NorCal race #1 Fort Ord East Garrison (Southern Conference)

Max McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity Boys

Max McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity Boys

The day before the race I drove up with my family midday and got to the course around 3 with plenty of time to pre-ride. I did 3 laps of pre-ride with a couple of ~5 minute sub threshold efforts. My impression of the course was about what I expected it to be at Fort Ord; I found it to be uneventful and basic, overall just another boring-ish Fort Ord course. Despite my particular distaste for Fort Ord as a race venue, and how flat the course was overall, I knew it would still be a difficult race the next day. That evening I had 1.5 pasta dishes and a salad at Louie Linguini's. I shared a room with Dan and Emmet at the Sand Castle Inn, and after a couple hours of heated political discussion, we got to sleep around 11 I think. This was not too late because we didn't need to wake up until 8 the next morning, allowing us a full 9 hours of slumber.

We got to the venue just a few minutes before the starts of the girls' races, and found Birdo to join our group of Oak Comp boys in heckling the girls and frosh/soph boys races. I ate a bowl of oatmeal with a bunch of almonds and a banana whilst heckling, and finished up eating around 9:30. Fast Forward to warm-up, Me, Dan, Caleb, Emmet, and Finn Cunningham (with guest appearances from Birdo Boards and Stefanthedon) did a healthy 40 minute road warm-up with a couple of medium efforts, like the day before, and a bunch of sprints to get the legs fired up. We all lined up for our race at 12:30, and we were off! I had an ok start, edging my way up to 6th, Noah Hayes, Varsity Leader, got the hole shot and flew into first position, where he feels most comfortable, and somehow Birdo got way up into 3rd right away (even though he started in the 3rd row)! The first lap was moderately fast, but definitely not unmanageable; Noah stayed on the front for the lap, and I moved around 5th or 6th up in the lead group. In the following lap and a half, the race got pretty tactical, and besides some moderate efforts up the steep climbs (which would split the lead group in half), the field would slow wayy down on any flat or slight uphill section. I kept telling Matt Saldana to pull but I don't think he was too interested in my request, because he never pulled. On the second half of the third lap, Noah Hayes put in an attack, and nobody really chased that hard at first, so I took the lead and chilled out to let Noah get a gap. Then, Matt Garrison furiously came around me and pulled the whole lead group back to Noah, who seemed to be just doing a moderate pace to let the field get back to him eventually. Then, on the gravel hill in the last lap, Noah Hayes went full sprint, and while the lead 4 or so were able to just hang on to the top of the hill, after that I got stuck behind Matt Garrison, who did not want to keep pedaling hard, letting Noah get away, followed closely by Matt Saldana. I passed Matt G, and on the fire road 1.5 miles out from the finish, I drafted Saldana and passed him for the singletrack, and I saw that Noah now had a big enough gap we would probably not be able to close it. It was only 8 or 10 seconds, but we were close enough to the finish that it was unlikely we could best the power of Noah Hayes. I let Matt Garrison pull on the flat section near the finish, and sprinted past him right before the road crossing to put myself in 2nd place. I went as fast as I could up that steep dusty hill, but I could feel my legs giving out about halfway up it. Nonetheless, I went fast enough so that the guys in my group (still Rylan, Matt G, and Matt C) couldn't make the pass, and pedaled towards the finish. Unfortunately, Rylan was (allegedly) able to out sprint me, putting me in third (our chip times were tied to the hundredth of a second, so they used a picture from some girl's iphone). I think I ate and drank well enough, drinking almost 1.5 bottles in 1 hour 20 minutes, and eating 2 gu blocks, and 2 gu gels (and a scoop of Skratch drink mix). I'm looking forward to racing at Laguna Seca in 2 weeks.

- Max McFadden, varsity boys, Oakland Composite, 3/26

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity Boys

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity Boys

I. The Morning of: After the unrelenting blast of my phone alarm, which went off at 6:15 in the AM, I eventually got myself up and out the door. As we drove to the course, the car thermometer slowly but surely crept downwards, and by the time we pulled into the Ft. Ord parking lot, it was a chilly 27 (Preride was unpleasant with finger-less gloves!) I had my oatmeal, almond, egg, and banana breakfast and made sure to get some extra hydration in. I adjusted my cleats and bike, mentally prepared myself, and with the help of Tom and Karl, got my thru-axle bike on the trainer. I ate a few clif bloks before starting, and happily approached the line when I was called up. 

