Race Report

Max McFadden - NICA State Championship

Max McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity

Max McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity

I tapered for over a week for this race, and really I had dropped the volume from my training by 2 weeks before the race, now just focusing on really short, high intensity intervals to get a little bit of extra top end and rest out the fatigue that had accumulated throughout the season. I was worried that this tapering would be all for nothing though, as I had prom the night before the race. I found out at sea otter this year that standing and walking around can really tire out your legs for the next day, but I had fun at prom and my legs ended up feeling just fine on race day. My goal for this race was to get onto the podium.

On Saturday morning, My brother, coach ray, and I drove up to the course to pre-ride. I was planning on doing at least 3 laps of pre-ride, but after 2 slow-ish laps, I was 1:40 into my ride and the course was the same as last year, but worse, so I really just didn't want to ride it anymore and I quit after 2 laps. We then went home, and started preparing for prom after eating at ~2. Prom was really fun, and I got home around 12:30, feeling hungry. We made some oatmeal loaded up with fruit and almonds, and then got to bed around 1. I was able to squeeze in almost 7 hours of sleep, and I started my morning with a big smoothie (banana, strawberries, blueberries, Protein powder, cocoa powder, dry oats, peanut butter, greek yogurt, kale, Maca powder, and almond milk). We left a bit before 9, picking up Caleb on our way to the venue. When we got there, I had a second breakfast which consisted of more oatmeal, with a tiny bit of syrup, and a bunch of almonds. I went up and heckled for a bit, but came back down to the pit at 11:30 to squeeze in a banana and a bagel with almond butter. I got kitted up, got my bottles ready, and started warming up at ~12:20. I did my normal warm-up (15 min easy, 2*(4 mins sub-threshold, 5 mins easy), 10-15 mins easy w/ 2-3 30 second spin-ups), and drank a bit less than 2 bottles w/ drink mix for warm-up, and ate a gu while lining up at the start. I got my race bottle at the start line from mom, and got a lucky first row call-up since the 5th place call-up wasn't there.

When we started, I missed my pedal the first time around, but I got in the 2nd time and was able to take the hole shot from Dylan without too much trouble. But this was just for the glory, so when we hit the dirt I let him and Noah come around to pull up the climb. I fell back a couple more places as people were still making aggressive passes early in the race, but I sat in 5th pretty comfortably all the way up the climb. When we started to come down from the climb, I somehow dropped a chain on one of the fast, flat-ish sections, and with everybody lined up early on in the race, this lost me ~12 places, pushing me back into 17th or so. I feared for a minute that this would kill my chances at a podium, but I saw that the leaders weren't really that far ahead of me. I made a couple passes, but got caught behind Julian LePelch who was in 14th at the time, and he wouldn't let me pass. I was calling out and starting to come around over and over, but he was riding aggressively and defending his position. This was frustrating, but I was pretty soon able to come around him and I made my way back up through the field. Coming through the first lap, I think I was in 6th, about 5 or 6 seconds off of Noah and Dylan. I caught back on to the front of the race early in the climb though, and was feeling really strong, seeing that the field was starting to break apart and spread out behind me. I saw Caleb 1 long switchback behind me, and he yelled "Max!" to which I replied "Caleb!". Near the top of the climb, I began feeling confident in my legs, and I took the lead and pulled the last bit of the climb and into the descent. I still felt really good, and was going pretty quick through the loose sorta berm section, but unfortunately I lost my rear wheel on an especially loose corner, and went down harder than I though I would. I got back up, and my bars were totally crooked, so I quickly twisted them approximately back to being straight, which ended up not being very straight at all, but I though whatever and hopped back on in 5th I think, and the lead group had 15-20 seconds on me I think. I chased hard, again fearing that this would cost me the result that I was capable of, and I sorta noticed that my thumb was hurting a bit, which I figured could sprained or broken, since anything less than that I don't think I would've felt during a race (turns out it's fractured). I caught back onto the front group before the end of the lap, and my legs were a bit fried going into the climb, but I hopped up into 2nd anyway on Noah's wheel, who luckily took it easy for the majority of the climb, which meant I had some time to recover. Towards the top of the climb Noah turned it up to a solid fast pace, and the group thinned out to 4 of us, Me, Noah, Dylan, and Luke Lamperti. Noah kept up a good pace on the descent as well, which meant that roadie phenom Luke Lamperti was hurtin and had to chase back onto us 3 after every little downhill section. My legs started to cramp a bit towards the end of the 3rd lap, which I was bummed about since I did my nutrition perfectly (good pre-race, 1 gu and 1/2 of a bottle per lap) and got worse on the 4th lap, but it still wasn't terrible. He had a bit of work to do as we rolled through for the 4th lap, but he got back onto our group near the bottom of the climb, and his someone yelled "C'MON LUKE DON'T LET THESE KIDS PLAY YOU", which Luke clearly didn't hear as he was subsequently dropped when Noah started pedalling hard a few seconds later. I was surprised and relieved that Luke dropped off quite hard, but Noah was pushing a really hard pace, and I was just barely able to hang on to him and Dylan until nearly the top of the climb. But once they got away from me, my legs were totally dead and I was cramping pretty bad, and I kinda accepted that I wasn't gonna be able to reel them back in, as they had a big gap on me shortly after I dropped off. However, I still pedalled hard when I could, but there was nobody behind me in sight which was a relief, although I probably could've done the last lap a little bit faster than it ended up being. But I came through with at least a minute between me and 4th, and 45 seconds back from Dylan. I was really happy about my result, and my legs felt stronger than they ever have. I'm really happy to end my Norcal Season with this result, and I'm looking forward to racing Wente and Downieville this summer! See you guys on the trails

