I've been sick for a bit over a week now, so with that and the rain I wasn't able to get in very much riding in the week leading up to the race. Also, a couple days before the race when I was washing my bike, I noticed a crack on the chainstay. It was pretty sizable and I wash my bike frequently so I think it was brand new or else I would've noticed it before. We wouldn't get a new rear triangle in time so I decided I would just race it anyway and it would probably be fine. So the day before I got in 1 pre-ride lap on a loaner bike. I started with Emmet and Caleb but got dropped pretty quickly. But nonetheless, I decided that this course was marginally better than the first one but that's not really saying much. But still, they did do some trail work and it was running pretty smooth. We did our normal night-before-race routine, which is dinner at Louie Linguini's, toss around the frisbee on the beach, go back to the sandcastle inn, toss the frisbee around in the parking lot, chill in a hotel room for a little bit, then go to our individual rooms and go to bed. I got a good amount of sleep and I was feeling less sick that morning than I had felt the days leading up to the race. I eventually got to the venue after some miscommunication, and ate a fat breakfast. I had a big bowl of oatmeal with some brown sugar and a lot of almonds, half of a bagel with cream cheese, half of a bagel with peanut butter, and a banana. We did some mellow heckling of the girls' races and then meandered back to the team tent.
Eventually it came time to warm up so I rolled out nice and early about an hour before staging, wearing my lightest kit and a minimal long sleeve thing just for some extra warmth. After all, it was a nice day out there. So I was doing my efforts up that paved hill a little ways from the parking lot, and out of nowhere it starts raining! It wasn't too bad at first and I thought "oh I'll be fine I'm already halfway done with my warm-up". But halfway through my next effort, it really started coming down, and on my way back down the hill it started pouring hail! It was quite unpleasant and at this point I was pretty cold and uncomfortable, so I headed back to the tent to hopefully finish my warm-up under there. The only trainer left was right between two of the tents, so it wasn't stopping rain very well, and while I was standing under it, it dumped a load of water on top of me. This was pretty frustrating and definitely not something that was gonna help me warm up. I was not feeling very patient at this time and we were having trouble mounting my bike to the trainer, so I just took it off and finished my warm-up on the road. I came back still pretty cold, and was told that I was missing my call-up! Coco was trying to start the race early so that we avoid the next shower of rain or something, but only 6/10 call-ups were there while he was trying to start lining people up, so we kinda waited until normal time, and everybody showed up. By the way, I ate a gu at the start of my warm-up, drank a whole bottle of drink mix during, and ate another gu at the start line. So me and Noah lined up next to each other 1st and 2nd, and I was really shivering at this point. My kit was soaking wet, and I was wearing just the jersey and bibs, no base layer or anything. But they started the race, Matt Garrison jumped the start a bit but no matter, me and Noah both got the whole shot and were side by side, and he let me take the lead. I think I pushed the pace moderately hard for the first half-lap, and the course was really wet and slippery. It was still raining at this point, and some corners were extremely slimy which I actually enjoyed on the descents. But the course was really muddy, and at times there was a little stream in the middle of the trail for a while. Noah took the lead on the gravel hill and I stayed on his wheel. At times we got little 3 second gaps on everyone but there was no point in trying to go off the front on the first lap at fort ord. I took the lead again going into the second lap, and me and Noah took pretty much the same rotation as the lap before. Then, out of absolutely nowhere, Birdo took the lead right at the end of that second gravel road section where it turns left into some tight singletrack. This had me stoked for certain, and going into the 3rd lap, I believe we were down to a lead group of Noah, Me, Birdo, "Enduro" Josh Vahlberg, Rylan "Ryan" Loader, and Nathan "WhAt's sENdeRs rAcINg?" Davis. I ate a gu early in the 3rd lap, and Me and Noah stayed on the front for the most part, but Birdo did some good work up there too. First Rylan dropped off, then Josh, and going into the last lap it was just a group of 4. 3 senders, and Nathan. I took a bottle at the feed zone. Noah led going into this lap, but I passed and did sort of an attack to get into the lead probably 1/3 of the way into the lap. My quads started cramping around then, but it wasn't as bad as Laguna Seca. I stayed ahead up the gravel hill, and all the way until we hit the flat section by the shooting range. At this point, I looked back and saw that we had about 5 seconds on Nathan, who looked like he was hurting. We were all really stoked about this and hammered on toward the finish. I let Noah go ahead getting back onto the singletrack after the flat fireroad, and was planning to pass on that little uphill rise right before you cross the road and do the last brutal climb. Unfortunately, there were 3 jv kids crawling up the rise and I couldn't get around them easily enough to have a solid chance of passing Noah. Noah attacked really hard on the steep hill, and dropped Birdo, but I dug deep and was able to stay on his wheel. I remained on his wheel, but he was hammering and I wasn't able to get around him right before the last little descent. Into the finishing straight, I tried to sprint, but the turn and the dip right before the finish made it really awkward and I pretty much just stayed behind him through the finish. I was still really stoked about a 2nd place though, and even more stoked about Birdo's 3rd place! Out of Nowhere!
After the race I was pretty drained and my legs were still cramping a bit, but the podium was craazy and really just didn't make any sense given Birdo's no-training-only-shuttling training plan.
What I did well: worked together and controlled the race with Noah, dug pretty deep, got my best finish so far, got to ride with Birdo for pretty much the whole race
What I could Work on: I guess nutrition (because I was cramping)? although I thought I was actually eating and drinking pretty well, maybe warm up on a trainer when there is a chance of rain, Ride a bike that's not broken
Congrats to the team definitely some solid results out there on Saturday!
Max McFadden, varsity boys, Oakland Composite, 2 / 25