The recently formed nucleus of the Methow Valley Mountain Bike Team, seventh-graders Graham Sheley, Carter Sheley and Stella Scholz, participated in their first event of the season as part of the Washington Student Cycling League, which conducts races for middle school and high school age kids from around the state.
About 600 cyclists attended the event at Joint Base Lewis-McChord on May 6. Racing categories are based on age and gender. The seventh-graders all rode one 5-mile lap over a hilly, wet and challenging course that was a mixture of single-track and narrow dirt roads.
“It was a learning experience for the kids primarily in that the start of the races are frenetic and challenging, with both the Sheley boys getting caught behind in minor tumbles which slowed their initial progress,” coach Hanz Scholz said. “Both boys put in a valiant effort after essentially starting at the very back of an 80-person race and clawing their way back to respectable 22nd [Carter] and 24th [Graham] places.”
“Stella also found the learning curve steep when she managed to catch the league points leader just as her fellow racer took the wrong turn,” Scholz continued. “She figured it out pretty quickly but not until the rest of the field has passed them by. Stella, too, put in a great performance despite lack of experience and managed to pull herself all the way back to third place and a spot on the podium.”
The next race in the league series is in Roslyn on Sunday (May 20). The following race and the state championships are in Wenatchee on June 3.
Scholz said the team is looking for other like-minded youth mountain bikers in grades six through 12 interested in joining the team. Team members practice three to five times a week. If interested, call Harold Sheley at 996-3167 or Hanz Scholz at 996-4267.