NorCal dinner raises US$60,000 for high school racing

Mountain bike lovers gather in Marin County, California

Nearly 250 supporters of the Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League shared a meal during the 2009 CycleFest, an annual fundraiser which included a silent auction and Garmin-Slipstream director Jonathan Vaughters at the Mill Valley Community Center in Marin County, California on November 7.

According to League founder and executive director Matt Fritzinger, more than US$60,000 was raised through the silent auction, live auction (which included a Specialized road and mountain bike valued at a combined US$8,800), and patron dinner ticket sales. Procycling and Cyclingnews.com contributor Bruce Hildenbrand was the master of ceremonies in front of a crowd which included mountain bike pioneers Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, and Steve Potts. Current mountain bike racers Mark Weir and Yuri Hauswald, plus BikeRadar contributor and 'A Dog In A Hat' author Joe Parkin and his fiancee, NorCal League board member and Fox Racing Shox marketing manager Elayna Caldwell also enjoyed the festivities.

Two of Vaughters' Garmin-Slipstream road pros, Lucas Euser and Steve Cozza, are NorCal League graduates and were also in attendance. Long-time NorCal League supporter Freddie Rodriquez (Rock Racing) was mingling with patrons as well.

Two standout NorCal League racers, Marin Catholic's Victoria Yoham and Oakland Composite's Ryan Potter, spoke eloquently in front of the crowd about their positive experiences racing with the League. Also in attendance were SoCal League director Matt Gunnell and Colorado High School Racing League director Kate Rau. Fritzinger recently announced the formation of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, a national governing body for high school mountain bike racing across the United States.

After dinner and a live auction, Vaughters and CycleTo.com owner Bob Cullinan shared the stage for a question-and-answer session. Cullinan didn't pull any punches, asking Vaughters point-blank about Bradley Wiggins, Alberto Contador, and 'that Tour de France Stage 14 thing with George Hincapie'. To view more event photos from Sol Gutiérrez, click here.

The next morning, 120 road riders kitted up to join Vaughters, Euser and Cozza for a conversationally-paced ride from Kentfield to Point Reyes and back, a 45-mile fundraising ride for the League. Last year's event guest was Santa Rosa resident Levi Leipheimer, and both rides were organised by the Marin Cyclist's Club. To view more ride photos from Pamela Palma, click here

Former road and mountain bike pro Bob Roll will be the guest speaker at the SoCal League fundraising dinner on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on November 21. Special guests include endurance racer Pau Sawicki, multiple World Cup and World Champion gravity racer Brian Lopes, and cross country racer Sid Taberlay. Tickets are still available here.

Fritzinger is expecting as many as 575 students from 35 teams to compete in the 2010 NorCal League season. He founded the League in 2001.

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