Andrew Fee - NICA State Championships

Before driving out to the course on Saturday, I had my dad wrap my wrist because it was feeling a little weak after being in a brace for three weeks. My mom and I then drove out to the course at around 9:00 and aimed to be there at 10:00. Once we got to the pit zone we ended up helping out with the setup for about an hour. Shortly after, and around maybe 11:30, Scott and I did two laps of the course. My legs were feeling pretty good (thanks to the Binders’ trainer) and on the downhill I felt pretty confident. I didn’t really enjoy how bumpy the course was, and the dust was awful to ride in without glasses. After the preride my mom and I returned home where I rested in preparation for Sunday.

On Sunday we returned to the venue at around 8:30 to watch the girls start. Afterwards I went up to the Stanford medical tent to see if they could tape up my wrist. They did, but it was very tight and uncomfortable, so I took the wrap off almost immediately. I then went to Dara and Tom to see if they could do a better job. Tom supplied some athletic tape that Dara expertly applied to my wrist and it felt very comfortable. After that it was about another hour until I had to start warming up. I felt strange on the trainer, because my bike was tilted at an angle so I was constantly trying to keep myself upright. After warming up I ran to the bathrooms and then got my bike to head up to staging with Alex. I was in general staging because of participating in only 3 races, so I was planning to be in one of the first rows of general. Unfortunately, Alex and I got there late and we ended up being in the second to last row, where I realized that I would not be placing well.

Almost immediately after the start, where the road transitioned into gravel, a kid from the last row tried to come around me from the left and pass me. He failed, and rode straight into my back wheel, which ironically was exactly what happened at Ft. Ord in the beginning of the season. Fortunately I caught myself from completely falling, but I had to unclip both feet to get back on the bike, which put me in dead last. The rest of the race was just a game of catch up. Towards the top of my first time up the long hill, I got into a groove behind a kid from Petaluma who also seemed to be trying to make up ground. He was making very smart passes so I decided to draft behind him for a while and take advantage of the passes he was making. For the rest of the first lap and about halfway up my second time up the hill, I stayed behind the Petaluma rider. However, on the second time up the hill he began to burn out, and told me to pass him, which I did. My legs started to cramp up right before the shaded downhill section, so I told him to take back the lead. He replied with “I’m flatlining,” so I decided to make a push. I eventually lost him and caught up to another big group to head into the downhill section. The dust got so bad that I began to close my eyes on straight sections of the course to give them a break. Soon before the first feed zone, I started making passes. By the end of the race I had passed the entire group and had probably a 5 second gap on the front of the group.

After the race I learned that I placed 42nd out of 80, so I ended up passing almost half the field in two laps, which is as good as I could have hoped for after the terrible start.

Over the summer I need to work on drinking (with electrolytes), wearing glasses while riding, and downhill skills.

Andrew Fee, freshman boys, Bishop O'Dowd, 42 / 80