I drove down after school on Friday, instead of missing school like I did for the first Fort Ord race. This meant that I didn't get to pre-ride the course, although I couldn't have anyway because I forgot my number plate. The McFaddens brought it down Saturday morning, for which I will be forever grateful. I drove straight to the hotel, and had dinner at Gusto with my mom, allowing me to get to bed earlier than I could have if I had gone to Louie's, around 9:45. I woke up bright and early the next day hoping to pre-ride, but the plate didn't quite get there in time, which I of course can't complain about. The ample time I had did help with my nutrition, as I was able to eat half a grilled chicken sandwich, three slices of poppy-seed challah with cream cheese, and a glass of my standard pre-race drink, chocolate milk and orange juice. I hopped on the trainer, and drank a bottle of water with two Gu electrolyte packets in it, but I felt like I worked too hard on the warm up. I walked over to staging, getting a fairly good general start position alongside Clyde and Renee. When the race actually started, I felt good, being able to accelerate much faster due to riding clipless for the third time in my life. Unfortunately, the folks in front of me were extremely cautious after seeing the pileups during the girls' starts, so they stayed spread out and I could't pass as many people as my speed would have allowed. I then settled into the first lap, passing a few folks in the first half. I did fall once, pulling my clip out too late on one of those janky uphill left-hand turns. I recovered in time to disappoint the guy trying to blow past me, and had some fun on the downhill berms. The worst part of the race for me was probably towards the end of the first lap, where I had just pushed really hard to pass someone and came to the bottom of that really rutted, washed-out climb. My biggest fear was not climbing it the first time, but knowing I would have to do it again. However, I got into a good pace during the second lap. Although I didn't pass too many people, I avoided getting passed by several (except for the groups of 6 guys who don't call their passes and force you into a bush). I would hear a tire behind me, start pushing, and then not see anyone at the end of my effort, which is either an indicator that I can really push if I need to, or possibly that I was hearing things due to oxygen deprivation. Either way, that fear of getting passed pushed me through the rest of the race, and I didn't even notice when I went up the dreaded climb again. I finished 22nd (I think), which was five or so spots better than my previous finish. In conclusion, I felt much better about this race, especially in terms of my nutrition and equipment, but I need to work on my fitness level to be able to avoid the choice between speed and endurance and just go fast the entire race.
Luke Tracy, sophomore boys, Oakland Technical High School, 22 / 33