Thursday, May 24, 2018

California High School State Championships

We got to Petaluma at 3 in the morning on Friday and slept in the car in the parking lot at Dennies. We got up in the morning and got food and went to the race venue. We were the first people there and once we were done setting up we pre-road the course which was basically a field that was mowed and was very bumpy because of the cattle. Overall the course was better than the year before, it still had its ups and downs though. Race day came around and before I knew it race time was an hour and a half away. I did the same warm-up that I always did and when I finished I had a little bit of time to get off the trainer and get over to the line.   
Race time was upon us and we were at the start shoot getting called up, I was the fourth call-up. One minute to go time they said and because of last year, I knew it wouldn't be a full minute. Seconds later, 5,4,3,2,1...GO!! Something amazing happened, I stomped on the petals and immediately clipped in. If you're a fellow rider you know how uncommon it is for this to happen. I let Blake the SoCal leader, go in front and I took the number two spot going into the first climb. We got the group strung out fast and kept going hard all the way up the first climb. Blake started to pull away from me and I tried to go with him but he could hold the long high-intensity efforts longer than I could. Now with Blake off the front and me leading the group up the two and a half mile long climb, we started to settle into a pace. Just as this was happening a NorCal rider launched off the front in an effort to catch Blake. I tried to go with him but he came from the back and by the time he got to the front of the group he was moving to fast and I couldn't get up to his speed fast enough to stay with him. I knew that by this time Blake was too far off the front for the NorCal rider to catch him. We got to the top of the climb and descent into the trees and climbed right back out. The trails by this time where so powdery and every berm was blown out because of all the earlier races. We got to the bottom of the decent and went into the meadow. We went around the outside of the meadow and up to the top where Coach Jason was announcing. We went over the cattle grate, down into the valley, up and around a lonely tree on top of the hill and back down into the valley and to the finish.
The second lap started and people in the group started to make attacks. I stayed with the group the whole time and never let someone get too far ahead. All these attacks thinned out the group to only 6 or 7 riders. One of them got in front of me going into the decent and I couldn't say that I cared too much. I knew he couldn't ride away from me on the descent with the conditions of the trail. We got to the bottom of the decent and into the meadow and nothing exciting happened. We may have switched positioned a couple of times but nothing big. Right at the end of the lap, I heard my dad say not to leave it until the end. He meant don't let it come to a sprint finish.
Going out on the last lap I knew that I had to make a big attack to try to get away from the group. I knew right where I wanted to do it but someone else had a different idea. I was going to wait till the last section of the climb and hold it down the descent to the finish but one of the other riders in the group decided to go in the middle of the climb. Once again I couldn't go with the two riders, so there
I was trying to catch them and gain a bit more time but I could see we weren't getting any closer. Now everyone left in the group was racing for the last podium spot. As we were approaching the part where I was planning on attacking I started to pick up the pace a little so they wouldn't notice as much and then I attacked up the climb and into the descent. only one of the other riders was able to respond fast enough to stay with me. We made it into the meadow and I was still in front but now there was more passing room. I kept looking back to see if he was coming on my right or on my left. We passed by the announcer and going into the next turn he passed me on the inside. There was only one more climb left in the race and whoever got to the top of this climb first pretty much won the race. That is how all the other races during the day were playing out. I knew where I needed to make my attack, I had to give it all I had in order to get on the podium. Now depending getting ready to make the turn onto the climb the rider in front of me crashed. It happened so fast I almost ran him over. I got around him as fast as I could and sprinted up the last climb and down the descent and I looked back right before the finish and didn't see anyone. After the race, my hands hurt so bad because the course was so bumpy it hurt to open my hands. I was the only rider in the top five that was riding a hardtail. Overall I think that states went good and I am happy with the results. 


