Friday, February 21, 2020


Dedication, determination, and motivation are your strongest allies in endurance racing. If you are motivated, dedicated and determined to keep going, you will. The amount of pain you are willing to put up with determines your endurance success. It isn’t just physical pain. Staying mentally focused is just as hard as the physical pain. Determination and the support of the people around you get you through it. 

I would like to give a big shout out to gup industries and Kenda tires for all the support this weekend and all the amazing products. Gup does a great job of keeping me riding and giving me no excuses to walk anywhere. This weekend I ran the Kenda boosters and I have got to say when there is that much cactus on the side of the trail you have got to have a tire you can trust. The Kenda boosters saved me in more than a few corners this weekend and there is no tire I trust more.  

Old Pueblo has a very unique start. You don’t start on the bike, you have to run a quarter-mile to get to your bike. For cyclists that are wearing cleats, that feels like forever. I started in the front with the mindset that I’ll just jog and get there when I get there. Well, things didn’t go according to plan. The
race started and all of a sudden I get swallowed into the middle of the group and there is no room at all. I was getting pushed and bumped and was worried someone was going to trip me. In a field of adults, I was tiny and had no way to push back. So I threw the plan out the window and started sprinting. I strategically put my bike at the end of the racks so that I wouldn’t have to walk through the crowd of people and bikes with my bike. When I got to my bike I was relieved to not be running anymore. Since you don’t warm-up for a race like this my hamstrings were so tight after the run they didn’t feel good till about halfway through the first lap. People were passing me like crazy on the first lap. On you left, on your right, when you get a chance. It got really annoying really fast. It didn’t help that it was literally 90% single track and cactus everywhere. Even if there was a small space to pass you had a risk of getting stabbed by cactus if they were a little too risky. 

By the second lap, I was catching a few solos that I am sure regretted going out so hard. By the third lap, I had most of the course memorized and wasn’t getting passed as much because all the fast people were so far up the course. The fourth lap was my last lap before I had to go out with lights. I got back from that one at about 5:30 and it got dark at 6:00 so I put 1 light on my bars and turned it 

on about halfway through the lap. There is a section of the course called the seven b****** and they are seven fireroad climbs that are no longer than 2 minutes each and one after right after the other. All
the previous laps I went the way of the hills. Except, this lap I decided to take the other way and go around them. It was a lot of fun and a single track the whole way. Although I couldn’t see hardly anything because the sun was setting. For most of that section, I was riding straight into the sun. When your face is in the sun and the trail is in the shade it is impossible to see anything. For this reason, I took it really slow to ensure I didn’t blow a corner right into the cactus. When I got back from that lap I put a light on my helmet and kept ongoing. At this point, I’ve been riding so long that I’m zoning out at times. I’ll be riding and I’ll zone out and a few minutes later I’ll be further down the trail but I can’t remember riding what I just did. I would just be in another world sometimes all by myself with no one except the Occasional person that is on a team that blows by me. 

At this time the sun is long gone and it is getting colder and colder. Every lap I get to camp and add another layer to what I am wearing. It was much colder than the weather app anticipated but I was ready for it. The night laps are by far the hardest mentally. It is cold, lap times are slower, you can’t see and there aren't as many people. When I got to a certain point on the course every lap you could see the venue and it looked like a small city. There were so many lights, trailers, and tents it just looked super cool. But you knew that you had such a long way to go.

Now that is it night time I stopped taking the line at the end of the course with the really large rock roller right at the end of the course. Instead, I went around which isn't any longer. 

There was a point on the course where you are about 45 minutes into the lap and you start going back towards the venue and it looks like you are almost done but you really aren’t. You are barely halfway but because it is so close to the venue, there are crazy people that walk out there to cheer you on at the closest point to the venue. That section is extremely unique in that it smells like beer, smoke, and fire and the people are screaming wildly as you go by. It gave me just the right amount of motivation every lap to keep going. By this time I’m on lap 7 and it is getting late. People at that spot are disappearing. By the time I got there on my 7th lap, there wasn’t a single soul there and neither was the needed motivation. Now the only thing to motivate me was myself. 

