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Fifth Race Reports NorCal Conferenece Championships Lagua Seca, Monterey

Drake HS took 1st place Team D1 at Lagua Seca this weekend! Here are the Race Reports.

Howdy! Here is a video from our own Brennan Healy!

Photos from this event are here.. https://goo.gl/photos/9V2Q2Gzr79mEGjkh9 LAGUNA-SECA https://goo.gl/photos/CXcKnWVKaRosEuvY9 MORE Photos!

Now for the Race Reports! (check back this page will change!)


Drake’s Own Otis Lyons Sums up 12 great things about Lagua Seca!

Laguna Seca- NorCal #5 5/8/16

Here are 12 reasons why this team is the best team ever:

  1. Drake riders on the podium
  2. Drake freshmen shredders
  3. Time NorCal champs
  4. Girls with GRIT
  5. Hundred feet of climbing per grueling lap (roughly)
  6. Months our awesome coaches have committed to the season
  7. Rreshman boys with call-ups
  8. 5th place- our top varsity rider (awesome ride Marya!)
  10. Drake individual victories
  11. Wishes for a speedy recovery
  12. The place Drake will get at States!

Thanks OTIS! Awesome!


Laguna Seca-Motorcycle Mayhem Wyatt Miceli

Non the less this race was interesting, exciting, and eye opening experience.

Now, I’m not usually one to write these race reports, usually it’s because I’m pretty whipped after races and fall asleep mid-way and forget to finish writing them (MY BAD) But I figured since I only raced for about 6 minutes of the race I could bust it out and make this a first timer for this season.

For starters, thank you so much for all the support from family and friends on the team, even though most of you are basically family, for all of the adventures we have all had together riding. Also a big thanks to Trevor, just incase you didn’t know the man is a miracle worker. As many of you know I have had back pain through many of the races and due to a recent crash I wasn’t even sure if it was worth racing today, or if I should reserve it for States. Thanks to him I was really able to loosen up and release pain, which mentally was a big step up.

Being a previous gold medal-er on the course I can’t lie but say I’m kinda a fan of all the killer uphill, flowy downhill and RACE CARS AND MOTORCYCLES that hall around the racetrack.

Anyway back to the topic! So. The pre ride was just like any other, an easy spin around a well rain packed trail was a blast. Letting Jeffrey and Ronan, (AKA the chippy black hair one and the corky red head SOPHOMORE LEADER) lead was a good idea due to there great handling and easy to follow lines. I’ve been riding with these two fellas since the beginning of my riding time and always manage to have fun. After completing one lap we felt like we understood the course and with my back beginning to act up we called it a day.

Waking up a 7 was a treat! Usually waking up at 6 I felt very well rested getting in that extra hour. I woke up to some Stevie Ray Vaughn and easily managed to leave the hotel on time. (A first for us!) Heading to the course I finally got hungry and ate a muffin and a banana, once arriving they were followed by a burrito and many sausages, plus Advil.

I went over and checked in with Trevor and got primed up for racing. I did everything like I usually would even if I wasn’t sure about racing just in case. My warmup felt surprising good and after that I knew I could back down or I’d be kicking my self until States. So there I went. After a talk with the Tam coaches (Thanks Sarah!) due to some interactions during the last race, the conversation on the starting like was pretty mediocre. But I didn’t care, purely there to have fun and mess with awkward teenagers Walden and I sat and judged all the leaders bike. Many of them were very nice indeed but I was doing anything to keep my mind of racing and injury. After two, ten second countdowns we were off! Standing on the start line for 10 minutes doesn’t help the warmup process is my legs but I figured I had a few time up Hurl hill to get that all sorted out. Falling back a few places off the bat was not mentally pleasing but I knew I had to remain calm. Completing the starter loop was a flash and we began the descent. Dust was everywhere, I guess they never learned the art of using your front brake and managed to create quite the dust storm. Coming the first corner I back off the riders ahead of me to assure that I could see were the heck I was going. Now clearly that didn’t work, they all decided to slow way down, in an attempt to pass I hung the corer hard, and needed the extra space to recover. That extra space was a pile of dead tree braces and launched me OTB, surprisingly far. As my body introduced its self to the ground I could tell I was immediately down for the count. After many attempts to get back up I finally noticed the gash on my knee and my inability to move it.

