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Second Race @ Folsom Lake "Granite Bay Grinder"

Here are some race reports from our 2nd race at Folsom Lake!

Otis Lyons

Granite Bay- NorCal #2 3/19/16

Well, here we go again! With one race under the belt, going into the weekend I felt good, but I didn’t want to perceive this as overconfidence. I was glad to have the race be on a Saturday this time- not only to get out of school early, but also for an earlier race, and a fresher course. I did two laps the day before, and liked the way the course looked, all the way up until the end, where they incorporated a new weird cyclocross-like Z into a sand pit. Oh well. So, I decided that I didn’t want to be with anyone by the time it came to that. Backtracking, that means that I wanted to be at the front 2 miles before the finish- the last point really for a clear cut passing point. Even further back, I knew that if I could ride the whole last lap alone, that would work as well. Of course, we only had 2 laps. So, basically I’m gonna go from the gun. The callups around me were Kaveh, Logan, two Woodcreek kids, Kyle and Bridger. I knew that, besides a kid or two who succumbed to a flat tire or sickness in the first race, these would be the race contenders. The gun went off, and I immediately started strong. I sensed Kaveh on me, and maybe it was Logan behind him. We hit the long flat section, and I was in the lead. As soon as we got a half mile in and the single track entered the forest, my dad alerted us that we had opened up 10 seconds. What??? 10 seconds? I look back, and it’s true. We truly had gone from the gun. The next two miles were the “testing zone,” which I had planned out. I kept the pace hot, and I wanted to test Kaveh to see if he could stay through the flowy, meandering trail. I kept increasing the pace, maybe five minutes of this, until I attacked. Some race tacticians may call this a bit stupid, but I knew what I was doing. Well, I thought I did at least. The attack was hard, but not a killer blow. I opened up five or six bike lengths but soon he was able to pull it back. We reached the road, about two miles in, and this is where the course changes. It becomes more technical, steeper climbs and descents, and less groomed. So, as the course changed, I decided to let the tactics change as well. I was still on the front, but I eased up, giving us a much needed drink. As we crossed the big puddle after the road, I looked back and was hit with a surprise: third place. A kid from the Bruins had bridged the gap, a kid with no call up. Later, I found that his name was Andrew Cambridge. He instantly caught us and passed. I nudged Kaveh out of the way for Andrew’s wheel. Andrew was fast, and lead us through technical sections well. We crossed the road again and reached the steepest sections of the course, and soon dropped Kaveh. Perhaps my earlier digs had worked, after all. But, this backfired as well, because through every technical section Andrew was just a little better, just a little faster, and soon I didn’t know how much longer I could stay with him. At 1.5 miles to go in the lap, I snuck my way around him onto one steep incline, and powered my way past some sophomores, choosing the right line. Andrew did not, and I quickly opened a gap. This was a bit of a repeat from last race, when I dropped Kaveh. That had worked, but Andrew looked way too strong, and I didn’t think I could keep it up for long. I held a slight advantage for the rest of the lap, and by the first pass of the finish line I lead by 20 seconds. I thought to myself, this is good, this is what I want. But I knew it would take a big effort to ride this whole lap alone. In the end, Andrew faded. Luckily, because I did too. As the lap went on I heard 20 seconds, 35, 45. It kept growing until I raised my arms at the finish, thankful I had survived that scare. It was an awesome race for everyone! Thanks to all coaches, mechanics, cooks, parents and more who made it possible. Congrats to other podium riders: Dean, Calvin, Ronan, Kyle, Stella, and Wyatt. And to all of you other riders who worked hard on a very challenging, dare I say GRITTY course. The only downside is having to wait for three weeks until the next one.

Josh Penrod

Howdy all, first off I just want to say great job to everyone who raced on Saturday, everyone did an amazing job. Despite the scrapes and bruises everyone pushed themselves super hard and “didn’t back down”- Direct quote from Alan himself. It was definitely a more difficult course than Ft. Ord and everyone did great.