Now it is 1 or 2 o'clock the next morning and it is absolutely freezing. As I was riding I was watching the trails turn from light in color and dusty, to darker in color and like hero dirt because of the dew. Watching that change makes it feel even colder than it actually was.  There also isn’t half as many people passing me or me passing them, making me want to stop even more. But I had to keep going for now. 

After lap 8 was over I stopped for 10-15 minutes to get some food and warm up a bit. I went out on this lap with the plan to stop for an hour when I got back to rest. That thought is the only thing that 
got me through that lap. When I got back to camp it was about 3:30 in the morning. I went into the tent and fell asleep for an unexpected 2 hours. I woke up at about 5:45 and I told myself I would go back out a few minutes after 6 because I thought there would be light. Well, when the time rolled around the sun wasn’t up and I couldn’t find the motivation to go out on another lap. I had finished 9 laps by this time and was 146 miles in and the only thing holding me back from going out was the darkness and the cold. I finally forced myself off the chair and onto the bike at 6:30 to head out on number 10. I had to start that lap with lights but by the middle of that lap the sun came up and the venue and the trail were coming back alive. Now that it was getting warmer I had a newfound motivation. I couldn’t wait to get back to camp and take off my warm gear and go back out without lights. 

Now I have done 10 laps and I realized that in my head I was counting wrong and I thought I was done with 11. This meant that my pacing for the whole race was off and now my goal of 13 or 14 laps was going to be really hard to get to. I went out on what would be my second to last lap, feeling
good but by the end, as you would expect I was feeling cooked. After that lap, I realized there wasn’t enough time for me to get 2 more laps. I had 2.5 hours till the end of the race and a lap had been taking me between 1 and a half hours and 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete. I stayed at the tent for a bit, refueling myself before I went out for my last lap. When you get to this point there is nothing better than telling yourself, this is the last lap. The only thing better is actually finishing. My dad decided to ride with me this time for a little extra motivation. By the middle of the lap, I just couldn't wait to be done and go to sleep. When we got to the last climb that takes you to the descent into the venue I picked up the pace a lot. A climb that was usually taking me 10-15 minutes took about 6 or 7 and when my heart rate never got above 145bpm or zone 2 previously, this time my heart rate was pegged at 170bpm. I was very tired of riding slow and I just wanted to be done and that is what drove that crazy action.

Now that the race is over I feel very accomplished and even though I didn't get the 13 or 14 laps that I wanted 12 is still good for me. I feel more accomplished because I never quit. I have done a similar race in the past where I stopped in the middle of the night. Even though I still did good I didn't feel accomplished. Riding through most of the night and only stopping for a consecutive 2ish hours, made me feel that I did the best I could and that is all I can ask of myself. 

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Keyesville 2019 

20 more seconds. Don’t look back. You want it more than he does (if someone is there). Don’t back off now, you’ve gone this far don’t give up, 20 more seconds.
Being physically ready to race is only half the battle, being mentally prepared is the other half and the results only come if you have both. These are the few things I kept rolling through my head the whole race to keep me motivated and dedicated. I’d like to start off thanking my coach and dad for believing me and installing into me that I can do this.
It’s race day, and it’s hot but I live in Temecula where the heat is real and I train in it every day so I was ready for it. Once again getting mentally prepared. Getting to the line I was hoping that we wouldn’t be sent off late because the girls started a half hour late. We were only sent off 5 minutes late so it wasn’t too bad. I had an ice soaked rag on my neck and back to keep me cool at the line in the sun and a few minutes till I went off I ate a gel and gave my dad the rag. Now it’s on, racing is about to start and I’m in the second row in a good spot.