So there I was, EMT on scene, with Charlie and a Tam coach as awesome back ups. After hearing that Dylan Harris also fell bad, we managed to keep the EMT’s pretty booked up. With some bandaging and a 4X4 we finally managed to get up higher ground and off to the hospital.

As I lay in this hospital bed I’m pretty bummed to be getting 34 stitches in my knee but happy that nothing is broken. (Wow did I learn how much I hate laughing gas, what a trip that was! A 15 minutes procedure felt like a life time.) Congrats to all those who really put it all out there today and brought this team to its victory. Wish I could be there to celebrate. A really quick shout out to Uma, Elise, Marya, Ronan, Dylan, Dean, Kyle, Otis, Logan, Gabe, Walden, Stella, and think you get the point of how amazing it is to be surrounded by such awesome riders and people. Happy Mothers Day!



NorCal Championships JV Boys D1 1st Place

Ok, so I was extremely nervous for this race. First off, my mom gave me the incredibly heavy information, which I already knew, that I had to finish this race no matter what if I wanted to go to states. She was like, “If you’re bike breaks in half, you are walking the rest of the race.” This did not help my nerves.

Nevertheless, when race day rolled around, I was ready to go. I warmed up with Wyatt and then I rolled over to the start line to get a front row spot in general staging. I achieved that and ended up starting in the 5th row back, behind Marcos. We had a quick conversation about which way he should move so that I could fly through to the front group and then Vanessa started counting down. When she said go, I clipped in and immediately went searching for ways to pass people. I got a little boxed in right at the start and didn’t really get free until the start of the climb on the start lap. By the top of it, I was with the front group and settled into my spot in second wheel, behind Tyler. We went flying in to the first steep little climb and my legs weren’t feeling as good as I’d hoped they would and I became very worried for the rest of the race. I told myself that they would feel better after the descent and continued behind Tyler. We began our first time down the descent which was very scary. I hadn’t yet realized how fast Tyler was at descending until this moment. For a reference point, I looked back at my race file today and we hit 40 MPH at one point on the descent, which most of you will attest to being not very smooth. Anyway, we were flying down the descent and instantly our group had a gap. It was now just Tyler, myself, Liam, and Julian and we all knew it was going to stay that way until the end. There was a flurry of little attacks on the first climb up hurl hill, but mostly we stayed together going into the second lap. This time down the descent, Liam led it, with Julian behind him, then me and Tyler. This in no way slowed our pace down the descent and we started catching a lot of people this lap. We reached the last corner before the bottom and Julian took the wide line. I took that opportunity to pass him and put myself second behind Liam. Nothing changed until the top of hurl hill again. At the top of hurl hill though, we were all fighting for the second place position behind anyone. We were all trying to avoid riding into the wind, I ended up getting pushed into third and we started the little road climb again with the order, Liam, Julian, me, and Tyler. Right before we hit the dirt though, I passed Liam and Julian and put in a big surge effort to get to the top ahead of the rest of them so I could lead the descent. I did it and went flying into the descent trying to create as big a gap as I could. Right then, I caught Liam Jay and group of 3 varsity riders. It was a struggle passing them and Liam and Julian caught up to me again. I dropped them again and had a 15 second lead coming to the bottom of the climb. I kept looking over my shoulder to see where they were and I could see that Julian had dropped Liam and was trying to catch me. I looked ahead of me again and saw Sam and that gave me a burst of energy to try and catch him, which I did, just as Julian caught me. I was OK with this and settled in to make sure that Liam didn’t catch us as well. We flew up hurl hill and went through the feed zone together. I didn’t necessarily want to be leading but I knew that if I let Julian go first, he might drop me. If this happened I knew that it would be very easy for Liam to catch me and my race would fall apart. My logic is a little bit skewed here but it worked out. Again, I led into the descent and it went much smoother passing people this time. We got to the bottom with the same lead over Liam and I heard Julian say, “He’s catching us,” but I was starting to fall apart. I struggled up the first part of the climb and saw Alec and was spurred to catch him. At the bottom of hurl hill, exactly what I thought was going to happen, happened. Julian went around me and tried to drop me. I jumped on his wheel, but he got a little gap on me. Some part of me told myself that this was it and I was going to get second again. Then I screamed to myself, “NO” and caught back up to him. I stayed right on his wheel and on the last part of hurl hill, he dropped me again. This moment will serve as a great one to give a PSA. I want to make sure that every rider understands how much cheering can help. I was dropped by Julian on hurl hill, but thanks mostly to all of you, I knew that I needed to put out a little more effort to catch back on. Even just a simple Woot! goes a long way. At the corner before the climb to the feed zone, Julian slowed way down to let me catch him. To everyone else, this may have seemed very strange but I knew exactly what he was doing. I passed him and tried to attack but realized that I didn’t have the energy and now Julian was right on my wheel. We got to the top of the climb where the feed zone is and Julian was still on my tail. I knew that if I just rode to the finish, Julian would sprint around me and win. Luckily, thanks to watching years of professional road racing, I knew what to do. I slowed way down and weaved back and forth across the trail making sure that I could see Julian all the time. I must have looked like an idiot but it worked. This meant that when Julian attacked, I saw him do it. I went with him and we were next to each other going down the hill. Then, to my dismay, I saw that there was a rider in front of me. I thought that that was going to be it and I almost gave up, instead of giving up though, I jumped on Julian’s wheel and sprinted to keep up with him. Then, just as it kicks up before the finish, I saw myself passing him and put in all the rest of the effort I had to sprinting to the finish. I threw my arms in the air and knew that this is what all the horrible intervals do for you.

