2017 NorCal race #1 "Fun at the Fort" Fort Ord (Southern Conference D2)


On Saturday, I came to fort ord at around 8. I didn't pre ride, or even ride a bike that day besides the race, so I was a little off. I starting warming up on the trainer doing my best to make it hard. Then, I lined up in the 3rd row for JV start. The start went off hard and I got boxed out near bushes and lost places. I new that this race was only 3 laps so I dug deep to make some sketchy passes on anyone who seemed remotely slower than me. I knew I could hang with fellow Oakland compositer and good friend Max, but unfortunately he got away at the start and I just couldn't close the gap. So, like most races I was by myself and tried to rally the descents to make up time for my weak legs on the uphill. I could turn around at parts and see Anders about a minute back, and I went hard to not allow him to catch me. Before the race, I predicted I would get 6th because I always get 6th and just miss the podium. After the race, I got 6th, not being able to close the gap between Max (5th) but I was happy to hold off the mighty Anders and also beat a lot of people who had a higher call up than me. I look forward to the next race and had a good time at this one. Have a good one

- Caleb O'Hare, Bishop O'Dowd, JV D2 Boys

Hello Everyone,

My race report starts with me having been touring colleges (while sick) the entire week leading up to race weekend. I pre rode the course on Friday with Coach Morgan. On Saturday, I got to the racecourse at 8:15am in order to watch/film the girls race start. I then relaxed for a few hours before the JV race warm-ups started. Since there were no thru-axles for the trainers, a group of about 8 of us warmed up on the road which actually felt pretty good. We got to the start line and I was not nervous at all because I knew that my goal for the race was to have fun - because I haven't been able to train much at all this year due to a busy Junior year schedule, I knew I wasn't going to be placing too well but I was fine with that.

The neutral start felt more natural than I thought it was going to feel. I got onto the dirt around 10th place which was pretty good. It was pretty much a stream of all 58 of us JV riders on the single track. I was following the guy in front of me not too close, but close enough that the people behind me would not feel the need to pass me. Unfortunately, I drifted right from the guy I was following and immediately fell into a ditch causing me to crash hard. I landed hitting my head twice and tearing up the side of my body. The guy behind me, who was following very closely, ran right over my right arm with his bike (which hurt!). I then got up and watched the entire JV field pass me while I was regaining my senses. I decided I was well enough to try and finish the race. I got onto the bike and quickly realized that my handlebars were off aligned with my wheel but I didn't want to stop so I dealt with that the rest of the race (I ran into a lot of trees because it threw off my steering). I got some crazy knotting cramps in my thighs and calfs which ere honestly unbearable but luckily never had any back cramps due to Coach Tom's core classes. I ended the race in 32nd. This means that the next race will be my first time ever in general staging which will be interesting.

- Nathan Horst, Piedmont, JV D2 Boys

Hi team!

This was my first JV race, and I got to sleep in and arrive at the course at around 10:30. Unfortunately, I forgot the Oakland Composite flag and my warm riding jacket. I was also bummed that I didn't get to cheer for other teammates very much because I arrived so late. After a road warm up, I rolled up to the start at 12:15.

5...4...3...2...1...GO! From my 13th place call up, I ended up around 15th on the singletrack. The rolling start did a good job of sorting people out before the bottleneck, and nobody from our race crashed on the pavement. During most of the first lap, I waited for the riders to space out a bit, then attacked, pushing through a couple groups of riders on the short climbs. This was my first NorCal race that I did not pre-ride, and I had to adjust to the course on the first lap. Some of the sandy corners and ruts caught me off guard, but I never came off the bike. I came through the finish line in around 10th place at the end of the first lap, and took a water bottle gratefully from Morgan. Making sure to stay hydrated and eat a couple of dusty shot bloks, I kept up a good pace, and passed a couple more people in the beginning of my second lap. During most of my second and third laps, I didn't see too many people, mostly D1 riders. I think I was in around 7th place, feeling pretty strong and content where I was. However, one guy I passed earlier caught back up and passed me near the end of the race, and I couldn't quite stay on his tail. He managed a sketchy pass of a few Berkeley High racers, leaving me stuck behind them in the curvy section. Not wanting to crash, I waited for an easier spot to pass, and came across the finish line a good 20 seconds behind him, in 8th. I am proud of my performance, and excited to get a call up at future races!