Its Saturday, the day of the 2nd race of the season and i couldn’t be more excited to be racing on fresh race course conditions rather than wet muddy wet conditions that we all pleasantly enjoyed in Ft. Ord. I was more tired than i was before last race, maybe because i was running around playing tag in the hotel the night before and was relaxing in the pool and hot tub too, but it was worth it for for all the laughs. I rode one lap around the course Friday afternoon and looked for places to pass, drink some water, places to change gears before a big climb, where the technical sections where, and looked for the best lines to follow. After the pre-ride i knew that some of the technical bits where going to be more of a struggle than others and i would possibly have to just get off and run up those bits. I knew i was going to use the same strategy that i used last race and seemed to work well, and that is sprint as hard as i can at the start to get a good position during the single track and follow behind someone that has just a fast enough pace to follow and so i can follow his lines.

After eating some food, and cleaning off my bike a bit i put my bike on the trainer after the girls are off on their race. When the girls are done, i get on the trainer and begin to warm up my legs. While on the trainer i drink 1 bottle of water and eat a banana, which was good fuel in Ft. Ord so i did the same for this race. 20 Minutes later i ride over to the staging area with Leo and Dashiel and line up in a row to start the race. Sadly i had to start the race in general staging again this race and in the 3rd to last row too, but i knew i could get to at least the top of the general staging and higher if i sprinted hard enough in the beginning. Once we are in our final positions in the starting gate we all await the start, 3, 2, 1, GO! It’s a full on sprint as the race begins, i pass multiple people including the kid i followed in Ft. Ord and make it up behind 4 woodcreek kids and i see Conner and Jeffery right in front of them so i make it a goal to get up to them and work as a team once i do. We get to the first little uphill climb and immediately realize that the Woodcreek kids are not very good at climbing so i pass 2 of them. The next big technical section begins and the 2 Woodcreek kids fall over and luckily move to the side and i fly past them. I then am all by myself for the remaining ¾ of lap 1, and every spectator tells me that my teammates are just in front of me so i push even harder to catch up to them.

I go through the finish line beginning my second lap and can see Jeffery and Conner maybe 20 bike lengths in front of me and it stays that way for half of the second lap, until i catch them on the downhill and we go through the technical stuff together and through the finish line which marked the start of the 3rd and final lap. Conner and Jeffery begin to look tired so i took up the front of our group of 3 for a while, when one of us would begin to feel strong again we would have them move to the front which worked very well. About ⅓ through the 3rd lap i looked back and did not see Conner anywhere near me and Jeffery but instead, there was a Woodcreek kid that was following me at the beginning, and now was maybe 30 bike lengths behind us so Jeffery and I increase our pace so he wouldn’t pass us. We pass through the feed zone and hear someone yell, “go Ethan!” And we know he’s right on our tail so we increase our pace even more. We make it into the final stretch to toward the finish line and begin to sprint which uses up every little bit of energy i have left to pass jeffery and not let that Woodcreek kid pass me, and then i am across the line which marked the end of the race.

I finished that race coming in 22nd place, which was 6 places higher than Ft. Ord which i was really proud of. Thank you to everyone who helped make this race possible, and congrats to all that raced you all did great! I can’t wait for more memories in 3 weeks at the next race.

Otis Guy (Coach Report)

Hi and quoting Lily… “Howdy Butts”,

Race 2 is over and we are rolling into race 3 in 3 weeks. For several months, you have been working hard on our great training rides and many of you were brought down from dealing with the complications of one or more of the following; illness, poison oak, broken bones, crashes, mechanicals and yet again you pulled off another super strong team finish on the podium!!!!

We are very proud of everyone one of you. You have mastered the perfect combination of enjoying the rides while working hard the bike and balancing your schoolwork. And, this accomplishment was clearly demonstrated at Granite Bay in your performance, commitment to the team and yourself to finish strong. Chris Enbom posted a great overall results report on Facebook chronicling many of your individual efforts from this past race. Check it out if you haven’t seen it yet.

As a team, we will continue to improve all year and finish with a terrific race at the State Championships in Los Olivos. It’s not always a straight line to the top and some races will feel better than others. So, try to stay positive and keep focused on your goals. Without a down day or feeling off, we would never be able to appreciate a great day and an awesome race.

Keep learning about what you need before, during and after a race/ride. It’s important to take care of yourself and use each race as a lesson. If you do this, you will improve and that line might a little straighter making it even more fun to get to the top! And always remember, your coaches are here to support you - 100% of the way.