This was a great experience and all of you did a great job out there, whether or not you were on the podium, or even finished the race. Thanks so much for cheering me on when I thought I couldn’t go anymore. On to states!

Coach Otis

Congratulations to the 2016 Norcal Champions Drake MTB!!!!

Eight consecutive Norcal Champs; 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016

This accomplishment reflects a total commitment to becoming the best rider you can be. It shows how the team worked together to climb to the top throughout the 5 races that comprise the Norcal season. The riders knew when it was time to celebrate and when it was time to pull up the spandex and focus in order to improve that start, ignore those legs screaming to stop the pain or ride relentlessly to the top of hurl hill. In many ways, the Norcal Championship is the true measure of excellence for it is not a one-day event. Instead, it reflects the team that is consistent and committed to the very end.

We began in October with Alan’s hard and fun Pelo sessions and the Halloween team ride/party. We braved the ice-cold mornings for the forming ride/bike check event and finally kicked off the real training with the time trials up Loma Alto. Then began our Sunday rides, then weekday rides, our winter sport riders returned and BOOM started the long climb to the Championship win with race one.

Out the gate, defending last year’s title looked very challenging. Woodcreek and Tam both returned with a vengeance and ammunition. Both have large teams with lots of depth.

The season was a rollercoaster. All 3 teams won a race and traded places on the podium with every new race. Drake riders suffered from horrible flu, injuries, mechanicals and continued to persevere. We started into the final race with a slim lead over Woodcreek and Tam was within whispering distance. All three of us had a chance of taking the title.

How did Drake react to the challenge?

By making the podiums look like a Maverick’s size wave of green that washed over it topped by 2 black-clad leaders in Ronan and Otis. (We didn’t want to describe them as seals)

Let’s surf this wave all the way down south and defend Drake’s 2015 State Title.

7 more practices including Pelo to fine tune your skills to peak at States. Let’s have some great rides and crush it in Los Olivos.

Very special congratulations to the 1st ever-undefeated Drake MTB rider in the Norcal season - Otis Lyons.

Both Dylan Harris and Wyatt Micelli are recovering from their injuries and wished they could have been there at the podium to celebrate. They were missed.


Head Coaches Sarah Starbird and Otis Guy


Howdy pirates,

This was possibly the most flawless race I’ve ever had.

I was very excited about racing at Laguna Seca, after asking many returners which race was their favorite and many of them saying that is was this one. After my hardest couple weeks of training of the entire season, the race finally rolled around. We drove up to the course and after a few minutes, I was on my pre-ride. By the end, I could tell it was an extremely short course with plenty of climbing and very fast descending, something I was looking forward to racing on.