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Tehachapi 2018

We got to Tehachapi at about 3 in the afternoon on Friday and there was not so many people. By the morning almost everyone had arrived and at 10:00am was the Murrieta Mesa pre-ride. The course was the exactly the same as the year before but still super fun. After that was a long boring day of sitting around and doing nothing. Later that night there was a mini party to celebrate the league's tenth year of racing and there was a whole lot of people that went. Not me though, I was in the trailer watching a movie and doing nothing.
Race day was upon us and I still had a long time of doing nothing before I started to warm-up. I watched bits and pieces of the boy's freshman and sophomore and the girl's race before I went to warm-up. I warmed up on the dirt roads around where everyone was camping for about 25 minutes. After that, I went over to the line to get ready for staging and once again my conference was staged last. This was the first high school race that Blake, our conference leader was going to miss. This was the perfect opportunity to win at Tehachapi for the second year in a row. The race hadn't started yet so nothing was a done deal.
The countdown began, 15 seconds 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go!! The race was on, I thought? We all took off up the long fire road really slowly and one behind the other in one line trying not to be in the wind. I was really puzzled at how slow we were going at the start but I was ok with it until the first climb. Once we got there I wasn't too worried about being the first one into the decent as long as I was the second person I was all good. I knew it was a long race and there was no point in fighting to be the first one into the single track. We got through the first decent and started to make our way towards the long climb out of the valley. This climb, while not as steep as the first one it was much harder. There were two different ways to go that both paralleled each other so you could see the other rider next to you on a different trail that tied back into each other after a little wase. This was an amazing spot to pass riders you were catching from the back end of other conferences but also meant it was a sprint section for the top couple guys because if someone went a different way than the person in front of them they could end up passing them. The first lap this wasn't too bad I went the other way than the leader of our group did but I wasn't trying to pass. After that we road across a bench cut section (trail cut into the side of a hill) that led us to where we originally started to go down. This started the more technical descent with a slight bit of climbing that brought us all the way into the valley in front of the venue where we crossed, went out a ways then made a u-turn and headed back the way we came towards the final descent into the finish shoot.
Lap 2 started and this was about the time people were really starting to pop off the back of the group. Once again into the wind and everyone slowed down into a soft pedal so I got in the front and made them slightly uncomfortable for a short while. We went up the climb, down into the valley, across the valley floor and made our way to the ether or part of the race. By this time we were deep in lapping traffic and when we got to the first ether or section there was a rider we were getting ready to catch from the back end of one of the other conferences in the higher line. At this time the Hemet rider was in front of me and I was second in our four-person train. The Hemet rider decided to go the same way as the sower rider and was planning on passing him. Instead of following him and having to work through traffic I took the lower line and in an all-out sprint passed both the rider in the other conference and the one in mine all in one move. By the time he realized what I was doing it was too late and when the trails came back together I was in the lead. We continued on the rest of the course all the way to the last descent into the finish.
Now we were on the last lap and going out the long fire road towards the climb. When we got to the climb I made a hard effort to get in front but it failed and I went in second. Shortly into the decent, I got passed him and shortly after that, he passed me back. At this time the Hemet rider was in front, I was in second and a Temecula Valley rider was behind me. Little did I know the Great Oak rider had fallen off the back a wase. We got all the way down into the valley and at the bottom I lost my chain. I wasn't pedaling or shifting, it just fell off. By the time I got it back on the bike, the gap was too far for me to make up in the remainder of the lap. Once the TV rider and Hemet rider saw that I was off the back they both took off. By the time I got to the top of the climb, the Great Oak rider had caught me. He passed me in the rocky descent because he had a full suspension and I had a hardtail. A couple minutes later I passed him again and he was riding on rim. I came through the finish and started my cool down. During my cool down I saw my brother coming down the last descent into the finishing stretch throwing his fist in the air and yelling after looking back. I assumed he had won which he did and I was happy that one of us had a good race. I came in at third on the day and got second in the overall. Thanks to all of my sponsors who make this racing at places like this possible. Ellsworth bikes, Rudy Project, Ftech cycling, Kenda tires, ESI grips, Scicon, gup industries, Ryno power, Ridefast, Sidi and ASG sports.