Max McFadden, varsity boys, Oakland Composite 3 / 65

Arlo Hadley - Six Sigma

We drove up to Six Sigma around 1 on Saturday. I could definitely tell how hot and dry the race would be just from pulling up to the preride.  I got dressed and went for a pretty relaxed preride with Matthew, where I tried to drink a little bit too much so I could get a good sense of where I could drink during the race.  Because previously at Granite Bay I did not drink enough.  I had some troubles going around a few corners at first, but got the feeling for the course.  I could  definitely tell how bumpy it would be on race day.  My left hand was hurting because of the bumps and gripping too hard (this recurred in the race).  Just from the preride I knew I didn't like the course because you could not keep or gain any speed due to all the corners.

After the preride we set up camp and headed to The Spot for dinner.  I ordered spaghetti and meatballs, but only got one meatball.  It was pretty good.  I also had a few pieces of garlic bread with barely any garlic or butter. So it was pretty much plain toast.

We decided to go walk down the street to Fosters Freeze but about a half mile away from the restaurant, we realized it was an hour and ten minute walk, so we all got picked up and went back to the camp site to fall asleep.

I slept pretty well and woke up a little bit late, but that extra 45 minutes made me feel really rested.  I ate a bowl of oatmeal with a half a banana and brown sugar and some nuts.  We watched the girls' starts, but didn't really notice much about the course affecting the starts. Then we all hooked our bikes up to start warming up. We did a pretty easy warm up with 20 minutes of spin and three ramp-ups to 130 rpms, and then we spun out for another 5 minutes. I drank a little more than a bottle of water.  We got ready for staging and the heat was really picking up. Lucas and I had a little chat with Garrett, the Freshman Leader about where he trains and how he does school. Then the call ups - I had a 7th place call up just behind Lucas. I was not feeling too great just because of nerves and my stomach, but once the race started it all settled and I wasn't focusing on that anymore.

From the start I lost a few positions because both people on either side were very close and we were touching bars.  Off the bat I wasn't feeling too good in my momentum and carrying my speed, but I held this position for a while before a few more people passed me. Then I was pretty much alone with Riley from Hayward Composite and didn't really lose or gain any positions until the final sprint.. My hand was hurting especially bad because I was going race pace and I was also nervous, so I had to shake it out a few times.  I was having fun with the little bits of downhill that there was, and trying to flow the course as much as possible, but the bumpiness of the trail on my hardtail was definitely not helping. I hit two right-handed corners harder than I should have and slid out and barely got my foot out on the ground and managed to not crash.

After the road crossing in the first lap, Andrew was cheering me on through all of the tight swtichbacks and up the hill, which made me feel good and push harder. After that hill I knew that most of the hard parts of that first lap were over, so I pushed pretty hard.  I ate one shotblock right before the feed zone because i knew there would be water to wash it down.  At this point I was feeling pretty hot and when Coach Scott asked if I wanted a bottle poured over my head I said YES hoarsely with my dry voice.  I messed up the feed zone a little bit because I didn't drop my empty water bottle before hand, so I ended up with a bottle in my cage and a bottle in my hand, so I couldn't keep the full bottle.  I ended up drinking about a quarter of it and then dropped it at the end of the feed zone.