As race day came, so did my nerves, almost more than in my other races since I now knew how terrible I was going to feel for the duration of the race, especially on one with this much climbing. I watched the girls race, and suddenly it was my turn. I had a great warm-up, as I knew just how hard to push myself in order to be at my peak by the race. Time flew by, and before I knew it we were off.

In the first couple seconds of racing, I had the ingenious idea of taking it a little slow to begin and save my energy to catch up on the climbs. As soon as we began the descent, I was in something like 20th place, and got stuck behind a group of kids going a lot slower than I would’ve liked. I passed a few, but it seemed like there was an endless number. Finally, as the climbing began I was towards the front of the pack, with Bridger just a little ways ahead of me. I stayed close behind him all the way through the climbs, until the end of hurl hill when the universe began to hate me.

Right around the feed zone, my chain fell off. Nothing huge, although with all the parents trying to tell me what to do and kids passing me right and left, the stress made it take me a minute or so to get it back on, and suddenly I was right behind the slow descenders once again. I knew I had to get ahead of them before we started our second lap, so I sprinted up to the front of the pack and managed to get back into a decent position.

I flew through the downhill with no one to slow me down and eventually came upon some sophomores. I tried to pass Blake, but right before I could an extremely impatient D2 freshmen tried to pass him at the exact same time I did. The D2 freshmen passed on a dangerous part off the trail, and Blake had no choice but to swerve to his right so he didn’t hit the kid, moving right into me, leaving me lying on the grass beside the trail. I immediately knew this race was going to be trashed. I saw my chain wrapped around my pedal, and felt a throbbing pain in my heel. Blake was fine and went on his way, after graciously offering to help me fix my bike. I quickly managed to get my chain back on, although after riding for a moment the pain in my heel was too much to ride with, so I began to walk my bike along the course, just trying to find someone to help me while dozens of riders passed by. Finally, I reached the top of a hill, and almost as if it was never there, the pain in my heel disappeared.

I began riding again, enraged with my bad luck, but knew that just by finishing I could help the team. I passed many kids, and finally reached the top of hurl hill for my second lap, finding a group of freshmen I could sprint to the end with, because I might as well finish strong. As we came around the final turn, me and one other rider sprinted it out, with a few others close behind.

As we neared the finish, a sophomore who had another lap to go tries to pass me, even though there was no room on the trail. Mr. Impatient, though, decided to try to pass me anyway. He ended up hitting my bar, knocking me over sideways with some of the most pain I’ve ever felt. I got up as fast as I could, and felt a burning pain in my elbow, but most of my attention was kept on my knee. Bloody and gruesome, I wanted to scream out in agony. Limping to the finish as many more kids passed me, I felt awful and could barely move. I finally made it, ending with 28th place.

As I said, possibly the most flawless race I could have.

A huge congratulations to the entire team for bringing home another NorNorCal victory, and especially to Otis, Logan, Gabe, Kyle, Dylan, Uma, Ronan, Matthew, Calvin, Elise, Stella, and Marya for getting on the podium (wow that’s a lot!)

Roll Pirates

River Samet


Howdy all, Congratulations to everyone for doing a fantastic job this year, we are the NorCal Champions!! We are going to kill it at states I know it!! It is such a treat for me to be part of this amazing team, and I have all of you to thank. THANK YOU!

Next, I would like to give Alec Levy O’brien a HUGE shoutout for letting me race his bike, which is a lot of fun to ride, and much more race worthy than my antique yeti. I think that this bike helped me a ton this race, both with my overall performance, and just how much fun I was having riding it. Another huge THANK YOU!

