Race #2 | Rattlesnake Roundup

Hidden Valley Regional Park, Reno NV
September 17th, 2017

As I shuffle across the gravel and sand of the desert floor, I look up to see thin, high clouds painted on a pale blue sky.  To the east, stark, sharp-edged hills rise from the scrub.  My mind holds only one thought – I want to be a cowboy!  This is mustang country, and I want one.  Rattlesnakes be damned, I ache for a pair of Tony Llamas, a Stetson, and a bucking bronc.  I want the cowboy adventure – the challenge of the roundup, the loneliness of the range, the magical moment when, through commitment, pain, and adrenaline, the hidden becomes obvious, the difficult becomes effortless, and the tangle of connection between all things physical and sacred becomes apparent.

I look around to see I’m surrounded not by cattle, but by mountain bikes, not by cowboys and cowgirls, but by high-school and middle-school students, and I realize that these young men and women, here in cowboy country, are about to embark on a 21st century version of the cowboy adventure – metal broncos beneath them, helmets instead of Stetsons, cleated shoes instead of boots.  The trappings are different, but the journey is the same – commitment, adrenaline, a little bit of pain, and the opportunity for serious self-discovery.  The warming sun makes the choice between short-sleeves and sweatshirt difficult. Over the loud-speaker comes an airy falsetto – Galena student Nai’a Selby masterfully taking her time with a beautifully emotive version of our national anthem, a perfect way to begin any adventure, cowboy or not.  Race starter Kevin Joell lines up the high-school girls, and the first broncos of the day speed off.

I realize that these young men and women, here in cowboy country, are about to embark on a 21st century version of the cowboy adventure – metal broncos beneath them, helmets instead of Stetsons, cleated shoes instead of boots.

The varsity girl’s race may have been represented by only two riders, but points leader Mya Dixon has proven to be a powerhouse over the last couple of seasons.  Even so, it took a strong effort for her to hold off hard-charging Galena High teammate Mikaela  Echo who finished second by less than 30 seconds.  On the JV side, Galena’s Emma Herschbach took first with a dominating performance to move into a tie for the season points’ lead with Kate Indart, also of Galena, who took second place for the day.  Third place went to Wooster’s Adelaide Crow.  The girls’ sophomore race was won by Mammoth’s Sasha Mueller, with Reno High’s Addy Armon taking second.  In a tight race for the freshman girls, Wooster’s Abby Swall took the victory by 7 seconds over Truckee’s Ciara Wing.  Paloma Nolan-Bowers took third.

Galena kept up its winning ways when Emily Cutler took the Middle school girls’ title, followed by Incline Village Composite’s Lainey Lowden and Madison Racich.  The middle school boys’ crown was taken by Jake Westfall of Mammoth, followed by two Truckee riders, Reed Loper and Aidan Gustafsson.  The advanced middle school girl’s division was won by Truckee’s Hayden McJunkin.  Points leader Hope Crockell of Placer Foothills Composite was second and Elsa Harrison of Carson was third.  On the boys’ side for advanced middle-schoolers, points leader Matt Seline of Truckee took the win, with Khy Kinsey and Travis Boucher, both of Placer Foothills Composite, taking second and third.

The freshman boys provided fans with an exciting race; the top 3 racers all finished within 20 second of each other.  The win was taken by Galena’s Sam Evans, just 3 seconds ahead of teammate Lucas Miers.  Luca Robillard of Truckee was third.  The sophomore boys’ win went to independent rider Cody Bishop.   In a close race for second, Zane Frey of Damonte Ranch High School edged out Axton Albrecht of Mammoth, who finished third.

The closest race of the day went to Alta Alpina Composite’s Justin Kinser who won the JV boys’s race.  Justin and second place rider Sam Ouzounian of Galena spent 4 tough laps riding together.  Kinser lept ahead of Ouzounian near the end of the last lap and held Ouzounian off for the one second victory.   Ried Indart finished third.  In the varsity boys’ race, Galena’s Matt Nugent put on a dominating display, finishing almost 5 minutes ahead of second place Drew Swall of Reno.  Third place went to McQueen High School’s Blake Shane.

For the Nevada League’s next race, we head high, high, high into the eastern Sierra, a favorite stop for all of our racers, coaches, and families.  Until then, happy trails!

Your race reporter –  Chris

Complete event results of all the amazing athletes who participated in the “Roundup” can be found at http://my1.raceresult.com/82033/

We meet again in Mammoth, home of high-altitude trails and bright bright blue skies, for the High Sierra Showdown on October 1st.  Until then, ride on!