Thursday, April 26, 2018

Sea Otter Classic cat 1 XC

The start was the largest start I have ever had. All of the 15-16s and 17-18s all went off together and the staging area was larger than the start shoot. I lined up in the middle because the people on the outside wouldn't get a spot on the line because it funneled into the line. We were off and the start went up the road for a little wase until it got to the bottom of the corkscrew then it went left and up a dirt road. Going up this hill on of the many riders in the group crossed lines and took my front wheel out. When I got up from the ground my bars where twisted and weren't aligned with my wheel so I had to take a minute to fix that. By the time I got back on the bike I was at the back of the pack and the front was gone. By now I knew I wasn't going to contest for the top couple spots it was just going to be a matter of making up as many spots as I could. I made it all the way down the hill into the valley good and made my way through the pack. When I got into the valley my glasses were all fogged up so I put them on the back of my head. I went into the first single track behind several Reno Devo riders. They slowed me down in the single track but sprinted in the fire roads so I couldn't pass. Eventually I made the pass and shortly after that I crashed again except much harder and I rolled off into a ditch and once again I got up and my bars were twisted.  After I got up I had lost at least ten spots and I was really frustrated. We got a little further on the coarse and the sun started to peak through the fog so I put my glasses on but with all the tree cover in the single track I couldn't see because the glasses couldn't adjust fast enough so I put them back on the back of my helmet. The next part of the course was the hike a bike section. This is one of the hardest parts of the course because you have to get off your bike and run up the hill in really deep sand. Once you get to the top of the hill there is an even deeper sandy decent. It is so much fun to ride it fast and I passed several people going down that. The next section of trail was a really cool section of climbing single track totally covered by the trees with moss hanging down. Once we got to the top of the climb we started the descent which was a very tight trail and the turns were so tight and close together I could see my opponents a little wase back. At this time I still had my glasses on the back of my helmet but not for long. Since the trees are so low they were hitting my helmet and one of them I felt take my glasses off my head. I had two choices here, I could other go back and get them and lose about 8 or 9 spots or I could leave them and not lose a spot. I decided that I would leave them and try to come back for them when the race was over.
 The next section on course was the feed zone nad my dad and coach were both there and I saw my dad and he just looked mad that I was so far back. Directly after the feed zone we turned left and started to go up a overgrown and tight single track. At the top of the hill was where the cat ones split off from the cat 2s and 3s for a second time. We did an extra loop and tied back in with the other categories at the bottom of the hill. Now at the bottom we had to climb out of that canyon and over the hill into the same canyon as the feed zone. We passed just out of sight of the feed zone and began the longest sustained climb back up to the raceway. Threw out the hole race I was going back and forth with several 19 to 24 year olds and one of them was a little up the road when I got there with the other rider. Me and the other rider worked together to catch as many people as we could. We caught the other 19 to 24 year old rider and we all three started to work together. By the time we got to the tom of the hill I had passed at least 10 people that were in my group. One of them was able to hang on up the climb and once we all got to the top of the climb the 19 to 24 year olds got into the decent first and left us in the dust.
Now I was in the final couple miles and I had someone on my wheel and I knew I would lose the sprint at the line if it came to that so going up the last climb I gave it all I had and got a gap. I made my way into the race way and didn't even care to look back to see if he was coming, I just went as hard as I could. I crossed the finish line and about 20 seconds later the other rider crossed. I walked around and talked to my teammates and other racers and found out that my brother had gotten 2nd in his race. This made me vary exited to know that one of us did good.
Now that the race was over I started making my way back down the long decent into the valley to get my glasses. Since I was near the feed zone I decided I would go over there and explain to my coach and dad what happened. Then I went on the hunt for my glasses. After a lot of hiking backwards on the course I found my glasses. They were totally destroyed and I definitely couldn't use them again but I might be able to get a new pare.
Thanks to all of my sponsors who make this racing at places like this possible. Ellsworth bikes, Rudy Project, Ftech cycling, Kenda tires, ESI grips, Scicon, gup industries, Ryno power, Ridefast, Sidi and ASG sports.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Vail Lake #2 2018