Coming into this race, I was dreading what I’ve heard was the toughest climb in the series, hurl hill. I hadn’t pre ridden the course until Sunday morning, and so I had much more time to be stressed about the unknown. Once I had finished my pre ride, I realized that it was a super quick climb, and I would just grind away to the feed zone and then I would be half way already. After my pre ride, I couldn’t help myself but ride around talking with everyone, cheering and exploring the venue. After a while I realized that I was wearing my legs down, and I was worried about that , but during the race I honestly didn’t feel to bad at all. Anyways at the start, I was finally in call ups, so I told the front group “everyone try not to crash” maybe this helped, but thank god nobody crashed ahead of me, so I was able to get a good line going up the cement road. At the top, where the fire road started I was in 8th and I just decided, what the heck, I’ll just pass as many people as I can before the single track. I passed two people, who were both good riders and I was scared they would pass later, but I will get to that. Going up the next cement limb I was sure somebody would pass me, so I just sprinted up it, only to get stuck behind the two best woodcreek riders who were going really slow, and suddenly the entire rest of the freshman were right behind me. Darn. Starting the downhill in 6th was good, although these woodcreek riders did slightly hold me back from keeping up with Logan. After the “technical” section was over, and we had the fast meadow singletrack to go before the climb, the woodcreek kids attacked which I thought was weird on a downhill, and they managed to get a small gap but nothing major, and by the time the climb started I was right behind them once again, with Kyle, and a redwood kid right behind me. I was seriously confused about what these woodcreek kids were doing going so slow up the climb, were they saving it, or had I just gotten better? Whatever it was, I knew Logan and the front pack were long gone. Was stuck behind them, until the steep part, where Kyle and I passed. By the time I got to the top of the hill, I looked back, and saw Kyle, but behind him nobody was there, like the woodcreek kids had just given up. Well whatever, stay ahead, I’m in fourth! Passing through the the feed zone was the best thing that could have happened, everyone from drake was screaming at the top of their lungs, and it made me dig so much deeper. This was the same with the finish area, everyone was going crazy, THANKS GUYS!! So by the cement climb started again I had a decent gap on Kyle and I was already feeling good about this downhill. By the time I had went through the gate, I was completely of breath, but knew if I keep the effort up I could make more gains. So I pushed forward into the downhill, and proceeding safely, and fast as I could I was able to gain more and not crash. On the uphill I gave it the last of my energy, getting to hurl hill with a big gap behind me, and feeling really good about the race, going through the feed zone again I was super happy, looking back and seeing 5th place far enough back that I wasn’t stressed about the final sprint. This race was my personal best, and the one where I had the most fun. I would do this race over and over again if I could, but I can’t wait for states.

I wanted to send my regards to Wyatt, and Dylan, wishing up guys the best of luck in healing fast! Also I know River crashed, and had some problems throughout the race, and I have to say this is a huge bummer, because I know how hard he has been working, we ride together, and we decided that we would get podium after at Petaluma we were so close. I know for a fact that he would have had his best race!

Let’s kick some butt at states! Gabe Reuter

Laguna Seca D1 Frosh boys 4th place


I get to the pre ride just on time, and make my way over to the course with Gabe Whooley and Rob. Once we are on the course, Gabe and I scout out the best lines, places to get some water, and where to pass, we soon discovered that the whole passing thing would be harder to pull off than usual for sure during this race due to the size of the trail. We made it to the famous Hurl Hill and i was a bit less worried about it once we completed it but i knew 2 laps in it would hurt more, but i was ready. All of a sudden we were back at the beginning making this the shortest of all races this season. Once done with the Pre ride, I made my way over to Los Laureles to have dinner and just have a great time as usual! After a a few quick games of baseball with sticks and Dinner it was time to hit the sack and get some rest for the race the next day.

The next morning i make it over to the pitzone ready for a full day. After the girls are done with their races, Conner, Gabe, and I make it over to the staging area, i was in staging group C along with Jeffrey. Jeffery is then moved up to staging group B and Conner is moved to C with me making it a perfect starting position for all 3 of us. Soon enough we hear the countdown, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go! And were off, right off the start i see a crash on my left side so i follow Jeffreys line to avoid the carnage. We complete the first road climb and onto the fireroad downhill, then the trail closes in and the positions are decided for the downhill section. Conner and I fly through the downhill passing a few kids and then it’s time for the uphill, I keep up a good pace following a redwood kid in front of me for a bit. I see Hurl Hill approaching fast, so i slow my breathing and dig my feet into every pedal stroke while going up and then it’s time for the gravel climb and downhill. Conner and I keep up our pace and keep our group of two up until the downhill section begins again, and i notice that Conner is no longer behind me. The uphill section begins and the burning in my legs really begins, i push as hard as i can and then Hurl Hill is front of me once again in no time. I push my way up again and then i’m into the feed zone, all of a sudden Conner is right behind me again he yells to me “chain fell off, but i’m back now”. I stay on his back tire all the way to the downhill section where it soon becomes more of a challenge to stay with him with his new pace. I kept with Conner as long as i could but then my legs began to burn more and more and i kept getting stuck behind D2 riders, and soon enough, he is gone. Hurl Hill is soon right in front of me again, i push my way up as hard as i possibly can go and at the top, multiple riders begin to slow down due to exhaustion so i take advantage of this opportunity and pass 4 D1 riders and keep up my fast pace all the way to about the last 500ft to the finish, and then i see a tire in the bottom left of my eye. A Redwood kid had caught up to me, I sprint as hard as i can giving all that i have left to give attempting to not let him beat me but he had more energy left in him then me and he finished 2 second ahead of me putting me in 22nd

