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Sierra Nevada Racing Series set to begin Saturday

By: Nick Pecoraro/Telegraph Correspondent
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With the rapid growth of high school cycling teams in the Sierra foothills, county officials have decided to give the green light for a local racing series.

Jan. 22 will kick-start the first of five mountain bike events in the inaugural Sierra Nevada High School Racing Series at the National Short Track Course at Granite Beach. More than 200 racers from Folsom, Vista del Lago, Oak Ridge, Placer, Oakmont, Nevada Union, Woodcreek, Sacramento Waldorf, Burbank and Union Mine are expected to compete for points in the NorCal Cycling League.

Folsom High School cycling coach Jason McMillen is a main advocate in bringing this kind of event to Northern California.

“We’ve had a team (at Folsom) since 2007 that has raced in regional series for the NorCal Cycling League, and the competition has been intense,” said McMillen, whose team has grown from seven members in 2007 to more than 40. “The Folsom Park and Recreation Department has been really supportive of area cycling, and it has grown enough to where now we can have our own local series.”

McMillen attended a Folsom Athletic Association meeting last summer and learned youth soccer leagues in the area have more than 3,500 participants.

“I thought that if I could just get 350 kids, 10 percent of what soccer gets, that it would be a great event,” McMillen said.

McMillen and other area coaches convinced promoters to put on a series.

“I hope to have fun during these races, and the way Sierra league is set up, I can compete in this league and gain experience plus race in the NorCal league like previous years,” said Kyle Luther, a Folsom team member who McMillen praised as one of his top racers.

Registration is open to all high school-age students, regardless of experience.

The series will continue with cross-country races Feb. 5 and 19 in Granite Bay before concluding the weekend of March 11-13 at Rodeo Park in Folsom.

For more information, visit www.sierranevadamtb.org.