It felt good to be back at Vail again. My home corse and a place I know well, so well I didn't have to pre-ride to know the course. I was told roughly where it went and I was good to go. The day prior to this race I was out at Bonelli Park racing one of the Golden State series races. You can go check that blog out for the full race report.
It's the morning of the race and I got up at about 7:00 anxus to get on the road to Vail. I did all of my last minute checks to be sure I had everything prepped and ready to go for the race to come. We left for Vail a little after 9:00 and got there at 9:30. I brought all my stuff to the pit zone and sat down with a water in my hand and began the longest 2 hours of my life. Sitting doing nothing while watching my teammates race is so difficult and every time I would get up to do something and someone would sit me back down and go do it for me. This just made sitting there harder and more boring. It's Finally 12:15  and it was time it get ready to warm up. I took a different approach to my warm-up then I usually would. Instead of doing hard efforts to get the legs warmed up like I did at Keysville I decided to do a longer tempo warm-up. At Keysville it was also a double weekend as well so I learned what I could do to better my performance. I also warmed up with an ice vest on to keep me cool while I was warming up.
The warm up was over and we were ready to stage and once again conference B (my conference) went off last. Meaning that I would have to fight threw and try to pass all of the slower riders that I would soon catch. We are staged now and the group before mine goes and after they get moving all I see is dust and when it settled they were gone. Go! My group is off and I'm slightly ahead and looking back to see if any one wanted to pass me because I didn't want to lead. And sure enough once they were clipped in and ready to go they started to pass me. I only let Blake, the series leader and one other person pass me before I jumped into a draft. Getting ready to go in to the first single track I was fighting with one other rider for the second place spot into the single track. I kept calling out my passes and trying to get by but he kept closing the door. So finally I decide not to call it out and just before we entered I passed him on the left side and got my bars just in front enough to get by. Now my focuse was to stay with Blake as long as I could. I knew that all I had to do was stay with his initial attack and I could hold his tempo. I was about 30 seconds back on him when we came threw the finish on the first lap.
I knew I wouldn't be able to stay with Blake for long before the race started so my goal was to stay with him as long as I could in an effort to try to drop the other riders in our group. Now I had to setal into a good pace so no one in my category could catch me. I was all by my self, no one to chase and no one to work with. Everyone was to far away witch is a good thing but hard and you have to be mentally in the game. At the same time I was catching the slower riders in the other groups causing a lot of traffic on the trails. All I had to do was work threw the traffic better that the other riders and I would game time on them. The second lap was over and the gap the the leader was a bit bigger and the gap behind me a bit smaller.
The third lap was the hardest of them all, not because I had been out there for a while but because there was none around me that I could work with and it was mentally difficult. I started to her my dad say the times to the group behind me and the gap was closing. I knew I needed to get my hed in the game if I was going to stay away from a group of four guys. It was the last small section of the lap and my dad said they were 10 seconds back and so I put the petals down and said to myself I wouldn't let them catch me. I was able to hold my gap to the finish line and came away with a 2nd place.
Thanks to all of my sponsors who make this double weekend of racing is possible. Ellsworth bikes, Rudy Project, Ftech cycling, Kenda tires, ESI grips, Scicon, gup industries, Ryno power, Ridefast, Sidi and ASG sports.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Fontana UCI

The warm up for this race was much easier than most of the other races since I was racing booth Saturday and Sunday. Once the warm up was over I went over to the staging area to waitto be called in the start shoot. Once they let us in we have to look for our catigory sign and line up next to it. Except I couldn't find my sign. I road up and down the shoot looking for it only to find that it was siting on the ground next to another sign. I lined up in the front row on the left side so that I was lined up for the first turn good. On the line al of the racers moved the loose gravel around their tires so they didn't slip as bad.
Go! The race was on and I was some how out in front. I wanted to be near the front so I didn't get dropped but I didn't want to be the first person. There I was the first person into the first several turns and into the first two long straight flat sections and all the way up the firs climb. Now I was really confused, I didn't plan on being in the front that long. People started to pass me going up the next climb and after that. Going up the asfalt climb near the top someone that I have been racing since I was really little passed me and I made it a point to stay with him. We made it all the way up the technical climb and started the decent. He got a small gap on the decent but nothing that was to big to get back. We went through the start finish together and up until the asfalt climb I was with him. He stated to pull away more and more on the technical climb. Now I was fully hypoxic and totally exosted and trying to ride a steep technical hill was very difficult. I hit my petal on a rock and lost a bit of time. I got threw the rest of the lap not able to see the rider I wanted to stay with but doing ok.
I came threw going out on the last lap and my dad yelling from the side that I was in 14th place and I knew that there was four riders really close up in front of me.  Now my goal changed from stay with someone to get to the top ten. I gained several places going up the climb and saw what I thought was 11th place but was actually 10th place and tried not to lose any time on the decent. The decent at Fontana is very technical and bumpy. It is hard to ride on a hardtail on this section so all I focus on that part of  the corse is not losing time. I caught tenth place on the climb up to the final decent and passed him. He passed me back on the long flat strate on the back side. I stayed right behind him and on th last punch (short climb) he was Abel to pull away just enough so that it wasn't a sprint finish. I end the race in 11th place and I thought that I got 12th place.
Now that the race was over I was focuse on the next day of racing and peeping my legs. One of my sponsors in specific that helped me recover was Ryno Power. I like to use there vanilla protein powder to help me recover from any hard day of riding. A big thanks to all the sponsors of the SoCal Devo team, Ellsworth bikes, Rudy Project, Ftech cycling, Kenda tires, ESI grips, Scicon, gup industries, Ryno power, Ridefast, Sidi and ASG sports.  

