A mountain biking team made up of riders from Scotts Valley and San Lorenzo Valley high schools is having success in its first year together.
The Santa Cruz Mountains Composite mountain bike team has been established by Andrew Cavalletto, the owner of Scotts Valley Cyclesport and Steve Simonovich, the owner of Santa Cruz Pasta Factory for high school riders in the valleys.
The first year team consists of 11 riders in grades 9 through 11 at both area high schools.
“This is our first year and it’s all coming together,” Cavalletto said. “We are young. There are no varsity riders as we don’t have any seniors on the team, but we have already made the podium in a few races.”
The team had its first practice last fall, but began racing in official events this spring.
They race in the Nor-Cal race team league and compete against schools from all over northern California.
“It’s a mad house at the events.” Cavalletto said. “There are over 600 riders at each race, they are separated into several divisions. It is intense.”
The team practices three times a week at differing riding areas in the county including Wilder Ranch, Bear Mountain, Demonstration Forest and the varied hills in the Scotts Valley area.
The team is already showing promise.
In the frosh/soph category, SLV freshman Joe Van Pykren has already won one of the races the team competed in at Granite Bay near Sacramento.
Mitchell Pisciotta, Dylan O’Conner, and Ryan Simonavich have all earned top-15 finishes.
The team’s second race took place on March 25 at Fort Ord in the rain. The team races again this Sunday, March 31 at the Laguna Seca track, starting at 10 a.m.
The racers who qualify in their prospective groups will be invited to the state competition in Las Olivos on May 20 for a five race series.
The team has garnered several local sponsors including Bruno’s BBQ and Easton-Bell Sports. Specialized Bicycles has also helped the riders out with their bikes.
Dylan Arndt is a 13-year-old year old who works out regularly with the team but is not yet allowed to compete until he begins his freshman year.
“It is such a relief for me to have a place and a team where I can practice my sport.” Arndt said. “I don’t really play other sports so this is really important to me.”
For more information: www.scmcycling.com