Going into the 2nd lap I was feeling pretty strong and pushing it up all the hills possible.  I caught up with a big group of riders that was stuck behind some D1 kids in the technical steep hills, so that slowed me down a bit.  But that caught me up with the SF Composite kid that I stayed with until the end.  After what seemed to be 20 switchbacks in a row, I pushed really hard up that hill because I knew it was one of the last ones and I was almost done with the race.  From then on out I was right behind that SF Comp kid, but I never had an opportunity to pass.  So I waited until the first straight at the end to get close to him, and then right after the last corner I sprinted extremely hard and passed him at the last second.

Once I caught my breath and some water, Andrew and I cheered on the rest of the Freshman Oakland boys through the finish. I went and ate some cold rice and some chicken and some chips and some chocolate milk.

What went well:  I had enough energy at the finish to win the sprint.  I didn't fall, and I stayed positive.

What I could work on:  I need to start training with electrolytes so I can race with them.  I also need to improve my speed on short steep climbs starting with no speed.

Arlo Hadley, freshman boys, Oakland Tech, 13 / 29

Anders Bjork - Six Sigma

Anders Bjork - Piedmont High, Varsity

Anders Bjork - Piedmont High, Varsity

The Piedmont team drove up during lunch on Saturday. I was pretty excited to camp and race at one of my favorite courses. I did two preride laps at a decent pace, getting a feel for the corners and where to push hard on race day. I felt confident that I would have a strong race based on my previous result of 15th place. This had been after my prom, and I had only gotten 4-5 hours of sleep and still earned my best result. That experienced convinced me of the importance of a positive attitude going into the race. I think the reason that I did well then was that I was in a stellar mood. I knew that camping with the team would have a similar effect and enable me to get more sleep, so I was optimistic about my chances.
      Camping was, as predicted, a blast. Although there was no option to swim because the creek was low, I managed to take a decent solar shower and avoid a chamois violation. We ate some delicious pasta and lots of chips and veggies with dinner. Then I led a bike-cleaning clinic, giving Robert and Ben some tips on proper bike cleaning and (finally) managing to clean our Trek Fuel Ex. Us kids wandered around and eventually settled at the campfire, where we roasted bare marshmallows (and got some smores later when the “fixin’s” appeared) I laughed until I cried multiple times and was giddy going to bed. In the tent next door, I eavesdropped on Nathan, Aaron, and Conor. They realized I was listening when I cracked up at a joke. We all couldn’t stop laughing for a while. Then Robert and I slept from around 11:00 to about 7:00 with some midnight bathroom trips (sorry Robert). I was urged from my bed by the rising heat of the tent and Coco’s wake up calls at about 7:15 in the morning.
      Knowing my usual tendency to skip breakfast when I am supposed to eat it, I chose to make myself a breakfast sandwich just before 8:00, complete with bacon, egg, and sausage on a bagel. I added some tasty yogurt and granola and lots of fruit to make it the real deal. I didn’t get too nervous and was able to enjoy it.
After helping the ladies get fully ready for their races (some OC stamping was instrumental) I headed to the Stanford Bike Fit tent to check about bringing Megan over to look at Coach Tom’s calf, which he worried he had sprained. Unfortunately, she had already been sent out on course so I relayed Tom’s request. I did the usual heckling for Ella and my other friends in the Ladies Races. It was a pretty typical morning except that it lacked the usual anxiety; I felt less nervous than ever before, allowing me to enjoy the pre-race festivities.
       My optimism continued as I warmed up on the trainer. Despite being a bit behind schedule, Jhonny and Tom helped us get an excellent warmup - I felt very strong at the start and not burnt out. I hydrated excessively, drinking more than 2 bottles with electrolyte tabs in them during the hour before my race. I gulped a GU 10 minutes before starting and soaked my jersey top in water to give me an initial cooldown in the heat. Because it was a hot day I took extra precautions to make all of my bottles electrolyte-laden and feed-ready.