All of you represent your parents, coaches and Drake High School with a great amount of joy and class. We receive many compliments from other coaches and parents on how you handle yourselves. And we get the same from people who see all of you on training rides. Keep up your amazing effort.


Co-Head Coaches Sarah and Otis

Dean Lyons

Granite Bay- NorCal #2

I don’t usually write race reports, because I rarely remember any details after I finish (unlike someone that’s related to me). I tend to have tunnel vision when I’m racing, and I block out everything that’s happening around me. With that in mind, I’ll try to come up with a brief summary of how the race played out.

The first lap started at a brisk pace, and I pushed my way into the top ten. I stayed in a pack of about 15 guys for the rest of the lap, and the pace settled in.

When we hit the flowy roller section on the second lap, Topher Lewis broke away from the pack, and easily put almost a minute into the main group. By the time we hit the rocky half of the course, all that was left of the big group was me, Clayton Puckett, Tate Meintjes, Nathan Barton, Jake Yackle and Cole Davis. Our group came to the end of the second lap, and due to a mishap in the sand pit, we got split apart.

Cole, Nathan and Tate chased after Topher, while Clayton, Jake and I chased them. Nathan and Cole dropped Tate, and my group caught him on the steep rutted climb after the pavement crossing. At the end of the third lap, my group was in the fight for 4th place. Two of us wouldn’t be on the podium.

Clayton led the first part of the 4th lap, and took a relatively relaxed pace. I was afraid of racers behind us catching up, so I took the lead. I led our pack for about ten minutes, but on the last switchback climb, Clayton attacked. I didn’t have much in the tank, and when Clayton attacked, he got a sizeable gap on me. I did all I could to stay with him, but I couldn’t. Right after that Tate attacked, and Jake fell off the map. Tate got a few seconds on me, and held it to the finish. I ended up sixth place.

… Or so I thought. Apparently, Cole Davis (who had finished second) took an inhaler at the feed zone and was disqualified. I was stoked to end up in the top five at my first race this season!

Congrats to everyone who raced out there. It was a fun weekend!

Calvin Stanley

I’ll start this off the morning of the race when I first woke up. So there I was sleeping peacefully and happily when I was rudely awoken at a god awful early time, especially it being a weekend. I got up, ate a quick bite, got dressed, made sure my bag had everything and was organized, and slowly moved out to the car. This is taking a long time so I’m going to speed and get to my race quickly now. I quickly cleaned my bike, ate some food, saw the girls start, and then got ready to warm up. I warmed up for 30-40 minutes then moved to the start line with perfect timing because they just called my name.

I was in the second row behind Ronin which you think would mean I was preparing for a good start. Unfortunately for me I suck at starting so coming out of the fenced portion I was lucky to be in the top 15. Starting there, I began passing people, as I would do for the rest of the lap. About 1-2 miles in I tried to pass a slower tam kid and that didn’t exactly work out. I ended up crashing and twisting my shifter so i had to stretch to shift my front gear down. I quickly caught up and found myself directly behind Ronin and Mathew. As I continued on the lap I continued to try to pass people, it was really slow progress. So when my big group of sophomores got to the road, I immediately bolted and when we were back on the trail there was only two kids in the group in front of me, who I made short work of.

Right before the feed zone my dad told me I was in third and the leaders had 20 seconds on me. My first thought was I need to speed up and go catch them. This was quickly followed by the thought, wait I’m in third? For the next 2 miles I was alone and pushing myself to try and catch the leaders, which unfortunately never happened. The next time I looked back I saw a Redwood kid towing a Tam kid up to me. After about another mile they finally actually caught me. This is were the fun began of us three attacking each other for the next 3 or so miles. When I got back in front I decided to see if they were up to keeping up to me. As we started our third lap it was obvious that the Tam kid and I were way out of the Redwood kids league and he dropped like a stone.