GO!!! We were off and I was determined to get to the creek crossing in the top 5 to avoid any crashes or slowdowns. I was very aggressive in the start shoot and was not about to back down for anyone. I got past the creek and onto the climb in 5th position. We were spread out on the length of the road riding 3 or 4 wide and I was in the second row. A rider started to come up the left side of me that I didn’t what to be in front of me because I didn't want any chance at losing the front guys wheels. I locked Bars with him for just a second until I pulled out of it and he realized I wasn’t going to back down. The group started to string out about halfway up the climb and I got into 5th position and we picked the pace up a little bit but not dramatically. We were almost to the top and I looked back to see who was there and I realized that the top 4 and I were getting a gap on the group. I psyched my self out for a second when I realized that I was in the break and all I had to do was stay there as long as I could. I quickly got my head back in the game and focused on the long task ahead because it was nowhere near done. We got to the bottom of the decent and onto the next fire road and the top 4 guys that usually run away with the race looked back and I could tell that they were surprised to see me there. Every once and a while they would look back to see if I was there or not and every time I was there right behind them determined as ever to stay with them no matter what.
Heading out on lap 2 with my teammates who raced earlier and coaches all yelling from the side of the trail was super motivating and just what I needed going into 3 laps to go. I took my feed right behind the others at a surprising my super slow pace giving me all the time in the world to do what I needed. On to the creek crossing and up the climb still with the top guys in the league and super excited as were my coaches at the top of the climb. On the decent when it got Super dusty I backed off the wheel in front of me because I couldn’t see a thing and I didn’t want anything to surprise me and take me to the ground. I caught up every time on the next climb or flat road or as soon as the trail wasn’t as dusty. We approached one of the hardest climbs of the course that was extremely steep and only got steeper by the top and was drawn out just enough that it wasn’t a sprint. I was almost sure that I was going to fall of the group on this climb but I only lost a few seconds that I made up on the descent. I kept telling myself the longer you stay with it the less likely the group of guys you know are working together behind you are to catch you. With that sentiment of motivation in my head, I was back in the game and determined again. The longer I was with the guys the more I realized how easy they were actually going and that they only picked up The tempo in a few places but when they did it was hard.
The burn in the legs was real this lap and I just kept telling my self 20 more seconds, 20 more seconds and they will back off, and they did. They would back off and I would catch my breath a bit and get ready to settle back into a hard pace. Climb after climb the hits kept coming and it never got any easier. They would put a small gap on me on the climbs and I would close it on the descents and flats where they would back off. We got to the longest climb on the course and one of the top JV riders that started after us, caught us, which is insane. He got mixed up in our group and the pace picked up a bit. By the time we got to the finishing climb, they had the biggest gap on me they had ever had the whole race. With 3 laps down the JV rider was done with his race and it was back to the same four guys I had been trying to stay with. I told myself I don’t know how far back the next rider is and it doesn’t matter because I’m going to give it what I got to catch back up and keep everyone behind me there.
I went through the creek by my self and up the next long climb to the first decent gaining on the group in front of me. I was only about 5 or 10 seconds back when one of them at the front made a strong attack to try to split up the group and at that point, they took off and were only barely in my sight for a while before they totally disappeared. I gave it everything I had that next lap trying to do anything to get the littlest edge still worried that there was a possibility that someone would catch me. Coming into the finish on the climb I didn’t know who was behind me, how far back they were or if they were in my category but I didn’t care. I just told myself that I wanted it more than they did if they were there and I was the one that stayed with the guys in the front for 3 laps so I was in the mindset to destroy someone in a sprint if it came to that. Little did I know the next guy back in my group was 4 minutes back but hey, it got me to the line quicker.
A big thanks to all my sponsors that made this 5th place finish in varsity possible. The biggest thanks of all goes to my dad for doing all he does and of course, the coaches that never give up on me and that drive me to the end of the race. Ellsworth Bikes, Rudy Project, Kenda, gup, Scicon, ESI Grips, Physiophyx, and Dryve wheels. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sea Otter Classic 2019