II. The Race: I felt confident at the start, even though I was passed by some more daring peoples who didn't want to end up in a bottleneck. After the first descent, I caught up to Ethan and Nils, passing them both on the punchy climb. At this point, Dylan was in sight. I was cautious on the super loose downhill turn, and made a few passes on the gradual uphill in the headwind. I felt tired but still pumped, and received some encouragement from Conner, who had caught up then. We rode together until the top of the gravel hill, where he took the lead. On the new fire road section, Nathan and Nils passed me and continued down the swoopy singletrack. I caught some D1 riders on the new, dusty hill. On the 2nd lap, there seemed to be more of a gap between D2 riders. I passed some D1 'ers on the climbs and some riders passed on the downhills. This always irritates me, possibly because I am projecting my own insecurities (i.e. my so-so downhill skills) onto better technical riders. On lap 3 I took a bottle at the feed zone and was encouraged by Devin and Scott. I again caught and passed quite a few D1 JV on the uphills (confidence booster I suppose), and used the gradual "headwind" climb to eat my gel. The stuff sorta got caught in my throat for a second, but I washed it down by taking a drink from my bottle. I laid down a solid effort on the gravel climb and flat fire road, and as I approached the finish area, I encountered a heckler (not the bike, a person) in a tree (sound familiar, Morgan?) He was like, "Hey, your tire is a little flat!" Still in race mode, I beleived him for a sec, but then realized that he was trying to destroy my morale (that rascal!) I asked my parents if my tire was going flat, but they said it wasn't, and I crossed the line. 

III. Post-Race and Quick Recap: I felt like I had a little more in me, and would have benefited from doing another lap, as I feel confident with endurance/distance. I felt like the climbs were my strong suit, and allowed me to make up some time lost on the tight singletrack and downhills. A little more trail riding prior to the race would have helped, but I'm happy that I placed 17th out of 55, and look forward to Laguna Seca!

- Desmond Griffith, junior varsity boys, Oakland Tech, 17 / 52

Race Report

0844 hours

February 26th, 2018


I drove down around 1230 on Friday, and pre-rode two laps at around 1500 when I got to the course. I felt confident, having only gotten my chain stuck once in 10 miles, a new personal best since my front chain ring has started acting up. I went back to the hotel, changed, and then went to dinner at Louie Linguini's. I ate four (4) slices of bread, one (1) order of Italian Sausage Linguini, one (1) slice of Max's pepperoni pizza, and one (1) square of Ghirardelli Vanilla Caramel chocolate. I then went home and watched Gold Rush before going to bed around 2245. I had trouble sleeping, despite bringing earplugs, because my brother Graham was sick and blowing his nose throughout the night. I will try to get a separate hotel room next time if he is sick at another race, because I lost a lot of energy from the missed sleep and my immune system working so hard. I got up the next morning at around 0730, and arrived at the course an hour later, after eating a microwaved piece of pizza and some delicious homemade coleslaw, which was delicious and tasty. Due to my nervousness, I ate this all way too quickly, and had some heartburn from then until at least halfway through the first lap. I will try to alleviate this next time by eating more slowly, possibly even while sitting down, and by skipping my antibiotics for the day. After arriving at the course, I watched the girls start and wandered around looking for Carl. I found him and got my chain ring somewhat fixed, and then drank some water and got on the trainer to warm up. The wind trainer was a new experience for me, but I feel like it helped me in my start. After warming up and finally figuring out where to start, I ended up in the second row of the second block of D2 Sophomores. I started well, keeping my chain on the harder front ring to prevent chain suck and muscling past at least a row of people in front of me. I then settled back into a slower pace for the first lap, being passed by around the same amount of people I was passing. I had some extra energy around the halfway mark of the second lap, so I tried to step up my effort, but I couldn't make up enough time to be where I wanted to. I also had a hard time with people passing me, because next to no one called their passes and groups often followed without saying there were more people passing. At one point, I pulled off the trail slightly to let one guy pass, but then had to actually stop because four other people followed him without warning. I'm not super sure how to deal with this because I don't know racing etiquette, so I need to figure that out at some point. I also need to get more confident on my new bike and take it to a downhill course to figure out precisely how much fast I can go on downhill berms without losing traction. Overall, this was an okay first race. It functioned mostly as a learning experience for me, but if I had gotten more sleep and eaten better before the race I could have also gotten an okay finish. I look forward to racing on longer, more challenging courses where endurance matters more than brute strength and aggression. 

- Luke Tracy, sophomore boys, Oakland Tech, 20 / 34

Emmett Tuttle - Oakland Composite, Varsity Boys

Emmett Tuttle - Oakland Composite, Varsity Boys

Friday I caught a ride down with Caleb and I still had to register so I headed to the NorCal tent straight away. I wasn’t paying too much attention at that point so I when asked if Emmett was the proper spelling of my name I said it was, buying me a nice big packet of forms to fill out. I was about 3 signatures from done when I was called back over and informed I didn’t know how to spell my own name, I paid my 60 bucks and grabbed my plate. Me and cake put up a pretty decent pace on the preride, noting somewhat unhappily the weird hill near the end and new long bit of fire road. Save for Thursday I hadn’t ridden in a week and my highball had been on the hook for two so I was getting decently bobbly on the downhill but Caleb was right behind me so I had to pin it anyways. We pointed out a few good attack/pass/drink etc. spots to Lilly and headed to dinner. On the way to dinner we had some time to kill and Caleb spotted a cool park so we played a bit of frisbee for a few minutes. And dinner I went for it and ordered a pizza, i ended up eating this and half of Emily’s meatballs. I got back to the hotel room about 9 and went to sleep about 10.