From there on out it was the Tam kid sitting on my butt and me trying to lose him while yelling at Freshman to get the heck out of the way. As we got to the road I tried to not let the loser behind me pass me but he managed to edge by me. Quickly after we got on the trail I was ready to pass him back because he slowed down. Unfortunately for me this kid seemed to think cutting people off was a fun thing to do and when I tried to pass, he moved over and I had to go off the trail and slow down. This happened multiple times on the way to finish and once he actually made contact because I refused to move over and he almost made me crash. If I didn’t like this kid enough already, and now I was seriously pissed off. As we went around the loop to the finish I tried passing one more time, and guess what? He cut me off and almost made me hit the tape on the side of the trail. So I got right behind him and made sure I gave myself a chance on the final straightaway. As we came around the final bend he went wide and I cut off into the inside and tried to get by him. I ended up running out of room and losing by .2 seconds and about a wheel length. I now know what this kid looks like and you can bet that there is no way in hell I’m letting him beat me ever again. You can blame Allie for making me write this and it being so long.

Looking forward to next race.

Elise Nicol

Howdy all! I hope you’re enjoying the three week break from racing. I’m hoping to use it to train really hard and be ready for the next race! This race wasn’t my favorite to be honest. I’ll do my best not to complain because the team did really well and I’m incredibly proud of everyone. The pre ride went much better than last time. Running around at the hotel, sharing food, and hot tubbing were relaxing and took my mind off the upcoming race. The day of, I got up at six with my dad and was at the course before sunrise. Warming up and preparing was very leisurely. I warmed up longer and finished closer to the start of the race than last time. The start of the race was nerve wracking and my gear was far too low. I let Aliyah, the tireless sprinter pass me in addition to several girls placed behind me. I caught them by the uphill and followed Aliyah comfortably through the singletrack. To my surprise, Stella caught us early into the first lap and flew by me with ease. I was so proud to see her on a course that really suited her. The rest of the lap passed quickly as I worked to push myself and not go too slow. The second lap was where things got tough. I felt tired and knew I was somewhere around seventh. I knew I needed to ride faster, so I pulled some buried strength and caught some JV riders intending to pass them. It took me far to long, but eventually I did. At this point, I was about halfway through the second lap. In the distance, I glimpsed a rider whom I knew was a sophomore. A wave of energy crashed through me and I felt the need to pass her. A coach yelled at me as I went by, “Fifth is right in front of you! If you want podium, catch her!” I rode faster and faster until the first technical section. I was going over some rocks and didn’t have enough momentum to make it. Normally I can clip out, but there was too much sand in my pedals. I fell, hard on to the rocks. As I got up, I knew I had fallen too far behind the girl in fifth. There was simply no way I could catch her. The rest of the race was a frustrating mix of falling, clipping out too much, and generally feeling mad at myself. I knew I was slowing down, but I didn’t care. When I came into the finish, I felt angry and frustrated. However, Stella’s amazing race cheered me up immediately. This race really brought out the talented downhill riders and those with lots of endurance. Congrats to everybody who raced JV and varsity, your races were long! Everybody who fell seemed to get back up and ride just as well. I’m so proud of the team and can’t wait for the next race! Roll pirates!

Sam Bruckner

Granite Bar Grinder Race Report

Boy did it feel good to get back in the spandex for my personal first race of the season! Congratulations to all that raced over this past weekend!

The week of school leading up to the grinder went by quick, and before I knew it Friday came along and we were on our way down to Sacramento for the race. The pre ride was smooth and pleasing to ride as always. Dos Coyotes produced some of the best nachos I’ve ever eaten and this led to a good night of rest.

The morning of the race came, Breakfast was flavorful, and by 7:30 I had arrived at the venue. The team meeting began early because of the change in race time which I was fond of. The girls started at 9 and it really kicked things off for me mind wise, putting me into game day mentality. By the time they were about finished, I headed back to the tent to start preparations for the race. Filling my four bottles, sticking my margarita shot blocks on my top tube, and duck taping my flat kit on. Me and Dean went out on the roads around the lake to warm up our legs about 30-40 minutes before the start. These times always seem to go by far too quick so I made sure to pay attention to every detail. After a couple sprints it was time to head to the start line.

The nerves began to kick in when I started talking to some guys I raced last year in the start funnel. This was the first race I’d been in that I hadn’t either had a call up, or been towards the front of the field, so I knew I would have to battle for a good spot before the single track. I was thinking very hard about this when Vanessa started counting down from five, I looked up and smiled knowing it was game time. As the start sprint began, I held position well and felt good about where I was in terms of who was around me in the stacked field. It was the fastest i’d ever started and still was barely sitting in the top 20. Top 20 was my goal, so I looked around and took note of who to sit on, who to not let pass. The pace only seemed to increase throughout the first lap and the three remaining laps after this one began to become a larger then life action in my mind. I put my head down and just powered through the first lap to keep position and hopefully find some rhythm.