One of my favorite parts about Sea Otter is getting to meet all the people and sponsors that support our Devo team. We get to see some behind the seans things and up and coming ideas and we get to ask them questions and give them feedback on their products. The best part is getting to do it with the rest of the Devo team. 
The cross country course was completely different this year than the past few years. We started the race going up the climb on the actual raceway and into the Pro and E-bike courses earlier in the week then back on to the raceway and going up the other side of the track up the corkscrew. After that, we headed out on the trails going the opposite direction that we had gone for the past few years. This start was by far one of the hardest starts I have ever done at Sea Otter. Right off the gun, you went into three incredibly steep hills that were not at all short. One climb after the other, in grueling pain, trying to stay with the guys in front of me and catching my breath on the descent, realizing by the top of the last of the three pitches that I had only gone 2 or 3 miles and I still had 23 miles to go. By this time the whole field was totally split up and I didn't know how many people were in front of me or behind me I just started to make efforts to catch other riders. I caught up to a group of three guys, one of them being my teammate on the SoCal Devo team, and stayed right behind them until I was able to make my way to the front of them and work with my teammate. A few miles later we caught another one on my Devo teammates who, little did we know had just had a mechanical. Now there were three SoCal Devo riders in our group of five riders giving us all a strong advantage over the other 2 people in our group. Another rider ended up catching us from behind and attacking up a climb to get into the single track first. I attacked with him from the middle of the group and got into the decent in second position. For me going into a decent I like to be either first or second going into a decent so there is no chance on the lead guy getting away from me. when we got to the bottom of the decent me and the rider that made the attack had a little bit of a gap on the group behind us and we opened it up a bit more on the next climb. I was determined not to let him get away from me for the rest of the race. A few times he got a small gap that I quickly closed. The next section of the course we went down a gravel fire road off-camber steep descent into a steep climb to a fast almost flat, single track decent. On the climb up I wasn't able to stay with him and I couldn't catch back up to him on the descent. Another rider from the group I was in during the beginning of the race caught me and got ahead by just a little bit. I caught up to him later in the race and one of my teammates and another rider from the first group I was in caught up to us so it was the four of us. The next part of the course was probably the most grueling other than the start. It was an extremely steep, long climb that seemed to take forever. I broke away from the guys that I was with on that climb and put a decent gap on them. Only one of them, My teammate, was able to close the gap at all on the decent and he almost caught all the way up to me but I had just a few seconds on him when I hit the long fire road climb out. I could see the other rider that dropped me a while ago up the road with another rider drafting on him. I settled into a strong TT pace and my teammate wasn't able to hold on. I cough up to them and caught my breath for a second then quickly got the three of us organized in a TTT and we were going 21 miles an hour consistently up the hill. At the one point of the climb where it got a little bit steeper the three of us split up and I was in the middle. By the time we got back on the raceway, I could see the other rider a little ways up the track. I made a long-shot attempt to try to catch him and ended up coming just a little short. I took 14th place with my teammate right behind me with 15th.
Thank you to all my sponsors for the support, Kenda, Rudy, Scicon, Phyisiophix, Ellsworth, Gup, ESI, Canari and Dryve.


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Vail Lake #2 HS

The third weekend in a row out at Vail Lake and looking forward to a different venue in a few weeks. This weekend though it was a lot hotter and dustier than the previous weekends which means a different type of preparation consisting of a lot of water. My family wasn’t able to camp this weekend due to my dad being at work so I had to drive from home the day of the race. Luckily I live only 20 minutes from Vail so I didn’t have to get up too early in the morning, but I still had to do all the preparation the night before. When I woke up in the morning I was feeling sick so I was a little nervous for my race later in the day. I got to the race venue in the morning and found me a chair and sat there with my water in hand for several hours in the team pit watching my teammates race the whole morning waiting for my race. At about 12 I started getting all my feed bottles with Physiophix to the feed zone and went the the car to get my gear all together. At about 12:45 I started my warm up which I did on the dirt rather than the stationary trainer which is different than what I usually do. By the time I was done with my warmup it was time to get set up in staging. I was the 8th call up and lined up on the second row.
 Go! The race was on and we were charging towards the first single track all together. We got threw there and up the next climb all together and by half way through the first lap I was surprised to see that majority of the group was still all together. The whole race, people were fighting for position boxing each other out getting aggressive trying not to go down. Going by on the second lap I grabbed my feed bottle but missed my bottle I was supposed to dump on myself. I looked back and there was still a lot of guys behind me but I knew going into the first single track that there was going to be an attack that would break us up. I knew I was too far back in the group to be able to react and I knew I was but it was too late for me to move up in the group. Sure enough the attack went and I was too far back behind a couple people that didn’t even try to go with the attack and I had to fight around them and try to catch a couple other of the stragglers to work with them to catch back up to the lead group. I cought a few of them and we worked together but never cought the lead group. The rest of the lap the three of us worked together to keep the people behind us there and trying to gain on the people in front of us.
At the start of the next lap we were all hurting and trying to stay with it to not get cought. Nothing exciting happened that lap exept a lot of pain. The last lap on the other hand was really tough and full of attacks from every person all trying to get that little edge to get away. Every little attack, every climb was excruciating and it was all I could do to stay with the other rider. I got through a couple of the tough pitches and headed towards the last few climbs o the course. At the climb before Marine Core hill I was infront and stayed infront until we got to the top of Marine Core where he passed me really quick before going into the final decent. He got a little bit of a gap on the decent and by the time we got to the finishing stretch he was just a little too far for me to sprint past. I ended the day in eighth place which I was happy with due to not feeling good that morning.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Vail Lake US Cup 2019

