D■ By Mary Ann Morris / Editor
id you know that Hemet High School has a mountain bike team comprised of students from three different high schools? While the team’s successful season is coming to an end, they hope to end it with a bang by competing this weekend in the Southern California High School Cycling League finals in Kern County.
The 12-member team is comprised of six Hemet High students, five Western Center Academy students, and one student hailing from Idyllwild. The team has already competed in four races this season and is currently eighth in its division.
Peter Kirkham, Hemet High mountain bike coach, created the team back in 2008 and the team has made it to state championships since its inception. In 2012, the team placed fifth in the state out of 22 teams. Team members earn points individually and as a team: Freshman and Sophomore girls and boys race two laps, Junior Varsity girls race two laps, Junior Varsity Boys and Varsity Girls race three laps, and Varsity Boys race four laps. Each lap is typically between five to six miles in distance.
Distance races like these require a lot of training so the team practices three times per week for 90 minutes to two hours in the surrounding foothills near Simpson Park. They also take a two to three hour Saturday ride if there is no race scheduled that Saturday.