      I arrived at the lineup just in time to grab the last spot in the first General Staging row. Usually, I am earlier, but this race was quite close. I got extra lucky when Ezra moved me up a row because of two missing call-ups. We didn’t dilly dally too much and when Coco said “GO” I put down a good strong effort. The two riders in front of me were particularly fast, and my little row surged ahead, placing me around 12th going under the tunnel. I passed a few more riders on the wider sections of the finishing area, eventually getting to around 8th place for the first climb. Liam of Albany couldn’t ride as fast as he initially started, and I never saw SF Liam. This meant that my Liam-Liam Tour was going well. Soon Emmet got in front of me and I decided to just hang behind him as much as I could. Although I didn’t initially expect it to be the whole race, I ended up sticking with him and hanging on. He was really fun to ride with and very encouraging. Furthermore, I was in about 8th place, making this already my strongest race of the year. Remembering last race, I continued my optimism and believed I could stay up there. The first lap was uneventful other than getting the wrong bottle feed; however, this was a blessing because I did not grab the correct one and they were awesome about getting me a backup. The pit zone was just too fast, chaotic, and confusing because everyone was taking a feed and we were getting water-doused as well as given bottles. I also saw that the PHS feed team was (pleasantly) surprised how early I got there. They were not alone in their excitement. Almost everyone who knew me and saw me racing with Emmet in 8th place got super excited and cheered wildly. This improved my morale and helped me stay in that position. It was an awesome feedback loop.
      We didn’t catch any JV riders until pretty late in lap #2. By then I had settled into my routine and was contentedly following Emmet, enjoying his company, his pacing, and his encouragements. Caleb had caught us up after dealing with some mechanicals and brought the El Cerrito rider Evan Garrison with him. We had a nice little pack of 4 Varsity boys. Unfortunately, we happened upon a wobbly JV rider on a dusty switchback, and he freaked out and fell down. I had to stop and ended up falling over in the process. I avoided him and Caleb and Evan pretty much let me hop back on in front of them, which was very sportsmanlike. I noticed that riding in a group of about 4 makes passing JV riders more intimidating, and we actually had a similar incident to this one later on too. This was disappointing because I always try to do very safe passes. I think these poor racers just became distracted when they heard us coming up hot on their heels.
      The race continued on pretty much as I have described, with Emmet leading me and Caleb and Evan. On one of the last climbs of lap three, Caleb passed me, which I was ok with because he has been doing much better. In retrospect, I wish I had tried to keep in front of him because he could have pushed me to stay with him and Emmet better. Anyways, I ended up right in front of Evan, who predictably passed me right before the last downhill of the last lap. I knew I should try to keep with him, but I just couldn’t get up the energy to catch back up. I was pretty exhausted and did not feel strong enough, so I let him go and chased him down the singletrack. My rear brake was barely working thanks to a busted brake spring, and the downhill was trickier then than it had ever felt. I guess I just felt so content with my race overall that I let him get away.

     I finished my last NorCal race smiling bigger than ever. I was too tired to hear Bill and excited to see my teammates who had also had great races. I got big hugs from Emmet, Nathan, my Dad, Ella, and Conor. It was a great feeling to have surprised everyone and gotten my best result. I was also happy to make Tom proud because he has been saying that I could get top 10 the whole season. This race I got 10th. It was more than I had dreamed of.
It seems as though all of my efforts to control my race performance culminated at this success. With a perfect warm-up, proper nutrition, past training, recent tapering, crazy hydration, and most importantly high spirits, I had equipped myself well for my race. It felt amazing to have such a crazy improvement since last race and the season as a whole. And I was enormously appreciative to my coaches and teammates for nominating me for the “Most Supportive Teammate” award. It is such an honor to be part of the incredible Oakland, Piedmont, and NorCal community. Wow.

went well: all the things just came together, and most importantly a positive attitude
Work on: beat Evan Garrison at States!

Thank you to all the people who made this weekend possible! And thanks if you read this far too :).

Anders Bjork, varsity boys, Piedmont HS, 10 / 20

Max McFadden - Granite Bay

Max McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity

Max McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity

The week leading up to the race was pretty rough in school, so I was consistently behind on sleep, and it ended up being one of the bigger training weeks this season, which wasn't good for my legs this weekend, but good for long term. I drove up with mom the day before, did a couple pre-ride laps with Emmet and Caleb which was fun, and went to dinner. After dinner, we tossed around the disc for a while, before going back to the hotel, going for a quick swim, then tossing the disc for a good while longer in the parking lot. This was a lot of fun and will make a good memory with the boys. I got to bed a bit later than a usual race-night, a bit before 11:30. After a decent amount of sleep, I awoke at 7:30, and went to the course with mom. For breakfast I had a huge bowl of oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar and a couple handfuls of almonds. I drank a bunch of water and heckled a bit with the guys. at 11:15, I started warming up. After a good warm-up we eventually rolled over to the start and got called up. I knew going into the race that Noah wasn't going to be racing, which gave me a better chance at winning, but I knew it wouldn't be a gimme.