Got up at 7:30 and went straight to the course for breakfast and some quality spectating with all the others. I remember thinking it would have been a great day save for the race I had to do later. I pulled the tags off my kit and got on the bike pretty early for warm up hoping it might make up for my week’s rest. We screwed around a bunch on the warmup before lining up in our respective spots. The start was surprisingly humane and the only real event of the first 2-3 laps was a kid who’s Jersey I never quite registered trying to pass me without calling out. I didn’t notice him and twitched a bit when he was in my blind spot, he tipped over and my left foot popped out of my pedal and went straight through his front wheel. This is why we call passes. I untangled and held onto the paceline until the end of lap three. On the fourth lap two kids crashed in front of me in a similar situation and I pulled around landing me by myself for a bit until they passed again. At this point I tried my best to finish strong and was happy to see Ethan at the top of the gravel hill and Darrel at the bottom of the new one.

Good: I rode pretty clean except for the foot through the wheel

Bad: I’m not in very good shape, not riding my race bike too much either.

- Emmet Tuttle, varsity boys, Oakland Composite, 10 / 26

Dylan Gong - Oakland Composite, Junior Varsity Boys

Dylan Gong - Oakland Composite, Junior Varsity Boys

Basketball ended with a loss to end my post-season run, but I was using this as motivation for the first race. I had more miles and saddle time compared to last year and while I didn't feel like I could fight for a win, I definitely felt more confident than last year. Friday is usually 4 hours of volleyball, but I decided to only do the 5-7pm practice to prep my legs. 

I woke up at like 3:30, had a peanut butter sandwich and an oatmeal cookie and then my dad and I picked up Rene for his first race. I had at least 2 good hours of sleep in the car because we got there at like 5 something for parking. at around 7 something, Rene, Ethan, and I went on a preride and looked at all the lines and tried to picture the flow. I don't really like Fort Ord because the Monterey kids have home course advantage and its always 175% full efforts. Anyways, I wanted redemption from last years blown race and I kept last year's race in the back of my head.

Racing at noon is definitely different from racing in the morning and I didn't know how to handle my free time/what to eat/how my body would feel. It was all a learning experience and I'm happy with the heckling and frisbee I did.

My new breakfast plan this year was 2 peanut butter sandwiches, 2 bananas, and 3-5 oatmeal cookies and it really worked out for me. Warm-up went well, but I didn't feel hot and sweaty and fire in my eyes. I listened to my new playlist on the way to the line and I started in the 2nd row for my first JV race. I will probably never be ready for the first race of any series, but you just gotta say "**** it" and go out hard.

Right off the start, the guy in front of me slipped a pedal but I managed to get into the top 7 going into the Rabbit's Hole. Going up the big hill I got passed by my rival Cameron Stewart and I decided to let him go because I didn't want to burn up in the final lap like last year. I ended up riding with my Cyclocross rival Grant for lap 1 and while we were fighting for the lead, I lead the charge until we got back into the team area. I took over again after the feed zone because the pace felt a little too slow and I ended up dropping him on the big climb. I bridged over to the 7th place rider who I noticed was hurting after only 1 lap. I lead him back towards the parking lot, but since he stuck with me, I had him pull on the windy uphill section (my plan was to drop him on the fast sections and if he stuck on me then he'd pull on the shorter but very slow and windy sections). I took over from the end of the course back towards the team areas and then let him take the front, trying to see if he would be strong here in case I needed a sprint finish. On the final lap, I missed my bottle feed but thankfully the Piedmont team handed me a bottle to save my race. The guy Cameron Adams was hurting, and my calves were hurting. When he pulled on the windy sections, it felt slow but I wanted him in pain and we had a gap on 9th place. When I pulled, I could barely crest the hills because my calves couldn't hold my weight. I motivated him to keep pushing (this may have backfired) and we kept on chugging in our own private battle. Since we headed back towards the parking lot with half the course left to go, he lead and I was trying to prepare for my big attack. As we crossed over the flat land on the final part of the course, he picked up the pace (like I would have done) and I tried to stick on. He powered up the hill and the plan I had to take 7th was totally destroyed. I barely got up that final hill with burning calf muscles and weak legs and back. Anyways, I carried on all the way home and I was so happy to get high-fives from the team on the way across the finish. I didn't completely break myself and blow 5 positions like last year and even though my lungs could have pushed harder and for another lap, my calves and back were ready to call it quits.

This race was bitter-sweet because I lost to a kid I somewhat carried. However, my lungs felt amazing, I didn't completely destroy my body and confidence, I didn't bonk, and this was coming off a big basketball season. Just like last year, there is still room for improvement and I now that I have the first race done (and all the preseason anticipation) handled, I know where the competition is and where I need to be to get back on the podium. 

Things I have learned are : back-braces are amazing and investing in a great one could easily make riding/racing so mush better, tiger-balm is a great muscle rub, oatmeal cookies are a great substitute for regular oatmeal for me because I'm not a fan of the oatmeal texture, and there is always room for improvement.

