My mom and I left Oakland at around 1 and got to the course to preride by 3:15. We waited a little while for other people to show up. We ended up starting the lap at around 3:45. I was feeling pretty good about the uphills but a little nervous about some of the sandier turns on the long downhill section. On one of them I lost focus and skidded out, which resulted in me reopening my bad knee scrape, so it was stinging for the rest of the ride. When we made it back to the pit zone overall I was feeling pretty good about Saturday, and was eager to race.
I then went back to the hotel to shower and headed to Louie Linguini where I ate a whole pepperoni pizza and two glasses of water. I then pretty much went straight back to the hotel where I got in bed by about 9:30, leaving me about 9 hours of sleep.
Overnight I slept on my neck wrong so I woke up with a kink in my neck which made it painful to look too far to the right. Luckily, during the race it didn’t hurt. My mom and I got the to pit zone at around 8:15 to eat breakfast and watch the girls start. I then had a little downtime before hooking my bike up to a trainer and starting to warm up. I enjoyed the warm up a lot more than last race; I felt winded and warm by the end of it, and was able to stay warm all the way til the start.
I then made my way over the the starting zones, where I was put into the 4th row of riders (but I ended up sneaking into the third). The countdown was a lot less formal this time, and it seemed to start almost immediately, which helped a lot with my pre-race jitters. I barely had time to get nervous! About 20 feet after the start, the rider next to me began to drift into my line and started to collide with me. We both got jolted, and both my feet unclipped somehow, which set me back about 10 positions, but I didn’t fall. Going into the opening hill I was pretty far behind Lucas and Arlo, who I had planned to get to but the stray rider thwarted that plan. I then decided to try to catch up with them on the steep paved/dirt hill, but as I was passing people, two riders simultaneously stopped and started walking... on both sides of the trail. It was super frustrating, but I had to get off and walk my bike up too, where I again lost a couple of positions.
Going into the downhill, I was at the back of a pretty slow pack of about 8 riders. There was no room for me to pass all of them, and we were too close together for me to pass them one at a time. We stayed in that group all the way until the base of Hurl Hill, where I made my move and advanced past that big group. That move took a lot out of me, and I was feeling very winded when two riders passed me on the gradual gravel hill. Going into the second lap, I passed one of the riders that passed me on the gravel hill, and he began to draft me and kept making rude comments towards my lines on the downhill. It was very frustrating because I couldn’t get him off my tail. On the loopy open downhill he passed me again, and gained a lot of ground: he quickly passed a Skyline rider that was going very slow, but by the time I got to the Skyline rider there were no good places to pass him until the base of Hurl Hill. I was finally able to get around him, and put in a very hard effort on the lower sections of the hill. I caught up to the rider that was drafting me, and I could see Lucas and Arlo but they were too far out of reach with too little race left. I then put my focus into beating my heckler. I put in a quick burst of speed on a tight turn and got around him and continued to ride up the hill as fast as my legs would let me. I gained about 20 yards on him by the gravel downhill, and sprinted to the finished with no other riders close to me.
I felt pretty good this race except for my first round of Hurl Hill, where I got passed by a couple riders. I was expecting to be able to catch up to Lucas and Arlo, but from my little scuffle at the start and people walking up hills, I lost too much time to achieve that goal. I think I need to work on passing, starts, and nutrition for the next race.
- Andrew Fee, freshman boys, Bishop O'Dowd 16 / 40