EL DORADO HILLS — Fourteen year-old state champion mountain bike racer Ashley Albor didn’t own the bike she used to win in the sport she’s a relative newcomer to.
Albor’s remarkable accomplishment topped a field of 24 riders. Her score, combined with three others, also led to a title for the Spartans High School Mountain Bike Composite team, a first-year offshoot from the Oak Ridge Trojan High School Mountain Bike Team.
Under the direction of head coach Mark Ferry, the upcoming season, which starts Oct. 15, will be the Trojans’ fourth competing in the High School NorCal Cycling League. Last year, league requirements with respect to team size forced a split with the Trojan program: those who go to Oak Ridge High, those who didn’t.
Ferry’s aim is inclusive. He’d like nothing more than to see participation continue to increase for the club sport. His goal within 10 years is for every school to field a team.
“We’re not just an Oak Ridge team. Whether it’s Ponderosa or Union Mine, we want to help any kid (get into the sport),” Ferry said. “You don’t even have to own a bike … we will put you on a bike and make that happen. All we ask is that you show determination, commitment and go to practices.”
Albor, a Casa Roble student, is an example of one who gave mountain bike racing a try as a “scholarship” rider on a team-issued bike. Now a state champion, she also took first at the Sea Otter Classic for her division and then at Nationals in Idaho, placed third in Cat 3 girls 15-16. At Nationals, Oak Ridge’s Zack Skaley was second and Brett Maur third.
With Albor a top girl’s point earner, the Spartans won every league race before their composite score at the state finals in Los Olivos out-pointed second-place Woodcreek of Roseville. The Trojans, competing at Division I, were led by Aleck Crofoot’s 11th place finish and came in 17th.
At last year’s state finals, Oak Ridge placed second at the Division II level behind Woodcreek, the team the Spartans edged out for this year’s championship.