Me and Birdo had front row call-ups, so we coco started the race we got the hole shot. I went out in front, which was my plan, and drilled a moderately hard pace through the flat open section. Going into the singletrack I didn't let up too much, but I wanted to keep the first lap civil, in hopes of getting Emmet or Caleb to ride up front with me and Birdo. Birdo did a great job of blocking anybody who wanted to pass me, and I stayed ahead for the rest of the first lap. Going into the second lap, I was planning on eating on that flat section, but Nate Davis went to the front and pushed the pace so I had to sit in his draft and pedal kinda hard. Then disaster struck. Right as Nate Davis cranked the pace up, I dropped a chain after misjudging one of those little river rut things and I cased on the backside of one. I coasted for a second, stopped, took a few seconds to get my chain back on, and started to try to close the gap. Luckily, Big Emmet was right there when I got back on my bike, and he offered to help close the 15-20 second gap that got opened on me. So Emmet pulled me past a few riders, including Caleb and Matt saldana, and I gave him a pat on the back and a thanks before pulling around him when we got to the singletrack. I had to burn a pretty big match here to catch the lead group, who had picked up the pace significantly, but after a couple minutes I got back onto the end of the group of 4 riders: Nate, Rylan, Birdo, and Matt garrison. I decided to go up to the front of the group because I prefer leading on the singletrack part of this course, and we did a decently hard pace for the rest of the lap. Except when we got to the flat drag section heading towards the finish chute, I decided I wouldn't pull here, and nobody was coming atound me for some reason, so we just randomly rode super easy for a minute in there, until Nathan reluctantly drifted to the front of the group, and after I gave him a "it's time to take a pull buddy" in my best emasculating tone, he pulled! I got to eat 1 gu about halfway through the 2nd lap, so I was a bit behind on eating, but I almost finished my bottle, and took a new one at the start of lap 3. Like the lap before, Nate Davis did a weird attack-pull thing on the flat section, and I took over the lead after a bit of singletrack. This lap was pretty quick, and I put in a solid attack at the technical climb section, but Rylan and Nate caught back on after a minute, so we just went along at a good hard pace for the rest of the lap, and I ate a gu at the paved road section. On the last lap, I hung back on Nathan's wheel for a while, and made a pass after just a bit of singletrack. Before I passed Nathan, he was already riding really hard, and I did the same. I was surprised that Rylan was still on the group, but I guess he has some good but inconsistent power. After the Techy climb I was attacking the best that I could, but my legs weren't doing too great of a job, which was fine because I just kept riding hard. On the flat section towards the finish area, I sprinted and just rode hard, trying not to let Nate or Rylan pass me. Then, Rylan tried to sprint around me but it was at a really sketchy part, and he clipped my bars and went down. I feel really bad about this but I don't think it was my fault, and neither did Nate who had a better view of the crash. Luckily I was able to stay up and stay in front going into the backstraight. I sprinted here so that Nathan couldn't pass me, took the sandy corner cautiously, and then had kind of a shitty sprint to the line which I narrowly won with a bike throw. Pretty stoked that I got a win this season, and this was my first ever win in the Norcal League which is pretty sweet.

What I did well: pushed hard, result
What I could improve: Preparing my legs for races (recovering harder), keeping on time with my eating, maybe spend a little less time on the front of a flat race like granite bay.

Max McFadden, Varsity Boys, Oakland Composite, 1 / 22

Dyan Gong - Granite Bay

Dyan Gong - Oakland Composite, Junior Varisty

Dyan Gong - Oakland Composite, Junior Varisty

I had a game on both Thursday and Friday where my school team ended up losing those good battles. Saturday, my family ended up playing in a volleyball tournament fundraiser for the Brain-Aneurysm foundation. We played maybe 5 straight hours with only 5 minutes for breaks in between each of the 5 matches. Winning a big match in the semi-final boosted my confidence after the 2 days of losing and I just felt great afterwards.

My dad and I woke up at 4:00 AM, loaded up the car, and drove to Granite bay while I slept. Even though I felt super confident, I did play 12 hours of volleyball with little rest but the love for the game masked my pain. I rode the pre ride with Coach Johnny and the Oakland team and we went at a super mellow pace. I was able to see all the lines and find what I wanted to ride, test out my dropper on a race course, and decide between my carbon or my aluminum wheel (because I raced the XTERRA and mtb race at Granite Bay on the aluminum wheel and it felt great). The course was so well put together and the dirt was amazing. After settling with the carbon wheel, I changed out into some casual clothes and I was able to enjoy myself for the first time ever. Sundays just feel more chill than Saturdays and even though I was anxious to race, I had fun just cruising around.

Nutrition wise, I had some oatmeal waffles at 4 when I woke up (it works with early races like XTERRA but not really for these later races). Also, I had 2 bagels with peanut butter and 2 bananas with 1 1/2 bottles of water leading up to the FROSH boys starting to warm up. 

Getting to the warm-up, I felt pretty tired in my legs but I just wanted to have a good day on the bike because I love Granite Bay, this is real mountain biking, and I wanted to go and have fun on my home track. The warm-up felt good, but I felt concerned that I was kind-of struggling to spin fast and powerful and I had a more than average sweat. With 30 minutes to the start, I used the bathroom and spun out on the dirt going to the start. Something new this race was that I was using calf-socks in hopes they would help me out.