Overall this was a very successful race for me as well as the rest of the team making us the Norcal Champions. I am so happy and proud to be part of the Drake MTB team and look forward to states. Congrats to everyone!!!

Josh Penrod


I was really nervous going into this race, because of the problems I had had during the previous races this season. I’ve written about it in previous race reports, but for those who don’t know, usually right at the end of the first lap I would get a feeling like my throat was tightening up, and water wouldn’t go down when I drank. This lead to me to not drink nearly as much as I should have, and I probably became dehydrated. Each race after Granite Bay (the first major time I experienced it) I worked on trying to cope with it better, and that worked for the most part, but still did not go away. I visited a two doctors, and neither of them could figure out completely what was going on. I went on to race Petaluma, and did better than I had during the previous races, but still not as well as I had hoped. During each race I ended up feeling the same, but was able to work through the sensation, and focus on my breathing and not the stress of the race. That usually helped for a little while, but the feeling inevitably always came back. Alexis graciously offered to help, so we talked about the races, and the symptoms that I had been experiencing, and she suggested that I try taking gelsemium, a homeopathic remedy used to reduce stress, that would hopefully relieve the feeling in my throat. I crossed my fingers, and took a dose the night before, the morning of, and right before getting on the trainer. Ironically, I kept stressing out about whether or not it would work.

I tried not to think about it as we all lined up in staging, ready for the countdown. I was moved up a row into the empty spot ahead of me, right next to Josh, and right behind Jeffery. The countdown flew by, and we were off quickly. About halfway up the first hill somebody ahead of me crashed and a small pile up formed (thankfully not right in front of me). I tried to squeeze to the right, following Josh’s line, but someone hit my bars, and I ended up losing around 5 places. I sprinted to catch up to where I was before, and finally got there at the end of the first asphalt uphill section, right before the singletrack downhill. Josh and I made up some time on the downhill section, I think passing one or two riders. I stayed behind Josh for a while longer, and just kept a steady pace. I approached the end of lap 1, usually where my throat starts to act up, and I felt nothing. Still no problems all the way to the feed zone. I tried not to think about it much, because thats what sometimes made it worse in the previous races, and rode with Josh for the rest of the 1st lap, and into the second, where I dropped my chain on the downhill and lost three places. I caught up to where I was before, right behind Josh halfway through the third lap, where we rode together again for a while longer. Near the end of the lap, someone on the course sprayed cold water on the riders right in the back of their necks as they rode past, which felt good, relieving the heat for a while. By the end of the second lap, I still had not felt the feeling in my throat, and it felt good to drink without aggravating it. I felt good, and pulled ahead of Josh, leading through the end of the second lap, and onto the third. The third lap was pretty uneventful (thankfully, I guess) and I still felt great. I made a goal of catching Jeffery, now far ahead of me. For the rest of the third lap, I put my head down and rode as hard as I could, wanting to squeeze every last bit of energy out of me (shut up legs!). The bright green helmet got closer, and I had caught up to him by Hurl Hill. He was with two competing riders. I passed them right before the feed zone, and Jeffery picked up speed, passing them too. I reached the top of the hill, and sprinted as hard as I could, trying to keep the gap I had created behind me. I finished, and my lungs and legs felt dead. Jeffery came in two seconds behind me, and he had also created a big gap between him and the riders we passed right before the feed zone. I finished 17th, 7 places higher than Petaluma.

I was amazed that my throat felt fine. Huge thanks to our coaches, my parents, and all supporters of the team. And, thank you so much Alexis!!

