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California Dirt Mountain Bike Series, Race 3 of 3

By Diego Velarde | Special to The Union
John Seivert Racing in the Men 60+ Cat 2 division. (Photo by Robert Lowe and Mike Oitzman)

The California Dirt MTB Series is a gnarly three race series spread across multiple trail systems in Northern California including Nevada City, Susanville, and Grass Valley. Racers are faced with unique challenges that must be overcome to be victorious. These races are no walk in the park. Plus, the series is the affiliated USA Cycling Regional Mountain Bike Championship for California and Nevada racers to earn USAC points and qualify for USAC MTB Nationals in Winter Park, Colorado.

Each race in the series gets progressively more difficult, ranging from steep cross country (XC) courses to enduro style downhills. Race 3 took place at the Sanchez Ranch adjacent to the Empire Mine State Park on June 26. It was steep and fast. Each lap was 4 miles with over 700 feet of elevation gain. The punchy climbs on that hot Sunday in June took its toll on the racers. Consecutive laps became dustier, hotter, and harder to see. At the end of each lap was the dual slalom, my favorite, because of the high speed and tabletop jump at the end.

Not only will one find challenging courses and stiff competition but comradery as well. The Northern California cross country mountain bike scene is full of youth with amazing talent. Riders are surrounded by athletes from all over Northern California, Reno, and even as far away as Ireland. You will never feel like an outsider. All 123 registered racers shared the passion and support for every racer. The exciting atmosphere brings the best out of everyone. It’s a guaranteed fun day for all.

The California Dirt MTB series is organized by Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County (YBONC). Special thanks to YBONC Founder, Jet Lowe, and the countless volunteers who spend many hours planning and working to make this event possible. With the generous support of corporate and local sponsors, it is one of the organization’s largest fundraisers, supporting local school bike clubs and YBONC’s mission, to get more youth on bikes.

Be sure to look out for the next California Dirt Mountain Bike Series in Spring 2023!

Diego Velarde is a member of Nevada Union MTB Team.

Diego Velarde, NUHS MTB team racing in the Men’s Cat 2 15-18 year olds. (Photo by Robert Lowe and Mike Oitzman)

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