I. Race-Day Morning: The alarm blast woke me at 6:30 in the am, and I was like, "I'm gonna set it to 6:35", and so I did. I then got ready and we were off to the races! I had some bites of an Arizmendi scone, to get some initial fuel in. I'd hoped to pre-ride Friday, but that didn't happen, due to my poor communication! Anyways, I went on the pre-ride /w/ coach Johnny, and he suggested that on every climb, I should make an attack during the race. I finished the pre-ride, drank a few cups of water, ate 2 granola bars, and watched the girls' starts. Returning, I ate a big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter in it, a pear, and 2 hard-boiled eggs. I drank a few more cups of water, made sure my bike was ready to go, and changed into my race kit. I had some of those mini energy bars which I believe are fairly healthy; grains, Omega-3 and not too sweet, and got me feedzone bottles all sorted out. Tom helped me get my bike on the trainer, and during my warm-up, the rain began! It got pretty chilly, and Devin insisted that I wear a hoodie until all racers were lined up. I was worried that there would be a bottleneck at this start, especially during the heavy rain. I had a 12th place call-up, and the adrenaline was flowing through me when my name was called!
II. The Race: Coco told us that he wouldn't leave us hanging, and then he counted us off. My start was decent, and I passed a couple riders on the singletrack. It was muddy from the start, and figuratively speaking, my brakes and cogs/cassettes were pissed off at me! I sympathized with my bike, and it was a struggle to race in such conditions. When Connor dismounted, I encouraged him as I passed by. I passed a pack of riders on one of the little climbs, and was cautious on the slippy corners, despite Morgan and Devin telling me to let go of the brakes on some of those turns (I didn't want to slide out, and at times felt like I was close to doing so.) I got passed by 2 riders, including Connor. I followed them up the gravel hill, passing 1 or 2 Berkeley High riders towards the top. I got passed on the descent, and passed a D1 on the flat section. I passed again on the climb where most of the spectators were, and proceeded to lap 2. I passed an El Cerrito rider after the 1st descent, and another on the flats. About halfway through this lap, the rain had let up, but I was already demoralized, as my bike didn't sound too good, and some mud/sand got in my eyes. However, I knew that if I forfeited, I would regret it after, and so I kept going, and thought, "Wow, It's gonna be great when I'm done!" Nils passed on the fire road descent, and I stuck with him for a bit. He got ahead going into the final lap. At this point, I grabbed a bottle at the feedzone and ate my gel on the flat section before the flowy descent, some of which ended up on the handlebars of my bike! I passed a couple of riders, and Julien caught me. We rode together for a bit, both of us passing Nils. Julien passed before the gravel hill, and I passed him on the hill. I put some power down through the home stretch, including the final, punchy climbs. I snaked around the twisty section, looped around the finish area, and sprinted for the line, my bike and body dirty as hell!
III. Recap: Although a good portion of the race was not too enjoyable, I pushed on and got a 12th place finish in JV D2! This is not my strongest course, but I felt like I gave it my all. Despite the fact that there was very little climbing, there were hardly any places to recover. What went well: I pushed hard, kept going when I felt like stopping, was fairly consistent, and finished in the top 15! What I need to work on: Had I drank a little more fluid during the race, my legs probably would have felt a little better. At times they were sort of on the verge of cramping up, but I acknowledge that it is harder to drink at Ft. Ord since the course is so fast. Overall, I'm proud of both my result, and the team's results as a whole!
- Desmond Griffith, junior varsity boys, Oakland Technical High School, 17 / 52