What I need to work on is: drafting and sticking on wheels, really digging farther to get those extra attacks in, strengthening my calves for explositivity and those final attacks, being able to go out hard with the leaders, but not fading as the race goes on.

- Dylan Gong, junior varsity boys, Oakland Composite, 8 / 52

Caleb O’Hare - Bishop O’Dowd, Varsity Boys

Caleb O’Hare - Bishop O’Dowd, Varsity Boys

I got to the venue around 5 pm on Friday and did a lap with Emmet and my kid sister. Never really liked fort old, always felt slow there. However, as far as fort ord goes, I didn’t really dislike the course, it was less flat than usual. Had some fun at louis linguini’s even though they seriously overcharge for some spaghetti. Went to sleep around 11 and woke up at 6:30 to go to Lily’s race, which wasn’t really enough sleep but I didn’t feel too tired.

On race day, I heckled with the lads and sported my new Senders Racing™️ tee shirt. I ate a pretty solid amount of food. About an hour before the race I popped onto the road with the lads to warm up. Pretty fun. Then, I lined up in the 3rd row of varsity and cracked some jokes with my fellow Oakland comrades. We went off pretty fast, I didn’t lose any positions but didn’t quite gain any. The pace was fast, but I was almost able to hang on to the lead group. I was behind Emmet on the first climb and saw him topple down and lose his bottle. I thought about grabbing it for him but there were too many kids on my tail. I rode behind Evan Garrison for a while, but got dropped. Paul Serra flew by me on the first lap. At the end of the lap, I caught up to Birdo and rode down 1 hill with him. I thought we were gonna be able to ride together, which would’ve been fun, but the poor guy was seriously hurtin and I had no choice but to leave him behind. He’ll be back next time. Then, pretty much for the rest of the race, I rode by myself. I was feeling fine, I drank a good amount of water and had 2 gu’s, but I just felt like I was struggling to put down proper power, most likely because there weren’t really any sustained efforts. That’s fort ord for ya. On the last lap, I rode with Paul Serra for a while, and I was hoping we could ride the rest of the race together, but it was clear he had no energy left so I kept goin. I did my best to go fast until the finish, because I knew there were always some kids who could come out of nowhere and sprint past me right before the end. No one caught me, and I rode by myself to the finish. Oh well. Emmet was the next guy in front of me, but he was over 2 minutes ahead. A lot of time to make up, but for next race I’d like to tryyy to hang with Emmet and maybe, just maybe, hang with the lead group. If Birdo comes bounces back from the flu, I could try riding with him too. That would make racing more fun. Anyways, as much as I don’t like fort ord, kind of sad that that was my last time racing there with the team. I look forward to other courses and believe I will be just a little bit faster there. Thanks all.

- Caleb O'Hare, varsity boys, Bishop O'Dowd, 11 / 26

Nathan Horst - Piedmont High, Junior Varsity Boys

Nathan Horst - Piedmont High, Junior Varsity Boys

Fort Ord 2018 #1 - Nathan Horst

Front - 23PSI (both w/ tubes)

Rear - 26PSI

I want to start this by saying I am super stoked to see such a strong, dynamic Piedmont MTBing team! Also, thanks to Robert for showing up and supporting us even given his shoulder condition.

Leading up to the race, I spent most of Thursday packing my two duffel bags (tip: do one bag for normal clothes and one for race day items). Driving down to the race course was really fun with Aaron, Anders and Ella. Once we arrived to the race course, I did 1.5 laps of pre-ride which I felt was plenty, given that I have raced at Fort Ord over a dozen times - legit, and my pre-season CCCX race course being almost identical to this NorCal course.


I ended up being woken up by a phone call from my boss (Trek) at 7:10am, who was in need of some directions to the race course. I decided to get up then and get ready for the race. Anders, Aaron and I drove and arrived to the course at 8:15am ready for a fun day! I had some oatmeal, banana, banana bread, and a bagel for breakfast at 9:40am. Had a great time cheering on Ella and doing feed for her. Then went back and watched the freshman/sophomore group warm-up and make sure they were ready! Super proud of this group! Then I put on my GU tattoos and was getting lots of compliments for those :)


For warm-up, I was feeling really good on the trainer until my knee started to really hurt. At this time, I talked to Coach Tom who decided to re tape my knee using Kinesiology Tape instead and do a tracking method. Tom told me that if it got really bad (which has a couple times in the past), that I need to pull myself from the race. This truth really hurts to hear but I was trying not to let it get to me.


Starting with an 'E' call-up, I was at least guaranteed front half. I had a great strong start and got myself into about 17th place. I hate when people make dangerous passes so early into the race since there is plenty of time to pass, so I chilled where I was and eventually started to make some attacks to get further. I trailed Conor Stoneman through the end of the first lap, but eventually passed him and held that position for a while. I heard Conor yell my name a couple times when he was a little ways behind me, but I figured I needed to continue pushing watts - sorry :o. Right near the end of the race, I see a rider in front of me look back and then attack really hard, so I figured he noticed my race plate and saw we were in the same category. I asked a course marshal ahead if he had a Orange plate and he said yes, so I attacked even harder and was able to pass him on the dirt uphill very close to the finish. I finished feeling very happy and with a smile still on my face, without too much knee pain at the time.

