Sierra Nevada High School Racing Series shows that kids love to play in the mud

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Mother nature offered a brief window of dry conditions for Saturday’s Sierra Nevada High School Racing Series event in Granite Bay. The West’s first dedicated USA Cycling mountain bike racing series for school-age kids, the Sierra Nevada High School Racing Series, had a strong turnout despite a major winter storm raging all around the area. The Nevada Union team had to dig out of snow from overnight to travel to the event. While the course drains quickly into Folsom Lake, some of the flatter areas were very wet. Adding to the wet was a very technically demanding course that had many challenging features and a few surprise winners. Some parents were ready with blankets, others had warm drinks and hot chili for when the kids were done having fun in the mud. Riders as young as nine tackled a muddy course that wound through the foothills above Folsom Lake. They all looked the same coming across the finish line with white teeth smiling through muddy faces. The highlight of the day was the number of parents with a muddy imprint on their front from a finish line hug. The racing separated the “technical fit” riders from the “just fit” riders, as conditions spread the field and set up gaps between riders for the first time this season. Jimmy Winne of Woodcreek High continued his early season dominance. His first two wins combined were by a couple of bike lengths. On his home course in some tough conditions, he rode to a convincing victory, shedding Nevada Union riders Mason Bond and Jeremiah Newman in the final lap of the Boys Varsity CAT 1 race. Shayna Powless reestablished her dominance in the Girls Varsity CAT 1 race over Trojans’ Maren Cosens and Victoria Yoham of Marin Catholic. Nathan Murcia completed the Varsity Boys sweep for Woodcreek with his first win in the Boys Varsity CAT 2 over hard charging Lance Ulmer. Amber Pacheco of the Trojans also recorded her first win with a dominating ride ahead of point leader Christa Baker of Nevada Union in the Girls Varsity CAT 2. Highlighting some of the other races of the day, David Canzoneri of Folsom High won the Boys Junior Varsity CAT 3 race in what proved to be the most spirited finish of the day over teammate Tanner Robinson (with whom teammates Dallin and Adam Sevy sung the National Anthem). Hannah Safford, one of the newest riders on one of the newest high school teams, Vista del Lago High School in Folsom, was all smiles after her victory in Girls CAT 3 Novice. On March 11 and 12, the Sierra Series racers will try the Folsom Rodeo Arena Short Track course on Friday night under the lights and then do the Folsom Prison Cross Country Course on Saturday afternoon.