Conner Murphy


I never really expected this to happen. I remember coming into the team thinking that I would be lucky to finish the races. By the end of my freshman year, I was hooked and looking forward to my sophomore season. I rode regularly during the summer and fall, looking forward to the upcoming season. Even so, I did not imagine that I would be competing for the season overall sophomore leader in the final Norcal race. I knew to carry the day I would likely have to win the race. I also knew that Drake was in the same position and we needed as many points as we could get, given the strength of Woodcreek and Tamalpais. All of this provided great motivation for what was to come.

As I pre-rode the course, it seemed clear that the race would be won on the climbs, mainly the relatively long-lead up to Hurl Hill. My strategy was similar to the one I used at Petaluma, treat the hills as Fish El intervals, hitting them as hard as possible and grinding them out. The one difference was that the course is shorter than Petaluma, so I knew I needed to go out faster than at Petaluma and try to lead by the end of the first lap.

The team dinner was a nice diversion from my thoughts, and I enjoyed the camaraderie and fun times. After heading back to the hotel, I found myself ready for the next day and fairly easily fell to sleep.

After waking up, we headed down to the race course. We all watched the girls’ starts and cheered them on. We started to warm up, and I actually felt pretty good. While we waited at the start line, I thought about how I did well in the last race, and this calmed my nerves.

We started at a good pace, hitting the hill pretty hard. I got stuck behind a Redwood rider who was all over the place, so I quickly passed him at the first chance. I hit the first major descent in 4th, trailing three Tam riders, Hobey, Zach, and Pearson. It was here I discovered that I was unable to shift into my hardest gear in the back (single gear in the front). This became an issue on the rolling hills where the other riders could go faster on the flats and some downhill sections, and I was stuck spinning too much. By the time we hit the dip and started to head uphill, I was around 20 to 30 seconds behind Hobey who was leading the race.

As we began the long climb, I saw Zach start to drop and Pearson quickly got on his wheel. Looking at their body posture, Zach wasn’t having the best time, whereas Pearson looked strong. I saw Hobey getting further away from us in the distance and I knew I had to get up with him. I caught and passed Zach and Pearson and began gaining little by little on Hobey. I went into Fish El interval mode and eventually caught Hobey at the base of Hurl Hill. About halfway up, I passed Hobey and gained a little separation. At the top, I knew I needed to keep the pressure on until the end of the feed zone. By the end of the first lap, I had some separation, but I was not sure how much it was.

For the second lap, I told myself all the small hills were sprints. The need to constantly spin on the rolling hills and descents became tiresome and didn’t give me much time for a rest before the big climb. I hit the dip with no one around, so I figured I had pretty good separation. I still pushed as hard as I could, passing many D2 freshmen along the way. After I crossed the finish line for the second time and headed up the hill before the descent, I listened for cheers from a big Tam group so that I could get a sense of how far back my nearest Tam competitor was. I did not hear any cheers, so I figured I had a pretty good lead.

My third lap was make it or break it time. As I flew down the hill, I was about to begin one of the more stressful laps I have experienced. The trail was clogged with other riders and I was forced into many off trail passes. Any of these could end poorly, but I knew I could not slow down. By the time I reached Hurl Hill, I probably had already passed 20-30 riders in this final lap. I crested Hurl Hill for the last time, knowing I just needed to finish. My younger brother met me at the top and ran along side me, telling me he could run as fast as I was going so I might want to speed up. I was dead tired, exhausted by the non-stop hill climbs, risky passes, and constant spinning. I summoned my remaining energy and raced to the end. At long last, the finish line was in sight. I sprinted to the end and crossed the line with arms in the air and a smile on my face.

Such a great Norcal season for Drake and so much fun for all! I was bummed when later in the day Wyatt and Dylan were hurt. I am glad they are recovering and looking forward to future rides with them. I can’t wait for States, it is going to be a blast! Los Olivos is another great hilly setting, the type of race course that brings out the best in Drake riders.

Ronan Goulden

Laguna Seca, Norcal Champs

1st Place


Howdy all!

Apologies for the late race report but I thought I’d still just give a little update on my race from last weekend! First off as I know it has been said many times but you can never get enough…Congrats everyone!! You all kicked butt and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of this supportive, inspiring, and all around amazing community, you all are the absolute best.