During the race, I got two feeds, drank probably about 2 (pure) water bottles total. I also had 2 GU's and a couple GU Chews. I did forget to take my electrolyte capsules however, but luckily no cramping for me.

Thanks to all the parents for supporting us race day. Always very appreciated!

If you read to this point, THANKS!

- Nathan Horst, junior varsity boys, Piedmont, 11 / 52

Lanie Goldberg - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity Girls

Uploaded by Morgan Fletcher on 2018-03-05.

On Friday afternoon me and my mom drove down to pre-ride. I did two laps one with the team and one with Noah (may have been a mistake). My legs didn't feel great on either lap, but I hoped they would be better on Saturday. I then headed to the team dinner. I ate a little of my pasta, but I always have trouble eating a lot the night before and ended up giving most of my meal to the boys who seemed pretty hungry. I ended up getting in bed pretty early and got a pretty good night's sleep. 

The next morning it was bright and early as it always is for the girls. I ate no more than five bites of oatmeal and headed to the course.I got to the pit zone and was happy to see it already set up (shout out to all the parents and coaches for that) thank you! I sat around for a bit nervously, as I always am, and then hopped on the trainer to start warming up. My calf was hurting right away, but coach Tom helped me tape it and it started to feel better. I finished the warm up and didn't feel quite ready warm enough, but oh well because it was go time. 

I rolled up to the line in the first row and we went off. Off the start I was sitting in 4th or so and an SF girl went way off the front hard. It didn't take more than a minute till we caught her and fell in line. It was the SF girl, Maddie from El Cerrito, another girl, and me. The pace was pretty good, but very quickly Maddie attacked on the first climb. When she went I was in 3rd and tried to get around the SF girl, but got block and had to unclip. I got clipped back in pretty fast and got around, but I that point Maddie had gotten a gap. I focused on closing it and pushed hard. I finally caught her heading into the gravel hill, but that's when she attacked again. I tried to push it up the hill, but couldn't hang after the effort I had just put in to catch her. She got away and I rode the rest of the lap solo. The second lap was mostly about just keeping my second place safe from the girls behind me because Maddie was way off the front. I rolled in for second happy, but also pretty disappoint to be so far off first. 

Overall it was a fun race and the team did so well. Bummed that my fitness isn't quite where in needs to be but looking forward to the rest of a great season. 

- Lanie Goldberg, junior varsity girls, Oakland Tech, 2 / 37

Lily O’Hare - Bishop O’Dowd, Freshman Girls

Lily O’Hare - Bishop O’Dowd, Freshman Girls

I left school a bit early on Friday to drive down for a pre-ride. Caleb, Emmet, and I arrived at about 5 and got in one relatively quickly paced lap. They gave me some pointers on race strategy and although I was slightly unimpressed with the course, I felt more confident about racing. After a stop to play at a cool park, I ate a nice pizza at Louie Linguini’s. We then went to the hotel and got to sleep sometime after 10. 

A brutal 6:30 wake up allowed us to get to the venue just after 7. After downing a bowl of oatmeal I quickly got set up on the trainers. I had a good warm up with the girls and made sure to get to the start nice and early. Luckily, I was able to secure a spot in the front line. My start went surprisingly well, and I clipped in right away. I slid into second place and was feeling good. The Berkeley girl in front of me quickly made a little gap, and I made no effort to follow her. I don’t remember all the details of who passed who when, but by the end of the first lap I was riding in fourth. At the top of that dirt climb at the end, I was tired out and tried to cut some lines around the corners. The ground off the trail was surprisingly bumpy and I totally slid out. My leg got scratched a bit, but I wasn’t passed and was feeling fine. When I came up to the feed zone, I saw Scott ready for a bottle and realized I had only taken about 2 sips of water. I ate a block to compensate but I guess that doesn’t make up for regular drinking. 

About halfway through the second lap I got passed by a girl from San Ramon Valley. I was stressing about whether or not she was a freshman, and before I knew it she was gone. At this point, I thought I was at least 6th and was feeling down on myself. I was struggling to make some passes because, as I mentioned before, the ground off the single track was very bumpy. It takes a big toll on my speed and I had more than few embarrassing moments when I would call out for a pass but not make it. My turns downhill were really mediocre and I was trying to grab speed on the flats where I could.  I went hard up the gravel hill knowing my race was coming to a close and this was a prime time for passing. As I came to that weird wide open flat section, I saw the SRV girl had taken a spill. While I felt really bad for her, I took it as a sign to finish with power. I felt strong all the way to that last hill, where I saw the third place freshman ahead of me. I wanted to catch her, but there were no good opportunities to gain speed and I had accepted my position. After crossing the finish line I heard Scott yell “That’s fourth place!” which really made my day.

The rest of the day was fun: I had some nice food, bonded with the team, and watched the JV and Varsity Boys send it on that one turn. I am happy to have podiumed and am hoping to stay there throughout the season.