What I did well: Drinking and eating, not crashing, did my best, and got a result I am very happy with :)

What to work on: More training! Pre-ride would have helped a bit, I will try to make the next one.

Thanks for everybody's support, and especially whoever brought and cooked the chicken! Go Oakland!

- Anders Bjork, Piedmont, JV D2 Boys

Race Report #1
Mathison Richards

My story starts on the Monday before the race. I was sick. The cold that got everyone got me, so there really was no dodging this one. Sadly I got much more Ill than anyone in my family and it kept me from practicing or exercising the entire week before. This set my expectations quite low. I struggled to sleep the nights before because of my cough. I decided that I’ll do my best. I think I did a little more than what my body was comfortable with, but that’s the point.

I arrived to pre-ride, and after getting my bike ready I realized my seat and seatpost was missing, which would become a subject of some humor through the race weekend. I had to borrow the missing parts for the weekend from Brian, the neutral support mechanic. Many thanks to him for being a real ass-saver(pun intended). I rode around the course once and quickly at that. It was a really fun and fast course and I couldn’t help myself. I was very pleased about the lack of mud.  Soon after I stopped moving, my cough resumed, and even worse than before, oh well.

As per tradition, I had dinner with my dad at the monterey fish house. I would recommend it to anyone looking for authentic and hearty seafood. It’s always packed with people, so we made a reservation quite ahead of time.

I fell asleep later than I would’ve liked so I slept in so that I would be somewhat rested before my race.

At this point preparing for racing is second nature, so I don’t remember much other than having to warm up differently. I took the warmup easy, but I still felt out of it. A bad omen for the race to come. Somehow I didn’t feel nervous.  I suspect it was the lack of pressure of performing at peak ability.

The new race start was terrible in my opinion, and not because it wasn’t safer, which it was. I struggled with it because my condition prevented me from being able to sprint as fast as I could, and I ended up losing places. I decided I would just move at a consistent pace. One after the other I passed people, keeping in mind that my stomach and lungs weren’t happy sprinting. I felt a confidence I never felt before and I bombed every downhill and took corners as fast as I could, almost losing traction but not quite. The large drop came up one me fast and I landed hard, losing a second or two to get my bearings and get out of the sand trap of a corner in front of it. I kept chugging along. I made my move in the middle of the last lap to catch the rider who I fought to keep up with. We passed many times back and forth. He got ahead and I lost sight of him until the staging area came into sight. He was so close! I put on full afterburner to catch him. He beat me by one second! It really goes to show seconds count.

I’m almost completely rid of my cough. I wish you all a healthy spring and strong race season. Thanks to all of my amazing coaches and parents who give their time to supporting us. 

- Mathison Richards, Piedmont, JV D2 Boys

I'm at the starting line, at the very back of the JV girls. Although it is my first race in Nor Cal, I am feeling surprisingly calm. My warm-up went smoothly despite the fact that there was a slight mix up with some of the trainer parts, and I felt so prepared and supported by all of the coaches and parents. The mood was lightened by the wonderful singing by my teammates. My coaches call over to me to remind me of my main task at the beginning of the race: get in the front of the pack before we go into the singletrack.

As the announcer counts down, I clip in and get ready to go. When the front leader pulls of the road, I immediately hammer down into the pedals to pass. I end up third as we head into the trails. I relax for a bit, but I try to pull off from the girls behind me. I can see the girl in front of me, a few seconds ahead, but I cannot seem to catch her so I am alone. I feel pretty relaxed at this point in the race. The pre-riding paid off; I am prepared for the sandy corners and the downhills. As I finish the first lap, I am greeted my teammates, which gives me an extra boost of energy and a smile.

I start the second lap, but that hill at the beginning gets me pretty tired. I feel myself slowing down, so I try to push harder. At this point, the girl in front of me is out of sight for most of the time. As I approach the finish again, the girl behind me has almost caught up. I turn on my engines and try to get up every hill in the final lap as fast as I can. I take some risks on the downhills and corners, but it is worth it because I am able to lose the girl behind me and make up time on the girl in front of me.

I finish off the final lap, satisfied with how I did. I head to the pit zone and fuel up so that I am ready to cheer on the rest of the team. Cheering on my teammates and getting to see their determination and smiles is a blast!

I am happy that I was able to achieve my main goal of having good start, but I am excited because I know that there is a lot of room for improvement. Next race, I want to catch the girl ahead of me, so I know that I will have to work extra hard in every workout and spend more time going hard on my bike outside. I will also try to improve my eating and drinking on my bike because I did not drink or eat enough during the race.