As far as last weekend goes I can honestly say it is a race I will never forget as every single detail is still continuously rushing through my head. To start off the race day I woke up feeling pretty ready to give it my all. In the morning I actually managed to put some food down my stomach..well I mean if half a banana, ¼ of a bagel, two bites of yogurt, 6 almonds, and 2 apple slices counts then I guess you can say I had a feast! After having a pretty quick and feel good warm-up I headed up to the start line where I felt the nerves begin to kick in. As I approached the start I noticed there was a small number of varsity girls, only about 11 and on of the top 4 crazy good riders from San Domenico wasn’t there. Did I have a shot to make podium? I quickly pushed this thought to the back of my head as I saw the other 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th place girls in front of me ready to race and myself sitting in 10th place had a little shot to push past all this girls, but hey you never know!

As the countdown began I knew I had to shoot out quickly if I wanted to keep in the front pack. As I took my first pedal stroke I sprinted toward the first gravel hill finding myself in the top 5 at the top of the hill. As the the trail soon came to single track a couple girls had gotten in front of me and I found myself sitting in 8th plack. Ok I thought to myself, you have to stay with this pack. Watching the four girls in front of me as the top 3 crazy fast girls had already speeded ahead I knew this was anyone’s game. Who was going to back off first? Who wasn’t giving up? I had no idea. One thing I did know though was I was not letting these girls out of my sight. From past experience I have learned that riding alone flat out sucks and if you can get with a pack stay with them!! As we speeded down the single track we were a close pack and only came to a sudden halt when a rattlesnake decided to shoot out in front of us as we screamed like 5 year old girls. I tried to laugh and make a joke of the situation to the group but got no response and saw that this was serious time..hehe:) As we began the up I found myself right on the girl’s tails with no one in sight behind me. We hit hurl hill and when I tried to find my own route to the opposite side of the group Viveka from redwood turned around to what I was doing and suggest I get back in the line and try to draft up the hill. Drafting? Hmm good call I thought to myself and quickly got back in line, clearly I haven’t had much experience biking with a pack. Hitting the top of hurl hill and passing through the finish line with three laps ahead of us I found myself moving up past three girls and hitting 5th place. The girls were still right on my back tire and told me to lead for a bit, clearly thinking I would get tired and they would quickly pass right by me. But no! Little did they know I still had lots and lots of energy left in me. The second lap went by quickly as I powered up hurl hill with the yelling of “Do it for your mom” in the corner of my ear pushing me up the grueling hill. Lap two was down and passing through the finish line again I pushed passed Whitney in 4th place and found myself taking the lead. It was just me and her now as the other three girls had fallen behind after the hill. We worked together on this lap making sure we left energy for the fourth. Approaching the final lap I heard the hoots and hollers including a “You are my inspiration!” from Davy Jay, that pushed me to keep giving it my all. Could I really be on my way to podium? Still didn’t believe it. As the fourth lap began I found myself spinning out on the first single track uphill and Whitney passing by me as I struggled to get my pedal going again. Frustrated and annoyed I quickly sprinted up the hill to get right back on and keep going. I couldn’t get discouraged now, I was still in this. Now on my own with Whitney in yards ahead and no one in site behind me I gave it everything I had to make it to that finish! Hurl hill hit for the 4th time as I approached it to see Whitney walking. Nope I couldn’t, I was riding the whole way! I put my head down and trudged up gritting my teeth as I saw her ride away up the gravel hill. I hit that final push and turned the corner to see she was too far ahead, but wait I was still if 5th! With a smile filling my face from one ear to the other I sprinted passed the feed zone and down the fireroad to see the finish line with all the girls coaches and parents cheering. Crossing with a beaming face rather than the usually half dead and miserable expression I couldn’t have been prouder of myself. Collapsing into the arms of the girls I let out a huge breath..It was over and I had given it everything, including accomplishing the goal I had set in the back of my head at the start of the season…podium:)

This is a race I will never forget and can’t thank everyone enough time for all their support pushing me up the hills and giving it my all. This team is amazing and I am so proud of everyone once again! Now lets go kick some more butt at states!!!!

Marya- 5th place Varsity Girls

May 9, 2016