The second and third lap both felt good and I decided that if wanted to have a strong fourth, I’d need to take some rests to drink and eat in order to keep the hammer down. Although the second and third laps seemed to feel great it was at the beginning of the fourth when the new to my body distance began to really kick in. First my left calf cramped, but this has happened before so I powered through, then my right thigh cramped, this was painful, to say the least. I slowed my pace and stretched it out, at about half way through the lap I realized I wasn’t going to escape these cramps. I went to survival mode and just focused on holding my spot for the duration of the lap. I knew it would be tough with the pain but I could manage. When I got to the feed zone on the last lap I was cramping and barely paddling along, I finally crossed the finish line with my goal of top 20 and some valuable experience of what it’s like to race in the varsity field.

It was an amazing day of racing for the Pirates!

Walden reed

race #2 granite bay grinder

Yes, nerves play a big role in racing, and some people can’t do squat to make it any better. You can only cope.

Preride was forgettable, nice day out. Nerves were no better than last race, so I tried to shut it out until race day by holding myself hostage in the hotel room. And I have to say, watching The Dark Night was a soothing distraction before going to bed.

Race day. Spent most of my time poking around, bothered Tony for a bit, the usual. My dad found a trail around 20 minutes out and back ideal for Wyatt and I’s warm up. A grateful escape of the pressure and stress the Pitzone fosters. Wyatt was chased by a bird resembling a Canadian goose on the way back, and yes I do have a few seconds of video. My legs felt like lead, but I was warmed up without the dizzying rush of dismounting the trainers and wandering over to the call-ups, all while resisting the urge to barf. Once I started everything was in slo-mo, even after we all started sprinting on the sandy bumps, fighting for a good placing to enter the single track with. For a change I didn’t restrict myself as much, or I was able to exert more energy without blowing up, giving me a consistent top ten-twelve placing for my warmup lap. I honestly don’t know what got into me, but I said “howdy, hi, hello, and thank you” to just about everyone who were cheering the racers on, and shared some commentary with other riders. I was able to keep up this exuberance until the third lap, where I put the hammer down. But unfortunately, the hammer seemingly struck my basic motor functions. I knew I was close to Wyatt, people were saying “a minute in front”, “they are 60 seconds ahead”, but as I neared the halfway point (I’m guessing), I hit the “wall”. I’m having trouble focusing, trying to conserve energy on the downhill, but it seemed like there was no downhill. Pedaling was a consistent pain, and the thought of stopping was as simple as a craving as needing water. (Water didn’t help).

I remember I wanted pizza. With breadsticks and cheese sauce. After the final downhill, I knew I was finished. The road was just lengthening the death sentence of the horrific last four hairpins that cover you in mud, sand, and water. I just couldn’t go any faster, and three or four people passed me, moral dropping, but I was so close to finishing. I guess the pack behind me had all passed and I was ahead of 10th place by 30 seconds or so, so I just tried to make it over all the washboreded bumps, around the long corner, and across the finish line. In the box roped off for the finishers, I collapsed. Literally laid down while Emerson took my bike and my dad gave me water with nuun, which I proceeded to drink all at once right there. I don’t think I have ever been this exhausted after finishing a race, even the race I crashed on last year. I couldn’t stand up, even when I tried, So my dad helped me walk back to the pit zone where I proceeded to eat food, drink chocolate milk, and try not to cry all at the same time. Emotionally I could barely hold myself up, physically holding myself up was out of the question. Reality slowly came back into focus. It was over.
9th or 10th (the website says 10th, but everyone tells me 9th) is still in the top 25% of finishers, so I’m not upset by any means, just emotionally drained. I’m going to try and do this for fun now, with or without the competitive atmosphere. Taking from what Ben said in his spectator race report, it’s about you versus your personal best, and I went against myself with all my might and lost, making my goal for next race is to beat this benchmark. So if I get podium during this season, great. If I don’t, also great. Please try and remember that this is about having fun, not winning. If you focus on winning, you might find it pushes fun out of the picture.

Stay strong team, and don’t let the pressure to compete kill you.

Roll pirates!

April 5, 2016