Looking forward to later in the season, this weekend was super important because it would give us call ups for nationals and be a determining factor in our placement. The SoCal Devo team all arrived at coach Jason's trailer at 7:00 in the morning to do team stretches. We stretched for about 25-30 minutes and then realized that we didn't have too long before we started. We got all our gear together and started our warm up. When we arrived at the line there was a tone of people lined up in our group. I was racing the 17-18 category but I also went off with the 15-16 and 19-29 groups so it was a very large wave of riders. I ended up lining up in the very back with only a few guys behind me. I knew that I needed to make my way through the group as fast as possible. I made a couple of good passes and got ahead of a few guys but was still 15 to 20 riders back. I locked bars with 2 people in the start just because there was so many of us and there was no room on the road. Once we were in the first singletrack everyone held their place until we got to another fire road. Every chance I got I would try to gain a few places just to get a little bit closer to the front. The group stayed together for the most part, for the first two laps. Any time a gap would form between two riders the other riders in the back would get around the one that was slowing down and they would push him off the back.
At this point in the race, one of my SoCal Devo teammates, Adin Papell, was right behind me. The second lap was where the front of the pack made there attack and me, not making up enough places couldn't react to there attack because I was too far back.  Now Adin and I were working together making up places in the race. By the end middle of the lap though he fell off my wheel leaving me alone to chase people down. I caught a few adults from the other groups and worked with them for a small amount of time until they couldn't hold my wheel. At the start of the third lap, I was all by my self with a few people just barely out for sight. I was about a third of the way done with the lap going up a fire road when I looked back and saw four or five guys from the endurance category along with another one of my teammate, Hunter Zubick, on the back of their group. I still had a decent gap on them but I knew they would catch me eventually. I got into the decent and to the bottom and they caught me on the next climb. We all stayed together and Hunter and I were trying to hang on as long as we could so we could use them to bring us back to the front of our group.
The fourth lap started and I was still feeling really fresh and good to go. We were about a fourth of the way done with the lap when one of the endurance riders in the front of our group messed up going up a technical climb and everyone behind him, including Hunter and I, all had to get off our bikes and run past him. The riders that managed to be in front of him took off and got a huge gap while we were all trying to get on our bikes. I was right behind Hunter going up the next long fire road and we went right around the other endurance racers and started pacelining with one of them for the whole climb. As soon as we hit the single track though, Hunter And I left the other rider that was with us and took off down the descent. Unfortunately, halfway down my right clip I could fell was loose and I was worried that if I pulled up too hard that my foot would fly off the peddle leaving me no way to clip back in. This was in the back of my head the whole rest of the race and because of that I didn't lay down a big attack to pass Hunter, I was hoping I could save it till the end. It didn't end up working out that way and he went on the climb but didn't get too much of a gap because I definitely hadn't given up. Those few seconds gave him the little edge in the finishing stretch that I couldn't come past him. Little did we know we were fighting for first and second the whole time and I got second. We thought we were mid-pack because of all the other rider in front of us but turns out they were all in different categories.
My first SoCal Devo race of the year was awesome and was only possible because of my amazing sponsors including our new kit sponsor Canari. Thanks to Ellsworth bikes, Rudy Project, Kenda tires, ESI grips, Phyisiophix, Scicon bags, Gup industries, and Dryve wheels.     


