that Smith was able to surge ahead to claim the win, followed closely by Anderson and Hillman. An exciting first Nevada League boys’ varsity race, to be sure!

Complete event results of all the amazing athletes who conquered the “Challenge” can be found at http://my4.raceresult.com/60297/

On Saturday, September 10th , the Ironhorse Roundup will convene at Hidden Valley. Wild horses will be our guides through the chaparral in the hills above Reno as the Nevada League comes to life again in its second incarnation. Moving from the granite dust, tall trees, and mountain air of Tahoe, riders will tackle the terrain of the high desert – a different, but welcome challenge. Who will be victorious is not yet decided, but what is certain is that the good vibrations of the event, the amazingly supportive parents and coaches, and the sportsmanship and good will of the competitors will be on display. We are all proud of the success of the Tahoe Challenge, and excited to see that success continue at the Ironhorse Roundup. Ride on!

Next Up – Ironhorse Roundup – Reno, NV – September 10th

Special thanks to North Tahoe High School for hosting our inaugural Nevada League event and Olympic Bike shop for providing technical support for all participants. Along with the regional land managers, setup and race day volunteers, including our onsite medical staff, we were able to come together as a community to make the race a success. We could not provide these events for our student-athletes without your support. Now stop reading this and go riding. Until next week…

Doug Bedient
League Director