Mirell, Ramos win NORBA National titles
South Shore mountain bikers came home from the first Chevy Truck NORBA National Championships in Big Bear, Calif., with two gold medals.
When the dust settled last weekend in the Junior Olympic downhill, Matt Mirell was in first place in the 16-and-under division. The versatile Mirell also showed that he doesn’t need a steep pitch for good results as he pedaled to sixth place in cross country.
The area’s other podium topper was Amber Ramos, who won cross country, dirt short track, point to point and hillclimb to capture the expert women 19-24 King of the Hill title for the second straight year.
“I’ve been nervous before, but this time I was scared just because I hadn’t been riding,” said the 14-year-old Ramos, whose training was reduced by her participation in track and field.
Scott Smith stepped up to the second rung of the podium in the bike trials stock 16-and-under expert class.
In expert cross country racing, Erika Lovejoy nearly cracked into the top 10 with her 11th-place finish in the 30-34 age group. The finish helped her take third overall in King of the Hill.
South Lake Tahoe’s older riders competed in divisions with more participants, making a podium finish very difficult.
Andy Hilliard came the closest, placing sixth in the 25-29 sport downhill division. Kevin Fowler wasn’t far off the mark either, collecting eighth place in 19-24 expert men’s downhill.
Expert downhill was a popular division for locals as Paul Tyndall came in 18th in the 25-29 class and Jason Ryland was 32nd in the 100-plus rider 30-34 division.
“I had a good race run,” Ryland said. “I caught up to the guy in front of me, but I couldn’t pass him.
“It was a new course that made you think about practicing huge jumps. They had a couple of 35-foot gaps that even some of the pros weren’t thinking about doing.”
Christopher Lashley of the South Shore was one of the victims of the double jumps as he broke his left femur during the final practice session. He was care-flighted to Palm Springs Medical Center and will return home shortly.
“We were sad for the guy and all,” Ryland said. “We drove his van home for him.”
In the semipro division, Sean Hawkins was 38th, John Brown 40th and Mike Olsen 70th.
Erick Rasmussen was one of two locals to venture into a pro class, securing 48th in downhill, while Christina Probert didn’t finish.
Gregg Lee placed 18th in the sport downhill 30-34 class.
In sport cross country racing, Clay Cravens was 21st in 25-29; Chris Jackson 27th in 30-34; and Jim Marino 16th for 35-39. Ryan Weibel was 12th in expert men 25-29.
Mary Grigson of Australia and Kirk Molday of Temecula, Calif., won women’s and men’s pro cross country titles. Leigh Donovan of Capistrano Beach, Calif., and Mick Hanna of Australia were the respective champions in dual slalom. Short track cross country titles went to Alison Dunlap of Colorado Springs, Colo., and Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria, British Columbia.
The next NORBA stop is later this month in Deer Valley, Utah.
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