McConneloug at the front of the CrossVegas field earlier this year. © Larry Rosa Photography
BERKELEY, CA – Cycling aficionados are invited to the eighth annual NorCal CycleFest, the Bay Area’s cycling social event of the season. Held November 6-7 at the Mill Valley Community Center, this year features two-time Olympian and national champion, and Fairfax native Mary McConneloug as the special guest. This two-day gathering is the main annual fundraiser for the NorCal High School Cycling League, the organization that led to the formation of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.
The weekend starts on Saturday evening with a cocktail hour with Mary at the Mill Valley Community Center. Then comes a silent auction and gourmet dinner, which is followed by on-stage conversation with Mary and her pro racer husband Michael Broderick. A live auction with some incredible lots, to follow. On Sunday, Mary leads a limited-entry ride of 25 mountain bikers on some of Marin’s finest off-road cycling trails.
McConneloug said, “It is an honor to speak at the NorCal CycleFest. This is very much a home audience for me, and it’s impressive to see the remarkable growth in high school cycling in California during the past decade. Now the NorCal program is producing national team members! I cannot think of a better way than the high school leagues to develop mountain biking, and, of course, I cannot think of a better sport for young people to be embarking on. This sport and the League hold so much for the future of cycling.”
McConneloug, who races for the KENDA/Seven/NoTubes team grew up in Marin County and, while riding a mountain bike in her youth, didn’t start racing until she moved to Seattle and was introduced to the sport by a friend. Had the NorCal League been in place back then, Mary’s career might have started several years earlier. As it was, she specialized in opera singing and was on course for a career as a stage performer before discovering her bicycle racing talent.
Since then she has formed a small, close-knit team with her husband with whom she has traveled extensively, living for nine months out of each year in a camper-van and competing all over the world on a budget that is tiny compared to most major teams. Her racing career has yielded places for Mary in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, two U.S. Champion titles, and a regular spot on the US national team at the world championships. There’s not much Mary doesn’t know about traveling the international mountain bike racing circuit.
Mary McConneloug will make a rare public speaking appearance at CycleFest. This will be an opportunity to hear her insights into the peripatetic life of a pro rider as well as her thoughts on the past, present and future of mountain biking in the USA. Her attendance at the 2010 NorCal Cyclefest will be a big help in hitting the $60,000 fundraising target.
The Cyclefest schedule is as follows:
Saturday, November 6th :
5:00 p.m. Patron Cocktail Hour
6:00 p.m. Doors open and silent auction
7:00 p.m. gala dinner
7:30 p.m. student athletes speak
7:45 live auction
8:15 Mary McConneloug is introduced and moderated conversation with Mary and Mike, followed by Q& A.
Sunday, November 7th:
11:00 a.m. supported mountain bike ride for 25 joining Mary McConneloug on some of Marin’s finest trails.
Proceeds from the ticket sales go to supporting the Northern California High School Cycling League, so be sure to purchase one for your friend/spouse/partner too! Regular tickets are $150.00, and Patron tickets, which include the cocktail hour with Mary, are $200.00. Tickets for Sunday’s ride are $50 and will be issued to the first 25 applicants. All tickets are available online at http://norcalmtb.org/.
What: NorCal High School Cycling League CycleFest, Cycling celebrity, silent and live auctions at the Bay Area’s two-wheeled social event of the year.
Where: Mill Valley Community Center, 180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley, California
When: November 6th, Cocktail Party; Gala Dinner; November 7th, Ride.
Who: Two-time Olympian and national champion, Mary McConneloug
Why: Benefit for the Northern California High School Cycling League.
About the NorCal High School Cycling League
The NorCal High School Cycling League, founded in 2000, is a non-profit organization open to students from both public and private schools. The League provides coaching and camaraderie to help students achieve both competitive and non-competitive cross-country mountain biking goals and comprises the easiest route for youth to get involved in the challenging and exciting world of competitive cycling. Each season includes a fall Leader’s Summit for coaches, winter riding camps, the five-race series, and a variety of summer camps. The League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities as well as generous donors and sponsors including the founding sponsor of the SoCal League, Easton Foundations; the founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components, as well as SRAM, Trek Bicycles, Clif Bar and Co., Fox Racing Shox, Creation Engine, GU Sports, Mike’s Bikes, NCNCA, Primal Wear, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Shimano, Touchstone Climbing Gyms, Mellow Johnny’s, CamelBak, Dirt Rag, Feedback Sports and Mountain Bike Action. For more information on the League visit www.norcalmtb.org or call 510.524.5464.