I had a great time at my first race, and I am looking forward to the rest. I got to do all of my favorite things: hang out with friends, ride bikes, and experience new things. Thank you to all of the coaches, parents, and my teammates for an amazing, positive time!

- Aiko Takata, Oakland Tech, JV Girls


   I got up and at em nice and early, and hopped in the Acura. I then slept for a good while, and ate a peanut b and jelly sandwich. I pre-rode with the whole gang, and my legs were feeling a little more sore than I had hoped for. I then did some heckling, and proceeded to eat a healthy plateful of salmon pasta, the ideal pre-race meal. After filling bottles and sticking gu's to my bike, I went and did the road warm-up with coach Johnny, during which my legs began to feel better.
   After being sufficiently intimidated by that guy with the fancy trek, the race started and I dropped his @55. People weren't being too aggressive with the start, so we sort of just pacelined to the dirt once the leadout dude peeled off. I got to the dirt in 8th or 9th or something, and passed a few people until I got onto these two SF kids who seemed civilized enough for me to hold on. We were a group of 3 for most of the first lap, before catching some guy with an aero helmet in our cat. We soon dropped him,putting us in 3rd, 4th, and 5th, then rode the second lap the same way. The two SF guys swapped leads occasionally and I tried my best to hold the wheel. We came through for the 3rd lap and I forgot my feed, which was okay because I still had a little bit of extra water. Then, 1/3 of the way through the 3rd lap, the leading SF guy tried to make some sketchy pass on a D1 kid and went down, which put us down as well. The other SF kid and I got up a little more quickly than he, so we put 10 or 15 seconds into him while he got back up. I tried to make an attack about a mile later, but somehow he held my wheel, and attacked a minute later. I did my best to hold his wheel but my matches had been burned. Shortly after this attack, the other SF kid caught me and attacked, and again, I was unable to respond. I pushed on to the finish for 5th and then did a little cool down with Caleb.oh.
   My legs felt pretty strong during the race, but I didn't quite have enough to successfully attack. I drank a bottle of electrolytes while warming up, then one during the race. I effectively ate 2 gu blocks during the race, then 1 right before finishing. Pretty satisfied with my results in such a big field, and I aim to improve my result at Laguna Seca. Adios

- Max McFadden, Oakland Composite, JV D2 Boys

Hi all,

Last Saturday I raced in my first norcal race at Fort Ord. I drove down around noon on Friday afternoon and got there in time to do two preride laps. The next morning I arrived at the race course at about 7 and hung around in the pit zone for like an hour. At about 8 I got on a trainer and started my warm up. I did some jumps and felt extremely nervous, but also ready when it was time to go. I got to the start pretty early in order to ensure a good starting position and was able to wiggle my way to the front row during staging. As we pulled to the line I was very nervous, but I calmed down a bit when I realized that the girl next to me was much more freaked out than I was. When I heard go I quickly tried to jump out in front, but failed to do so because I missed my pedal like three times. I was already passed by many girls in the row behind me when I finally got my foot clipped in. At that point I sprinted out to the front and ended up reaching the singled track in the lead. I quickly started to try and create a gap and had gotten a bit of a lead about three minutes in. Suddenly, I hit a rut out of nowhere and went down pretty hard. Quickly I was passed by three girls behind me and I thought that was it. When I got back on my bike I closed the gap very fast and started to pass the girls one by one. I passed two of the girls and got to the leader who I settled in behind for about four minutes. After a little bit I realized that I could push the pace a little so I passed the girl in the lead and started to create a gap. Soon I realized that the girl had dropped off and I was alone. I continued to push hard, trying to extend my lead and was alone for the rest of the first lap. As I continued and began my second lap I got stuck behind some of the Sophomore girls. When this happened I was pretty nervous because I did not want to lose my lead. I was  behind the group of four for a good five or six minutes. Finally, I was able to pass, but I used a lot of energy to do that. This was a bit of a bummer because I knew I had to push hard to hold on to my lead. I did this and ended up finishing in first. It was extremely exciting to cross and get the win as well as seeing the rest of the girls finish strong. I went back to hang out, cleaned up my cuts, and had some food. Overall, it was an awesome first race experience and I learned a lot for next time!


-Lanie Goldberg, Oakland Tech, Freshman Girls

Individual Results
Team Results