I left Oakland with the Binders at about 10:30 Saturday morning. We arrived at the race venue at around 12:45 to eat lunch and watch the northern conference JV/varsity race. Once that ended Lucas and I wandered around the course, trying to get a sneak peak of what we would be pre-riding. At around 3:15 he and I left with Mike to go on a lap. I went really slow to try to find the best lines. At about 4:15 we picked up a couple more riders and did a second lap, where I showed some of my teammates the best lines in the beginning sections, but then decided to attack the course at a faster pace to see what it would be like in a race. Unfortunately, when I was going faster I forgot to session the rock pile, which was the only bit I had trouble with, so after the lap I decided I would do a cyclocross dismount on that last 8 ft during the race. Then the Binders and I went to our hotel where I met up with my family, showered with Tecnu, and promptly relaxed. We then headed over to the restaurant where I ate a little bit of everything that was given to our table. I then headed back to the hotel and got in bed at around 10:30.
On the morning of the race my family and I headed down to the venue at around 8 to eat breakfast and watch the girls start. For breakfast I had a big bowel of oatmeal with brown sugar and two bananas. After watching the girls start I headed back to the pit zone and started warming up. I enjoyed the warm up; it made me sweat, but I was drinking and eating well during it so I felt really good heading to staging. At the start I got lined up in between the red netting and Alex from Piedmont, so I felt really good about not being ran into by other riders during the opening sprint.
Coco counted down, and we were off. I think I didn’t have the strongest start, but I didn’t get run into, so I was pretty happy. heading into the first single track uphill, I passed Lucas who took a spill right when the asphalt turned back into dirt. He promptly passed me, and from there I knew he had the adrenaline from his fall to boost him to his goal of podium. For the first half of the first lap, Arlo and I were separated by about 5 riders in one group. Nearing the rock pile we began to run into D1 racers and by the time I was at the bottom of the pile, it was clogged with walking riders and Arlo was nowhere to be seen. I ended up dismounting at the very bottom of the hill and sprinting up, passing a lot of the slower riders but still losing time myself. Once I got back on my bike it was just me behind a D2 rider from San Francisco who I drafted for the rest of the first lap and the majority of the second. During the second lap he and I were struggling to get around the D1 riders, so I felt like I needed to pass him. About 2/3 of the way through that lap I began to loose steam and the SF rider started to pull ahead. I tried to keep up with him but couldn’t until one of the very last hills before the paved road. He was tailing a D1 rider and they both went on the wrong line, causing both of them to stop. I jumped at the opportunity to pass both of them, and put in a hard effort until the finish, and I ended up finishing far ahead of him.
All in all I loved this race. I didn’t have any crashes and I placed better than my previous races, but I really need to work on nutrition during the race itself.
Andrew Fee, freshman boys, Bishop O'Dowd, 14 / 37