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Shaws back on track
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Sterling Shaw was five when he learned how to ride a bicycle. The Cerean joined the competitive circuit soon after. He quit racing just before his 10th birthday.

“I missed out on a lot of good stuff,” said 11-year-old Sterling. “But my mom is more important than racing.”

“He understood and really didn't say much about it,” said Gina, Sterling's mother. “He knew the money wasn't there because I wasn't working. I was really sick.”

Sterling put his career on hold for more than a year and a half. Gina had complications after giving birth to daughter Amaris. She had four surgeries in less than a year. Gina had a hernia, staff infection and her gall bladder went bad. She was hospitalized after her potassium level dropped.

Sterling made a triumph return to the racing world earlier this year.

He currently ranks first in the 11&under Cruiser (24-inch wheel base) and 11 Expert (20-inch wheel base) classes in the National Bicycle League West Regional Point Series Standings.

Sterling placed first in expert and cruiser in Madera in July and Santa Barbara in May.

He brought home trophies from the Golden State National competition, held in Prunedale, May 21-22. On May 21, he placed first in cruiser and expert. On May 22, he placed first in cruiser and second in expert.

Sterling placed first in cruiser at the California State Series competition in Livermore last August.

Sterling has raced in three American Bicycle Association events this year.

He finished fifth in both the cruiser and expert classes at the ABA World Championships, July 22-24, in Ontario, Calif.

He finished in second twice (expert/open) and fourth once (expert) at the Southwest Nationals, June 11-12, in Albuquerque, N.M.

He finished fourth in the expert and open classes at the ABA Nationals in Roseville on May 29.

Sterling has claimed more than 800 awards during his career.

“I have a lot of medals, trophies and plaques,” he said.

“I got the main stuff at the house,” said Robert Shaw, Sterling's father. “The rest I donated to the Livermore track. They recycle them and use them for the other kids.”

In 2003, Sterling took second at the NBL Western Regional Championship in Boulder City, Las Vegas. He also won the 9&under cruiser and 9 expert class state titles.

In 2002, Sterling captured the ABA California District 10 title. He topped 499 riders. He also earned a spot in the 20,000-point club. Sterling accumulated 21,041 points in the standings. He averaged 400-500 points a week.

“They gave him a jacket,” Robert said. “Only 33 kids in the United States did that.”

Sterling ranked fourth in the NBL Point Series Standings. He won the 8 expert state championship.

Sterling competed for the first time at the national level in 2000. He raced in Reno and Ontario, Calif.

He starred at the local tracks in Modesto, Stockton, Atwater and Livermore in 1999.

“He started off at the beginner level at the Rainbow Fields track,” Robert said. “Within two months, he turned intermediate. When he was six, he turned expert. That's the highest level.”

Sterling is sponsored by Felt Extreme Bicycles.

He signed with the Riverside-based business on May 30. Shaw received a bicycle frame, helmet, gloves, jersey and pants.

“They also pay for entry fees and travel and hotel expenses,” Robert said.

Robert and Gina have put thousands of dollars into their son's racing career over the years. The Shaws spent about $50,000 in 2002. Sterling's younger brother Chance also raced.

“It gets expensive,” Gina said.

Sterling usually competes every weekend.

“I enjoy watching him and being a part of it,” Robert said.

Sterling has a host of hobbies. The Virginia Parks sixth grader likes hanging out with his two-and-half-year-old sister, nine-year-old brother and friends.

“He totally watches out for her,” Gina said. “He teaches her the alphabet, different words and how to count. He also reads with her.”

Sterling also plays other sports. This is his second year playing youth football and soccer.

“He's got that much endurance,” Gina said. “He doesn't stop.”

Added Sterling: “I put an even amount of time in all three of them (racing, football and soccer).”

Sterling had a memorable outing at the NBL state championship on Oct. 9 in Reedley. He finished first in expert and cruiser.

“It was exciting,” Robert said.

Said Sterling: “It's fun going fast. I like jumping. And it's good exercise.” - By DALE BUTLER / Staff reporter of the Ceres (Calif.) Courier