What went well: start and hills

What I will work on: hydration/nutrition (I only had like a third of one water bottle and one shot block and lost a good few minutes on my second lap), passing, mindset.

- Lily O'Hare, freshman girls, Bishop O'Dowd, 4 / 16

Noah Hayes - Skyline High, Varsity Boys

Noah Hayes - Skyline High, Varsity Boys

NorCal #1 Varsity 1st Place Race Report

The week leading up to this race was not ideal.  I was sick all week and had to miss school on Thursday and Friday.  I drove down Friday afternoon for preride but was feeling pretty bad.  When I got there I got kitted up, then did a hot lap to see how my legs and lungs were feeling.  Surprisingly I felt fairly strong.  I then did another lap with Lanie where I took a look at some lines.  Then I did a third lap which I took at a moderate pace while stopping to look at a few more lines.  After this I drove to the hotel, checked in, showered, and went to dinner with my mom at Gusto where I had spaghetti and meatballs.  We went back to the hotel where I watched an episode of Sherlock(great show by the way) and went to bed around 9:30.

The morning of the race I woke up at 7:15 and ate a few bowls of cereal.  I then got dressed and headed out the door to drive to the course at about 8:10.  When I got to the course I grabbed a bagel and put it in my pocket for later.  I the watched a beautiful rendition of the national anthem by some Berkeley High folks followed by the girls starts all while eating my pocket bagel.  I then walked back to the team tent where Johny told me to stop eating so many carbs and eat some hard boiled eggs.  Those things taste pretty gnarly but I choked them down all in the name of performance.  At this point it was time for some heckling.  We went to the classic Fort Ord drop and yelled at some kids riding bikes.  After a little under an hour I decided it was time to go sit down in the pit and get in the zone for the race.  I filled by bottles with some water and powder, put my bike on the trainer, and got all kitted up.

I started warming up at 11:30 with 15 minute of spinning, then some sub threshold efforts, followed buy a 10 minute cool down with two spin ups.  After I finished I got my bike off the trainer and rode over to the start.  In the start area we were all lined up and cracking jokes, even BGV got in on the fun.

Then the whistle blew and it was time to go.  I got the whole shot from the second row and started putting down a solid pace.  I stayed on the front for the entire first lap which probably wasn’t the best decision but I was feeling fairly strong.  On the second lap I made sure someone else took the front.  I sat in second or third position for the first half of that lap but then surged into the first place spot on the fire road downhill section to get into the single track first.  I stayed on the front until the start finish where I felt my legs starting to cramp.  I was baffled.  I knew I had done everything I should’ve done in terms of nutrition.  I drank plenty of water, had a gel on the start line and midway through the second lap but all I could do at that point was push through it.  I sat on until the gravel climb on lap 3 where I attacked really hard to try to put everyone into the pain cave but I knew it was not my final attack.  I ended up getting a solid gap and kept pushing at a pace where I knew they would catch me but would have to work hard for it.  When I crossed the finish at the end of the third lap Matthew Saldana had just caught up to me.  At this point my legs were starting to lock up so I let him pull around me and sat on his wheel for a while them decided I should take a pull.  When I did this he said we should work together.  It was at this moment that I knew I could get the win because you never ask to work together if you are feeling good.  We each took pulls but were getting caught by the chasing group.  When we got to the gravel climb on the fourth and final lap I attacked again.  Unfortunately my legs were cramping so bad that I couldn’t get out of the saddle, so my sprint up the hill was completely seated which probably looked pretty silly.  Luckily it worked and when I looked back at the top of the climb I saw a gap.  I kept pushing super hard on the single track that followed.  When I spit out onto the fire road downhill section I looked back and the chase group was in sight.  I stayed smooth through the next single track section and got to the flat wide open section where I looked back again and the gap had gotten a bit bigger.  I kept on hammering towards the steep sandy climb at the end.  When I hit it I emptied the tank, giving it everything I had left.  I did another seated sprint over the top of the climb and then got to the switchbacks.  I looked back an the chasing group was hot on my tail just two switchbacks behind me.  I knew I would have the win if I kept it rubber side down.  I kept it upright through that section and the section that followed.  I came through the finish to take the win and put my arms up. 

What went well: I set a race plan at the beginning of the race and I followed it.  I drank a bottle a lap and had two gels during the race. 

What to work on: I need to figure out nutrition still.  This race was better but I still had some really bad cramping.

- Noah Hayes, varsity boys, Skyline, 1 / 26

Arlo Hadley - Oakland Tech, Freshman Boys

Arlo Hadley - Oakland Tech, Freshman Boys

Friday about midday I headed home to load up the car and drove down to Fort Ord. We got to the course at around 4. The preride went well. I got a feel for how sandy the course was when I went down after I couldn't get out of a rut. Just from the pre-ride I could tell that gravel hill was a good place to pass.  

We went back to the hotel around 5:30 to take a shower and get dressed for Louie Linguine. I had shrimp linguine with lots of bread and butter.  Back to the hotel and fell asleep after watching some Olympic snowboard downhill. The bed had lots of uncomfortable pillows.  