Monday, March 18, 2019

HS Vail Lake #1 2019

Even though it was my second race in varsity the nerves were still at large as if it was my first. Among sorting through the butterflies in my stomach and the pressure I was putting on my self to do better this race, I had to get my head in the game and get in my zone because this was happening, whether I liked it, or not. I was feeling super excited for this weekend because it is at Vail Lake which is my home course and I know it really well.
After the pre-ride on Saturday, I wiped down my bike and made sure it was running smooth. Later that night all the Devo team met coach Jason at his campsite to go over the plan for the weekend and to give us some new gear for the year. (Devo kit release coming soon, Made by Canari). It was about 11:30 race day morning and I had 2 hours till my race went off when I got all my feed bottles with physiophix and nutrition ready. By 12:20 I had all my new top of the line awesome Rudy Project gear on and I was getting on my Ellsworth to ride over to the pits to warm up. Once I got over to the pits I walked a short distance over to the feed zone to give them my bottles. After that, I was on the bike for my warm up and soon after that I was at the line waiting to be called up. I had the last call up in the varsity field and lined up in the second row. Once at the line, we waited there for about 10 minutes before the race actually started. Go!! I stomped on my right pedal while trying to clip in my left foot and it took me way too long. By the time I was clipping in half the field that was behind me was now in front of me. I got clipped in and knew that I needed to get to the first single track in the top 5. I made a big effort to get back up there because I knew it was now or never. I got to the top 5 working my way through traffic and was in 5th before we go to the first single track. I got through there without losing a spot and made it into the tighter section in the same good position. Now making our way up the fire road climb we were all trying to get into a draft. I kept my 4-5th position and no one attacked going into the single track so I stayed where I was. We came out of the decent right through the next part of the course with a ton of speed into a momentum climb called air force. For this climb, it is imperative that you are in the right gear and this first lap I just so happened to be in too hard of a gear. I got to the top of the climb and tried to pedal and my foot flew out of my pedal. I had to get off my bike, losing at least 10 spots that I had to make up. After that the next road took us to a steep climb and right to a chattery, switchback descent. The next section of the course we had the option to go left or right. The right was easier but much longer while the left was harder yet shorter. Every lap varsity went left because it was faster, and from there we went right into a pump track in front of the venue and announcer. The whole group was still together as we made the last turn and headed to the finish.
By the time we started the second lap I was in about 7-8th place and was trying to get settled back on the group. I took my feed extremely fast and didn't take my second bottle at the end so that I could gain a few spots in the pack. I was trying to recover when at the front of the group, as soon as we hit the first steep climb in that single track,  two guys took off. Me, being too far back to react, I had to let a few of them go. From there on out the whole varsity pack was splintered into groups no bigger than three people. Me and two other people were working together to catch two people ahead of us that were too far apart to be working together. The rider that was in the front sat up and let the other person catch him so they could work together. It was much harder to catch them after they came together but we ended up catching them after one of them blew up at the beginning of the third lap.
The third lap we added one person to our group and lost one other and the three of us that were left all knew each other because of previous years of racing. We decided to work together to catch other riders and keep other ones off of our group. We stayed together taking turns pulling and worked together really well for the rest of the lap. By the time we came around for the final lap, it was getting really fast and harder to hold on. I didn't take too many pulls that lap because my fellow riders realized I was having a hard time holding on and wanted to keep me with them so I wouldn't work with the person behind us at the time and catch them. Every time a small gap formed between us I told my self that all I had to do was catch back up and I'd be able to catch my breath and if I was to fall off now there was a larger chance that I would be caught from behind. So with all my effort every time I would bridge the gap back up to them because I knew how important it was. I held on right till the end and fell off the back for the last about three minutes of the race. I was able to fend off the rider behind me to put my best varsity finish so far in the books with sixth place.
I can't end my blog without giving a big thanks to Kenda tires for the new tires I put on a few days before the race. My tires never lost their grips and they are truly an awesome product for racing. Once again My Ellsworth bike never fails to deliver and has made this result possible. Thanks to Phyisiophix for the nutrition keeping me going during the race and training. Thanks to Rudy Project for the awesome protection with there helmets and glasses. Thanks to ESI for the super comfortable grips that take away the brake bumps. Thanks to Dryve wheels for the amazing support and products they have provided me. Thanks to Gup industries and Scicon bags for their support with their products. Don't forget to go check out my teamates blogs at the SoCal Devo website. All you have to do is click on the riders name. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Lake Parris 2019