On the line, I kept to myself and took my HotShot before it was time to race. We started, I found myself in the top 10 heading into the first single-track, and I just wanted to stay on a wheel. From past experience, I knew the importance of not being stuck behind a slow rider on single-track. I also knew that the Monterey boys love to go out fast and hard so I fell off the wheel a bit with a pretty good gap between me and the guys behind me. I gave the lead train some room, but I kept them in sight as a marker and I feel like I had more flow in the first sections than they did. 2 crashes and some bottlenecks from the lead kids brought me into the top 8 and I was ready to TT my way through the track. Out at the point, I passed up a Monterey kid who looked gassed from the blazing start and I just kept flowing through. I kept saying to myself “Fast is smooth and smooth is fast” “this is a time trial so do your race” “We aren’t in Monterey anymore so send it.” Soon I caught another kid while I was maintaining my pace. Then I caught Drew from Fresno, my fellow Junior rival. I dropped him and I just focussed on a pace I felt I could maintain for 2 ¼ laps. I made it to the final climb and descent and I caught my boy Cameron Stewart. I stuck onto him and we worked together. On lap 2 I led him and we started catching packs of D1 kids. On the first significant climb, he got caught behind 4 guys and I rolled away in my TT mode (I didn’t attack, I just went at the same pace). For the rest of the lap, I did what I usually do where I attack the punchy climbs hard to maintain the flow and I tried to control my heart rate and energy. On the final lap, I caught up with Alex, the current points leader. He wasn’t looking good and I was sure I could pass him. As expected, I’d make a move and he’d try to block or counter it immediately. At one point, he collided with me and slid out and I slowed down so he could get back up. He countered when my wheel slide out and attacked hard on the same climb I dropped Cameron a lap ago. I was sure I would catch him again later because he’d blow up hard, but my heart rate was uncontrollable and my legs felt like jelly. I had been drinking and eating but I guess cliff blocks aren’t effective in a race anymore. From here, I just tried to maintain my race pace at 95% and just focussed on flow and cresting hills. From here, I was sitting in 4th and I just kept pushing so I wouldn’t drop out of the top 5. After the switchback climb near the end, Cameron caught me and he gratefully paced me up the rock garden and down the hill. From here, he opened up a gap but he was still close enough to not break my spirits completely. Across the road, marsh pit, and final single-track, I kept looking over my shoulder to see no one around me at all. I made it to the beach knowing I was home free and I just pedalled my way to my first podium of the year. I crossed the line and waddled my way all the way to the water where I jumped in with a cheering crowd behind me. Cold water never felt so good and my drained legs and aching back thanked me. I stayed there for a while and Calvin from SF and Brian from Black Mountain joined me.  

I walked back up to the finish area where I got my back cracked out, changed, and feasted on the amazing chicken and rigatoni that was there. I kinda wish I ate more because I heard the meat got thrown away but that’s a lesson on my part. My weekend was a success and I feel so proud and accomplished with what I did. I feel like racing my own race and having a technical course really favored my style of riding and I need to work on my nutrition and training because I feel so drained by the last ⅓ of the race. 

Dylan Gong, junior varsity boys, Oakland Composite, 5 / 40

Andrew Fee, Granite Bay

Andrew Fee - Bishop O’Dowd, Freshman

Andrew Fee - Bishop O’Dowd, Freshman

I left Oakland with the Binders at about 10:30 Saturday morning. We arrived at the race venue at around 12:45 to eat lunch and watch the northern conference JV/varsity race. Once that ended Lucas and I wandered around the course, trying to get a sneak peak of what we would be pre-riding. At around 3:15 he and I left with Mike to go on a lap. I went really slow to try to find the best lines. At about 4:15 we picked up a couple more riders and did a second lap, where I showed some of my teammates the best lines in the beginning sections, but then decided to attack the course at a faster pace to see what it would be like in a race. Unfortunately, when I was going faster I forgot to session the rock pile, which was the only bit I had trouble with, so after the lap I decided I would do a cyclocross dismount on that last 8 ft during the race. Then the Binders and I went to our hotel where I met up with my family, showered with Tecnu, and promptly relaxed. We then headed over to the restaurant where I ate a little bit of everything that was given to our table. I then headed back to the hotel and got in bed at around 10:30.