I woke up several times during the night to blow my nose and get water as my cold had really kicked in. In the morning we woke up 7:30, aiming to get there at 8:30 to watch the girls start at 9.  My mom got me hot chocolate and oatmeal at Starbucks, which I did not finish.  But I felt it was a good amount of food.

We started warming up around 10. The warm up bikes were a bit confusing to figure out what gear to be in. We warmed up with a few ramp ups for 15 seconds, and then easy for 3 minutes, and we headed to the start.  At this point I was feeling pretty stuffed up but excited. I was nervous about how the start would go. 

Me and Alex were told to stand by the bathrooms to sneak in for a good position in the start, but quickly realized that they were already lining up in groups of 5. So I ended up starting in the 2nd row, which let me get pretty far out in the beginning. Right after we started I pulled up to the left of Andrew and was going to pass him but someone hit his back tire and he went down pretty hard. After the first hill there was a little passing of the really fast kids who got ahead. My goal was to finish with Lucas because I know he's fast and it would be a challenge.  In the beginning we swapped back and forth with passing each other and then he stayed right in front of me for the rest of the race. A little past the first hill I got a cramp on my upper abs, but I kept going and tried to breathe as much as possible. It went away pretty quickly.  

At the first gravel hill we both sprinted to the top, Lucas getting a little lead on me, but we passed about 5 people.  The next hill after that a kid stopped in the middle and made me unclip and go around him. The first lap was kind of uneventful after that.  Finishing the first lap felt good because I was a little bit tired, but I knew I could finish strong.  At the top of the first hill on the second lap, me and Lucas had a little chat about how we were feeling.  Gravel hill went the same way: we printed to the top, gaining positions. The last hill hurt pretty bad. I was pretty out of breath and couldn't really focus on the flat part after that.  At the finish I thought I would have more space to pass people so I didn't go too hard on the flat before it, which now I realize I could have finished at a better position if I had sprinted then. 

Being sick definitely made breathing a lot harder.  I was constantly spitting out mucus so I had to drink a lot.  

What went well:  I finished at a better position than I thought I would. 

What I could have done better:  sprinted to the finish a little bit earlier. And pushed a little harder on the downhill.

- Arlo Hadley, freshman boys, Oakland tech, 8 / 42

Elliot Irving - Oakland Composite, Junior Varsity Boys

Elliot Irving - Oakland Composite, Junior Varsity Boys

Friday night, we expected to leave Oakland for Monterey around 4:30pm, but of course, we ended up leaving around 7:30 or 8:00pm. This happens often in our family, we keep telling ourselves that we'll try to leave sooner, but it just never seems to work out that way. Before leaving the house, I had a *small* pre-ride dinner of pasta and sausages and I realize now that I definitely could have eaten much more than I did. On the way down to Monterey, I got about an hour of half decent sleep. After getting to the hotel, I went to bed around 11pm.

We woke up at 6:30-ish on race day to get to the course for the pre-ride, and I finished half a bagel, some oatmeal, and a banana before we got there. The pre-ride went pretty well, my legs felt alright, and I enjoyed the course (at least certain sections of it). I ate some oatmeal, had two more bananas, and watched the girls and the freshmen/sophomore boys start. Then, our group started spinning, which went well as I definitely warmed up quickly. I still don't fully understand this whole helmets on during stationary warmup thing... Anyways, we finished, and began to make our way over to the staging area. With my little racing experience, I was definitely a little nervous lining up. Off the line, I was able to get in front of the row I was in, although I could have been more explosive right off the bat. The first lap felt good, even with the multiple, punchy hill climbs, and I tried to pace myself to complete 2 more laps (which ended up failing miserably). I followed and passed a few people here and there. On the second lap, I rode alone for the most part, and began to feel some fatigue in my calves, especially on that loose, dusty hill right before the finish area. I tried to slow it down a little bit to conserve energy on the third lap, and that's where it all started to go downhill. By the climb/sand pit area and on, I was hurting and got passed a few times. My lap time increased by 5 minutes on this final lap to say the least... oops. I was definitely relieved when I crossed the finish line, and although that last lap was brutal, I enjoyed the experience.

Overall, I had a good time at Fort Ord and had fun hanging out with the team. I think I drank and ate well on the ride, although I need eat more the night before, ride more in general, and increase my fitness on the bike. Looking forward to the next few rides and races!

- Elliot Irving, junior varsity boys, Oakland Composite, 37 / 52

Grace Cunningham - Oakland Composite, Freshman Girls

Grace Cunningham - Oakland Composite, Freshman Girls

This past weekend I raced my first Norcal race. I woke up at 5 and moved myself to the car where I continued to sleep until we arrived at Fort Ord at 7. When we arrived I put on my biking clothes, went outside my car, then went back inside the car due to how cold it was. I continued to put on more clothes then went outside to get ready to go and pre-ride.