keysville 2018

I woke up the morning of the race kind of tired and slow but by the time the first couple of races went of I started to get excited. I cleaned my bike from the day before of racing and went over it to make sure nothing was wrong. The warm-up was the same warm-up that I usually did but because I raced the day before that warm-up was to hard so i did my own thing on the trainer.

We were ready to be staged and once again we were staged last. This is annoying because you had to keep stretching to stay warm so that your warm up wasn't for nothing. I was the second callup and I staged on the right side so I wasn't in the sand. We got up to the line and we were given the usual rundown that we get before every race.
15 seconds, 10 seconds, 5,4,3,2,1...Go! We were racing now and I made sure not to lead or to get swallowed up in the group. The group opened up purtty quick and I was second behind Blake. We went threw the creek crossing and up the long gradual climb that fallowed. By the top of the climb Blake had a decent gap on us and started the decent as we where cresting the top of the climb. The main group was far behind us and it was me a rider from Hemet and Great Oak all trying to catch Blake who I knew was long gone. By the end of the first lap me and the Hemet rider got away from the Great Oak rider.
When we were coming down by the feed zone on the second lap I lost my chain. This was probably the fastest i have ever put a chain back on in my life. The Hemet rider only got a little passed the feed zone and the newt rider in my category did't catch me. I spent the rest of the lap trying to catch up to the Hemet rider and eventually did by the middle of the lap. Trying to catch him I burnt so many matches that I could of used later and by the time the second lap was over I was hurting.

On the last lap on every steep short hill he would get a small gap. Then on the long hills and flats I would catch up. I came on to one of the fire road sections and I couldn't see him except I knew from past laps that he didn't ride the flats fast so I picked up the pace in an effort to catch him. I came around the corner and saw him make the turn into the long gradual climb and this gave me something to chase. When I made the turn onto the climb a big gust of wind and dust hit me in the face and I realized that it would be much harder to catch him than I expected. As we drew closer to the finish I tried harder and harder to catch him. Going into the last really short single track I was really close to him but I was far enough that even if I was to catch him before the finish I wouldn't of contested in the sprint because he would of been stronger. Right before going up the last punch into the finishing stretch I lost my chain again. By this time I was so flustrated and It took me a minute or two to put it back on and this sealed my place in third.
After the race a went up to the other races and talked to them about it and congratulate them, wether they beet me or not. After that I went to the mesa pit zone and got on the trainer to cool down while I was drinking my Ryno Power protein. I can't say that I am disappointed with my results because I had raced the day before.
 A big thanks to all the sponsors of the SoCal Devo team, Ellsworth bikes, Rudy Project, Ftech cycling, Kenda tires, ESI grips, Scicon, gup industries, Ryno power, Ridefast, Sidi and ASG sports. All of these sponsors are what makes racing possible for me and I am very grateful for every thing they do for the team.  


