Ramos has stellar pro debut as South Shore has good showing in Mammoth
Amber Ramos has always been ahead of her age group.
Since she was a nine-year-old and a second-year competitive rider, Ramos has been riding with much older competitors at NORBA National Mountain Bike events.
So this weekend was not a huge jump for the 14-year-old wunderkind. Down at Mammoth Lakes, Calif., Ramos made her professional debut in the 2001 Chevy Trucks NORBA National Mountain Bike Championship Series Pro Womens STXC Cross Country race.
“I wasn’t too intimidated because I’ve been riding with older women for the last five years,” Ramos said.
Because she had no history as a professional rider, Ramos was ranked 71st out of 71 riders. She wasted little time jumping ahead in the pack, as she finished 24th in the long course and 27th in the short race.
“I just rode my own race,” she said. “I didn’t want to focus on anything else.”
The average age of the women’s professional rider in the race was 30 years old, which puts Ramos well under the mark and easily made her the youngest rider in the field.
The age difference didn’t deter her from quickly picking off riders in front of her. Right out of the gate, Ramos passed three or four riders and clipped a few in her haste to get ahead.
“I clipped a few and almost fell,” Ramos said. “But, I was able to pick up some and pass some of them in certain spots.”
One of those spots was the “No Fear” downhills, a slope so steep, that the majority of the riders end up walking down. Ramos used this to her advantage as she slowly crept down the incline while remaining on her bike.
“I’ve been riding that section for a couple of years now,” Ramos said. “Once you take your foot off or touch the ground, it’s hard to get going again.
“I was lucky enough not to touch the ground.”
Although the winning rider, Mary Grigson of Australia, finished over 17 minutes ahead of Ramos, the majority of the spectators remained to watch the youngest rider in the field to cross the finish line.
Ramos was not the only professional rider from the South Shore. Erik Rasmussen was also competing in the event and finished 27th.
James Clay Cravens came in 10th in the sport mens 25-29 division, while Jim Marino was 22nd in the sport men 35-39 and Jim Wire finished 18th in the sport men 40-49.
Ken Mirrell also raced cross country, finishing third in beginner men 50+ division.
Other women cross country riders were Jill Andelman, who raced in the sport women 30-33, Adi Miro, 10th in sport women 40+ and Debby Thompson, seventh in beginner women.
A number of downhill riders there as well. Matt Mirrell finished first in the Junior Olympic 16 men division, while Kevin Fowler and Lee Collins were 32nd and 39th, respectively, in the expert men 19-24 division.
Paul Tindal and Jon Lovallo raced in the expert men 25-29 and finished 14th and 36th respectively. Andy Hilliard also raced in that division, but had some difficulties.
“It was interesting for my first expert race,” Lovallo said. “The speed I was carrying was pretty surprising.”
Jason Ryland pulled in a16th-place showing in the expert men 30-34 division, while Phil Sorensen finished 12th and Kurt Lundergreen was 16th in the expert men 35-39.
Christina Probert was fourth in her expert women 30-35 race.
A pair of riders from Carson City also had good showing in Mammoth. Brothers Cameron and Howie Zink raced in the junior expert mens division with Cameron finishing seventh and Howie taking 26th.
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