High school bike racing, especially mountain biking, is exploding in California. High school cyclocross racing in Oregon is also picking up, and readers of Cyclcross Magazine’s Issue 11 have read our highly-acclaimed feature article on cycling legend Greg LeMond and his  strong vision of how cyclocross can play a major role in getting youth into cycling.  Northern California is leading the way with its high school mountain bike league.  Full press release below.

Record year and continuing growth causes split into north and south regional prologue events

BERKELEY, Calif.–Excitement is growing within northern California schools as a record 600+ high school mountain bikers from 60 institutions across the region eagerly await the opener of the six-event 2011 Northern California High School Cycling League season, which begins February 27 with two prologue events.

One of the prologues is for northerly schools, and the other for southerly schools in the NorCal region. These will be held at Granite Bay and East Garrison (Monterey), respectively.

Both courses feature the flowing single-tracks that have been used in high school mountain biking for several years now, and which students report are fun to ride without going to the extreme.

The NorCal League has grown so large that it will soon be split into regional groups. The divided prologue provides the NorCal League with a test model for this split, which is planned for 2012. Also, it provides a safer introductory race for first year riders since there will be fewer riders in each category, and on the course.

NorCal League executive director, Vanessa Hauswald, said,”I am thrilled about the quality of coaching that our League coaches are providing our riders this year. We have more licensed NICA coaches, co-coaches and volunteers than ever before and this means kids are getting even better mentoring both on and off the bike. I’ve made the time to meet, ride and speak with a number of high school teams this year and all of them seem to be having a great time training and riding together. This positive team spirit that coaches have fostered is what has defined the League thus far, and is what creates a unique and fun racing atmosphere for our athletes.”

Student athletes accumulate points throughout the five-event series, and then in the final reckoning will drop their weakest round from the aggregated score.

Following the NorCal series are the The California State Championships, on May 15th, in Los Olivos. This standalone event includes both the NorCal and SoCal leagues and does not yield points toward the NorCal League series. Riders and teams who place in the top 80% of their fields at any NorCal race will qualify to compete at State Champs.

The complete schedule for the 2011 Northern California High School Cycling League race season is below.

2011 Race Season

Feb. 27 North-NorCal Prologue, Granite Bay, CA
Feb. 27 South-NorCal Prologue, East Garrison (near Monterey)
Mar. 13 Granite Bay Challenge, Granite Bay CA
Mar. 27 TBD (near Monterey)
Apr. 10 Central Coast Invitational, East Garrison (near Monterey)
May 1 Boggs Mountain Classic, near Cobb, CA
May 15 State Championships, Los Olivos, CA

What: 2011 Northern California High School Cycling League race series
Where: Locations around northern California
When: February 27th – May 15th, 2011
Who: NorCal high school students
How: Mountain bikes only

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, El Monte RV and Mountain Bike Action. For more information on the League visit or call 510.524.5464.