On the morning of the race my family and I headed down to the venue at around 8 to eat breakfast and watch the girls start. For breakfast I had a big bowel of oatmeal with brown sugar and two bananas. After watching the girls start I headed back to the pit zone and started warming up. I enjoyed the warm up; it made me sweat, but I was drinking and eating well during it so I felt really good heading to staging. At the start I got lined up in between the red netting and Alex from Piedmont, so I felt really good about not being ran into by other riders during the opening sprint. 

Coco counted down, and we were off. I think I didn’t have the strongest start, but I didn’t get run into, so I was pretty happy. heading into the first single track uphill, I passed Lucas who took a spill right when the asphalt turned back into dirt. He promptly passed me, and from there I knew he had the adrenaline from his fall to boost him to his goal of podium. For the first half of the first lap, Arlo and I were separated by about 5 riders in one group. Nearing the rock pile we began to run into D1 racers and by the time I was at the bottom of the pile, it was clogged with walking riders and Arlo was nowhere to be seen. I ended up dismounting at the very bottom of the hill and sprinting up, passing a lot of the slower riders but still losing time myself. Once I got back on my bike it was just me behind a D2 rider from San Francisco who I drafted for the rest of the first lap and the majority of the second. During the second lap he and I were struggling to get around the D1 riders, so I felt like I needed to pass him. About 2/3 of the way through that lap I began to loose steam and the SF rider started to pull ahead. I tried to keep up with him but couldn’t until one of the very last hills before the paved road. He was tailing a D1 rider and they both went on the wrong line, causing both of them to stop. I jumped at the opportunity to pass both of them, and put in a hard effort until the finish, and I ended up finishing far ahead of him.

All in all I loved this race. I didn’t have any crashes and I placed better than my previous races, but I really need to work on nutrition during the race itself.

Andrew Fee, freshman boys, Bishop O'Dowd, 14 / 37 

Dan McFadden - Granite Bay

Dan McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity

Dan McFadden - Oakland Composite, Varsity

Had a killer time at this here race last weekend. Freshman and sophomore years my granite bay races were riddled with mechanicals and last year was super gnarly, so i didnt remember granite bay being such a sick course, but it WAS. I was in DC the days before, and was in boston a few days before that, so i only had 2 rides that week and only 1 the week before. I thought this would make me unprepared for the race, but turns out, it just made my legs more fresh than they had ever felt! I headed up the night before and hit the hot tub and lobbed around the plastic plate with cake and gnarly and max for a while. I went up to the course early in the morn to preride. The course was super fun the conditions were mint. I ate a bunch of food, more than usual, but still ended up hungry by the time of warm ups. 

My warm up was very fun. We did a road warm up and pretty much just spun around, which was nice. Did a few sprints and stuff to finish it off and headed to the start line. 

I got there on the later side and was in the very very back. I was like whatever. I usually have bad starts so starting in the back didnt mean a thing to me. But then i had some sort of like 15th call up and got into the third row. Then, there was an opening right in front of me so, laughing, i hopped into the second row among my peers. The start felt not bad. It was hectic and crowded, and i couldnt dish out an insane amount of power but i didnt fall back super far like i usually have this season. I ended up in front of emmet, and he quickly passed up to me and in front of me and we rode together in the pack for a hwile, hooting and hollering, singing around. He made some passes and that i didnt have the ambition to make and he ended up sticking to the top group that i ended up being right outside of. I had a little group for a little while but i soon dropped them and was on my own. My back had started to hurt and ocming into the second lap i was trying to keep trucking along. I was very concerned about pacing, i had nobody around me to base my effort on so subconsciously i think i slowed down a bit and not long after, the SF kid liam caught up to me. We rode together for a lap, i was leading basically the whole time. He occasionally made attacks but i could get some pretty easy time on the downihlls and technical uphills. I was kinda just riding with him, not making serious attempts to drop him off, but coming into the last downhill of the third lap, he was a bit ahead of me. I figured i would let him have a little distance there because it wasnt worth the effort to attack right behind him when i would make up likely most of the time on the dh. But then, on the rocky flat i see him pedal strike and something flies off of him pedal. I go up and am like "oh no dude" and he says "My shoe!!" his shoe had fallen clean off his foot and clean off his bike. I rode on and some dude was like "Ya brah, youve got a huge gap on whoevers behind you. And i thought yea thats a fat mechanical i probably wont need to worry. Poor dude. At the end of that lap coming into the final one, i was ready to just chill and have fun on the last lap, but i see coming around the other side Matt salad and some other dude right up there. I hadnt seen them for a while so i figured i was making time on them and decided to just put a little more effort, see what happens. I caught up to them quite quickly. And rode with them for a little bit, then me and the other dude broke off from Matt, then i broke off from the kid. I thought they would put up more of a fight but i pretty much just rode away into the distance. I was pretty stoked at this point because i had basically secured my position and some dude way earlier had said i was in 13th. With a little mathematics i deduced that after passing liam, matt, and the other dude, i was now in 10th, which is pretty cool by my standards.