Monday, March 12, 2018

Vail Lake #1 2018

Race morning I woke up at 7:30 which felt like 6:30 because of the time change to the race promoter Matt Gunnel on the microphone telling the coaches and staff when their meeting was. I got up and did my normal race morning routine eating certain things at certain times. From our motorhome, I could see the whole last section of the course and the finish so I was able to see part of the freshman, sophomore and the first 2 laps of the girls before I had to get ready to warm-up. Thanks to the Scicon bags I was able to keep everything organized, easy to find and it relieved the stress of trying to find my stuff. 
We made sure to do everything the same as Lake Perris so that if something went wrong or I didn't feel right we could adjust for the next race. By the time the warm-up was over the sun was out and it was getting kind of warm. I went over to staging and kept stretching to make sure that my warm-up wasn't for nothing. Once again conference B was the last group to be staged meaning more traffic to have to work threw. The start was more casual than Lake Perris because we had already raced each other once so we were all talking to each other.
Go!! The race was on and it started out much faster than Lake Perris did because we all wanted to get to the single track first. I was right on Blakes wheel for the first couple of seconds in the race and then everyone started to get in between us and I couldn't hold on to his wheel. So I went into the first single track with three kids between me and Blake and at this point, I knew I was in trouble. Blake took advantage of his opportunity and totally broke away from the group, with me, the only one that can keep up with him, three people back. None of them would let me pass because they knew that they wouldn't be able to hold on if I did. By the time the single track let out and we were on our way to the ambulance climb there was no catching Blake, he was gone. My new strategy went from staying with Blake to blowing up the group. I was the first into the tunnel of love decent and at about the midpoint of the decent I almost made a wrong turn and lost one place because of my error. At the end of the decent, I made a mistake and lost my chain which made me lose several places. I lost about 30 to 45 seconds putting it on and getting back to speed. At this point, it was the middle of lap 1 and I was able to catch back up to the group right around the end of lap 1 and the beginning of lap 2.
On the first single track of the second lap, I decided to stay behind the group and catch my breath just a little from the big effort to try to catch them. By the time the trail let out one of the riders from Hemet had a little bit of a gap on the other 2 so I passed them and caught the Hemet rider and in doing so I pulled those 2 right up with me. I went into a tunnel of love in second behind the Hemet rider and I didn't care because I knew that he couldn't drop me and I wanted to rest a bit from my hard efforts. At the same place, I almost made a wrong turn the Hemet rider lost his chain so I passed him and never saw him again. The rest of the lap I led the group and was just trying to hold a solid pace.
Going out on lap number three I knew that I would have to make an attack somewhere but I didn't know where. I picked up the pace a little bit on this lap hoping to slowly tire them out and it kind of worked but not enough. There was a slight gap from me to a couple of the other riders. Although one of them was with me and he suggested that we try to drop the rest of the group, but I could tell that he was hurting. I got to the decent first and was focusing on not making any mistakes. The section after this part was really fast, it was a flat fast fire road going into a sort hill that was called airforce that you could use momentum to get up and not have to pedal. I was in the perfect gear when I got to the top and at that point, I decided to attack. I gave it everything I had and hoped that since they hadn't ridden as much as I have that they were not in the right gear and from judging from the size of the gap that I made they weren't.  I was able to get a gap of a couple hundred yards by the bottom of the bmx decent.  I took off up the last climb and when I was coming down the last descent I got stuck behind three riders from another conference and they wouldn't let me pass. When we got to the next open section right before the last singletrack climb I passed two of the riders and the third one started to sprint with me and since he was already in front of me I wasn't able to pass him. Because of this one of the riders I was racing from great oak had caught me and was on my tail. I was able to pass the one rider but the Great Oak rider and I were going at it.  Just as we were cresting the top he got the inside line on the climb and was able to push me out just far enough. The finish was close but he got me on the line and I ended up with third. 
I can't say that I wasn't disappointed, but making up all that time, wasting all that energy I can't be because I know that I gave it everything I had and that's what matters. A big thanks to all the sponsors of the SoCal Devo team, Ellsworth bikes, Rudy Project, Ftech cycling, Kenda tires, ESI grips, Scicon, gup industries, Ryno power, Ridefast, Sidi and ASG sports.