Varsity is intimidating, to say the least. Watching my brother race varsity last year was fun but it is totally different when you are in the race and are racing some of these big names. I got a last row start since I missed the last call up by one point. My coaches and I had already talked about a strategy for the start just in case I ended up in the back, which I did. The start of Lake Parris is different than all the other starts of the season because you stage in one place, then role a little ways up the road to the actual start line where the race starts. Once the race started and the director of the SoCal league whispered go, I quickly placed my self into the top 10. While trying to get there I spent way too much time trying to clip into my peddle making me even more nervous. As soon as we hit the dirt the pace immediately picked up and then it really started to feel like a varsity race. By the time we got to the top of the climb, the group had gotten a little spaced out and there were a few people out in front and a few of us a little ways back. Once at the bottom of the descent we started the long, flat and very windy fire road making our way towards the lake. This is where the groups came back together and worked together in the wind. Everyone in the group wanted to be behind someone so that they didn't have to push the wind. We went through the feed zone where I successfully grabbed my bottle from the best feeder out there, Coach Heather Ranoa and went straight through to the finish line to complete my first lap.
Lap two was a little more difficult in the sense that people started to attack more and more. By the time we got to the top of the climb this time the group was totally split up with a group of 4 with a considerable gap to the rest of us going into the decent. I was all by my self when I got to the bottom of the decent with two guys just barely up the road from me and the leading group of 4 guys a little bit more ahead of them. Pushing my own wind now with 2 guys working together in front of me I knew I needed to give it what I had to catch up to them so I could stop working so hard. I caught up to them about midway through the long straight away and told them we needed to work together to catch the group in front of us. We came through to finish our second lap all 3 together and still yet to catch the lead guys.
Going into lap 3 I had no idea how many people were in the leading group so I had no idea what place I was fighting for until one of the people on the sideline told us we were in 5th, 6th, and 7th place. This got me really excited with the idea that I might be able to make it onto the podium in my first varsity race. By the middle of the climb, one of the riders that was with me started to fall off the back. By the top of the climb I was giving it everything I had to not let 5th place drop me as well but I just couldn't hold on. I was hoping since we would both be pushing our own wind that I may be able to catch him on the flats but that didn't happen. At this point, I'm in no man's land, with riders out in front of me and others behind me both too far for me to work with. I finished the third lap all by my self, pushing wind and burning matches just hoping that something good was going to happen or that I would stay there the rest of the race.
At the beginning of the last lap I got onto the road and looked back to see if anyone was there and saw no one so I settled into my pace. when I was about one-fourth of the way up the climb I looked back again and saw a group of 4 working together to catch me. I also saw the 5th place rider way up ahead of me and I decided that he was too far for me to catch alone and I couldn't hold off a group of 4 forever so I backed off a bit and got a little rest before the group of 4 caught me. I knew that they would catch me eventually so I let them catch me when I still had matches to burn rather than later when I was totally blown up. Once they caught me I finally got a break from the wind because I had been by my self in the wind for a full lap. The rest of that lap was extremely fast and coming into the finish I was outsprinted and ended up taking 10th.
I would like to give a big thanks to all my sponsors who make my racing possible. Dryve wheels, Kenda tires, Ellsworth bikes, ESI grips, Sicion bags, Rudy project, gup industries, and PhysioPhyx. These products all play a huge role in my race day and training. They are truly top of the line products that I would recommend to anyone.