Great race, had a lot of fun. Back still hurt like a mother heck, but i managed to have fun. Unfortunately, i want to ride too much to have that much rest so i guess my legs will just be perpetually chooched once again but it was a fun race without that.

Daniel McFadden, varsity boys, Oakland Composite, 10 / 22

Lucas Binder - Leguna Seca

Lucas Binder - Oakland Composite, Freshman

Lucas Binder - Oakland Composite, Freshman

On Friday, I left school at around 1:00 to get to the preride. I arrived at the course at around 3:00 ready to go. I hopped on my bike, and went out on the first preride feeling pretty good about the uphills but concerned about the downhills. After preriding the course, I went back to the hotel, relaxed for a bit, then went to Louie’s for dinner. After dinner, I went home and went to sleep.

I woke up in the morning at around 8:00 ready to go. I packed up my stuff, hopped in the car and drove to the race course. When I got to the race course, I got some oatmeal before I was notified that Oakland composite could do the national anthem. I was interested so I ended up dragging Max Pryor up to the starting line to tell Coco that Oakland composite was going to do the national anthem and that they should come up. After a little bit of waiting, everybody came and we sung the national anthem. I watched all of the girls race starts and returned to the pit to warm up. I put my bike on the trainer and spun up, following coach tom’s instructions for warm ups and by the end of it I felt pretty good. About 15 minutes after the end of warm-up I went to the start and lined up in the call-ups section with Arlo. I had 7th call-up which was pretty cool and I was excited when I lined up on the starting line, ready to go. 5. 4. 3. 2. 1. GO! I was off, I felt pretty good as I raced up the hill, by the time we were at the top, I was feeling good and was in 5th place. When we went around the corner and went down the hill, I lost a couple places because I’m not that good at descending. Once we got back on to the dirt, I started passing people and moving my way up. Just as I was going down a downhill in the middle of the lap, I realized somebody had crashed on a downhill turn and was standing on the edge of the small single track. I went close to the hill to try not to hit them, but I ended up clipping the side of the hill, rolling off my bike and hitting my left elbow on the ground. I quickly hopped on my bike and continued on, but it was really hard to put weight on my elbow because it really hurt when I did. Luckily, we started on the uphill where I went really fast and started passing some D1 Kids. I finished my first lap in 9th place pretty tired after hurl hill and the sprint afterwards and I ended up losing a place to somebody. After that, I was back on the downhills and had trouble descending because of my arm and gave up a couple of places. Eventually, Arlo (who was on my tail most of the race) passed me and began to pull ahead by a lot. I continued having trouble descending, and by the time the downhills were over, I was probably 150 yards away from him. When I got to the hills, I broke into a sprint and started making up a lot of ground. I passed around 8 people and ended up catching up to and passing Arlo right before the beginning of hurl hill. I sprinted up hurl hill and continued on slightly tired but very much motivated. Once I got to the bottom of the hill leading up to the feed zone, I started my sprint. I quickly sped up and started closing in on the rider in front of me. As I got onto the final downhill before the flat near the finish, I realized that it was hard to breathe because I was working so hard, despite that I continued. I pushed on and passed the rider in front of me and crossed the finish line. I continued on to the stop area and layed down my bike and collapsed. I ended up getting 10th place despite my setbacks, which was pretty awesome. My arm really hurt and I ended up having to go to the medical tent to get a sling for it. After that, I went back to the tent and hung out with my friends. At around 2:00 I decided that I wanted to go home, so I could get my arm checked out. Sadly, the story doesn’t end here and after a long wait in the emergency room, I was told that I had fractured my elbow. I’m pretty bummed about that and I’m going to probably not going to be able to ride the next 1-2 races which sucks. Luckily, I had a good race, and I have a trainer at home so I can get stronger and faster for the next race I can race in. I’m trying to stay optimistic about the situation and hope to get better as soon as possible so I can resume riding with the rest of the team.

What went well:

I felt strong on the uphills and flats and I felt that I could really power through anything, especially the sprint at the end.

What I want to work on:

I need to work on descending and passing because I struggled with both of those and those two things led to me losing places and eventually crashing. I think I could also learn how to drink more during the race because that was kind of hard for me. I think being more intensive on bike skills for me could really help me, possibly even more than straight up working out at this point.

Lucas Binder, freshman boys, Oakland Composite 10 / 40