I went to the team tent where I got my number plate and then went on the pre-ride with the other people who went down to the race that day. During the pre-ride, we stopped in certain areas to discuss what to do in the race in these areas. After the pre-ride, I went back to the tent and tried to stay warm. I didn’t get on a trainer because I was going to race very shortly. At 9:45 I started to head over to staging with everyone else. As the varsity girls were lining up I started to get nervous.

And we were off. My start was pretty good, I could have been in a bigger gear but it was good. At the end of the feed zone, I was in a pretty good position. As the race went on I slowly made my way back and ended up 10th out of 16. After the race, I went back to the pit and watched the guy's races with other people. This first race was fun and a good intro to how the rest of the season will go and what I needed to work on. I think I need to work on my fitness and endurance.

- Grace Cunningham, freshman girls, Oakland Composite, 10 / 16

Brian Harris - Oakland Composite, Sophomore Boys

Brian Harris - Oakland Composite, Sophomore Boys

My dad and I drove down the night before the race and arrived at the Monterey Travel Lodge around 9:30. After having a decent sleep, woken several times by the occasional airplane, I ate some fruit and a bowl of cereal from the breakfast room at the inn. We then left for Fort Ord around 7:15 to make the 7:45 pre-race where we discussed race tips and some useful strategy. After the pre-race I ate a bar and waited to watch the starts of the girls races. After watching the girls races, the freshman and sophomore boys began warming up for our races. After our warmup we made our way to the staging area where I was put in general staging, next to Rene. Not knowing what to expect in my first race, i was ushered forward by the race officials as the time got closer to the start of the race. The signal went off and there was a frantic scramble of boys trying to get a spot in front on the first hill. After the hill, I think i made a pass or two before the trail narrowed and people got slotted into place. After that, the first lap felt pretty good, although I think I I shoulda been more aggressive on the passing. On the second lap, about half way through, I got a cramp in my calf and had to pull to the side to stretch it out. That wasn’t too fun cause a bunch of people passed me there , but I got it out and continued to finish to finish the race. After the race I went back to the tent and ddrankk some water. Later I watched the jv and varsity  boys which was cool because they were quite fast. I definitely have some things to work on for racing but in all, the day was really fun, and I’m excited for the next race!

- Brian Harris, sophomore boys, Oakland Composite, 26 / 34

Finn Cunningham - Oakland Composite, Junior Varsity Boys

Finn Cunningham - Oakland Composite, Junior Varsity Boys

This past weekend I raced the JV class at Fort Ord and that being the case I shall walk you through my pre-race routine and my thoughts during the race. I started my morning eating a good breakfast around three hours before my start, then promptly fell asleep. I woke up, then proceeded to get ready for the warm-up ride. We had a good warm-up ride, with a short climb going at tempo, doing that twice. We also did a few sprints to open the legs up. After our warm-up, we then went to the start line.

    My starting position was very bad to be honest if memory serves, I was in the second to last row. However, it has been awhile since I have raced so I was not expecting to place very highly. I was willing to do my best and try not to stress too much about winning. As we started, I tried to find the outside line and sprint around the masses. As the trail flattened out, I got into a good rhythm and started to consistently pass people. As I settled in, I started to feel better and better as my legs opened up. It has been awhile since I've been on my mountain bike, so some of my descending was a little iffy, but muscle memory soon kicked in and by the end of the race I was nearly back to where I was. At the end of the first lap, I got to a group that I felt was going at a pace that was just fast enough, but not too fast. I settled in with them until about a third of the way through the second lap, where I decided to drop them and try to gain more ground on my competitors. Throughout the second lap, I kept a good tempo but made sure to save some for the last lap. On the second lap, I was not passing as many people, but still gaining ground. As I rounded the corner for the third lap, I settled into a much faster pace to try and give the last bit everything I had. The third lap went by fast and without anything notable. I could have saved a little more from the first and the second lap, but overall I felt that my pacing was decent. I rolled in without any excitement. Overall I placed 21st which I am fine with due to my extreme lack of fitness, and hopefully, as the season progresses I can keep improving. 

- Finn Cunningham, sophomore boys, Oakland Composite, 21 / 52

This was my first race weekend as a coach and there was plenty of learning done! Thanks to all the Student-Athletes for their patience while I learned to hook up the trainers for warmups. I learned about the three different types of skewers in use, and that BMC colored outside the lines and requires a different Allen wrench than all the others. Silly BMC. I learned you have to set the tension wheel tighter as the S-A's on the bikes get stronger so they don't run out of gearing. I learned you have to wear a helmet on a stationary bike because...well, that part I'm not sure about...because NICA says so, I guess? I learned I'm happy "mechaniking" on bikes and will slot in as a helper to Carl and Robbin for the rest of the season. I also learned I really liked being out on course getting video footage and rooting and tooting and ringing the cow bell for all the courageous S-A's out there on course throwing it down in the dirt ™. I'm still learning how much work it is to put together a video for youtube of all the footage I took.

But most important of all: I learned how much gosh darn fun it is to see and be a part of our team and have the opportunity to support each S-A be and do their best. So much positive energy!

- Mike Leister, coach, Oakland Composite

Team Photos
Tom Low's photos