Cycle Dawgs start strong

Ramona High School’s Cycle Dawgs participate in the Vail Lake Challenge in Temecula. From left are Coach Robert Grace, Nick Stemper, Eithen Hatch, Cortlyn Hatch, Colton Long, Kyle Skeen, Wyatt Kent, and Garrett Gaither. Courtesy photo
Ramona High School’s Cycle Dawgs participate in the Vail Lake Challenge in Temecula. From left are Coach Robert Grace, Nick Stemper, Eithen Hatch, Cortlyn Hatch, Colton Long, Kyle Skeen, Wyatt Kent, and Garrett Gaither. Courtesy photo

By Bill Tamburrino

Ramona High’s Cycle Dawgs are off to a fast start. Coach Robert Grace took his team to the Vail Lake Challenge in Temecula for the 2012 season’s first competition and the squad did well.

“High school mountain bike racing is different than any other high school sport,” said Grace. “Some schools have huge teams and some schools only send one racer to an event. Team scores are kept as well as individual statistics, but it is all about improving and getting in shape and having fun. Mountain biking is a lifelong sport. I have been out of high school for a few years now and I still enjoy riding as often as I can. That is what I am trying to sell to the members of the team.”

Garrett Gaither started the season with a top 10 finish. Well over 150 riders were in his heat. Gaither finished ninth in the 22-mile race.

Kyle Skeen took second and missed first place by a spoke (.6 seconds) in a 16.5-mile race. Colton Long experienced mechanical problems and had to exit the race with a broken chain.

Wyatt Kent finished 13th in his heat nd Connor Swan did well in the heat.

Freshmen Eithen Hatch and Nick Stemper took 28th and 30th respectfully in their first competition.

“They led the team in the biggest smiles category,” joked Grace. “Nick told me his goal was just to finish and he came up to me after the race very proud of the fact that he not only finished but he did not finish last.”

The season is young and any student interested in coming out for the team should contact Grace at RHS.

“If equipment is a problem, we have loaner bikes and equipment available,” said Grace. “It is about getting involved and having fun and taking pride in what you can accomplish.”

   
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