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

Desmond Griffith, Six Sigma

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity

Desmond's Scoop:
I.  Day Before: We set of on the very scenic drive up to Lake County, and set up our tent upon arriving at the course. I got in a lap for preride, but would have preferred to do another, to get more familiar with course conditions this year. I had dinner at the spot, with OC Fed, and tossed the disc with the boys. On the way back to the course, we got pulled over, and the Highway Patrol said it was because the car swerved across the median line 3 times. Luckily we got out of that one without a ticket or anything of that sort. I hung around the campfire and listened to Morgan's lovely singing, whilst downing some water. Then, lights out!

II.  Leading up to Race: I got a decent amount of sleep and waited a bit to have breakfast. I had peanut butter oatmeal, eggs, and 2 bananas, and 1 or 2 light snacks closer to the start. I lubricated my chain and got my bottle and food situation dialed. I hopped on the trainer and warmed up in the dry heat. I had a 13th place call-up at the line, and I was nervous but ready to go.

III.  The Race: GO!! Finn and I stuck close through the culvert section. I passed coming through the finish area, and got behind Conor. Branden from Clayton Valley got past here. I remained behind Conor for the 1st lap, where he encouraged me to stick with him. Going into lap 2, I was already very tired, and I sort of bailed on a feedzone bottle offer from Devin. I let Conor hammer through the course. My new shoes (at least the right one) came a little loose, so my annoyed and fatigued self had to stop for a hot (literally) second to tighten it back up. At this point, Finn caught back up, and we stuck together for the rest of the lap. I was struggling and didn't have the strongest morale; I sorta feel bullied by the course when I race on it, as all the bumps and crazy turns seem to taunt riders. Finn lead at the beginning of the 3rd lap, and I took the lead after. I was very ready to be done. Finn passed on one of the last climbs, and told me to finish strong. I fought my way through the finishing bumps and complained about the course a bit more. The thing is, I like riding the course MUCH more than I do racing on it, cause there's practically no recovery when racing a course like this.

IV.  Recap: I was glad when I finished, and satisfied that I still got a top 15 finish on a course that destroyed my morale! What went well: No falls, unlike last year, and still got top 15. What I need to work on: Technical and cornering skills, as well as strengthening my mind, so that the course doesn't get in my head. Send it!

Desmond Griffith, junior varsity boys, Oakland Tech, 13 / 35

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

Noah Hayes - 2018 Fontana City ProXCT HC - UCI Junior Series

The Friday morning before the race I woke up and got a mediocre hotel breakfast and went over to the course to pre-ride.  I did one lap at a moderate pace to see how my legs were feeling then did a nice slow lap after that in the heat.  The course was pretty long at about five miles with a solid amount of climbing. 

It started off with some loose fire roads that lead into a short climb with two main lines.  After this there was a short descent followed by a long, exposed paved climb that lead up to single track that rolled for a short period before pointing up again.  The single track climb was super rocky and loose so maintaining traction was bit tough.  After that climb we finally got to the first descent of the race.  This was composed of a few tight sections and some steep rock rolls.  After this we hit another steep single track climb that popped out on another pavement section before jumping into some flowy single track.  This was followed by a steep kick up to the final proper descent of the course.  There was a flat fire road.  Then there was one final loose rocky climb then we dropped to the start finish area.

The morning of the race I dragged myself out of bed at 4:40am, got in my moms car, and drove to Starbucks for a breakfast sandwich and a cup of coffee.  After devouring my food I drove back to the hotel to prep my bike and bottles for the race.  I left for the course at 6:10am and put my bike on the trainer immediately after getting there.  I had around twenty minutes to chill before getting all kitted up for warmup.  I was sweating a lot on the trainer (felt like more than during the race) so I drank two bottles of water with some electrolyte mix during that one hour period.

After warmup I quickly got my bike of the trainer and got to staging where I was called up in the third row.  Given my low number of UCI points prior to this race I was a bit surprised I was that far up, but I wasn’t complaining.  They gave us a one minute, thirty seconds, and fifteen second warnings and then we were off for our three laps.

I had an alright start and didn’t lose any spots.  The group was charging on the fire roads leading to the first climb and it was fairly chaotic, staying that way up the pavement climb. Once we reached the single track I made more passes wherever I could until I got caught behind a slower rider.  I was stuck behind him for the remainder of the climb and watched the main group ride away.  I eventually was able to get around him when the trail opened up a little bit and started pushing the pace to get on to the next group ahead of me.  I caught on to it and sat on the back of it until sprinting to take the front for the descent.  I was passed by my teammate Ethan Moyer on the final fire road climb of the lap and he lead us through the start finish.

At the feed zone the order in the group was still the same and unfortunately my teammate ended up taking my feed unintentionally, meaning I had no water during the entire second lap.  This meant I couldn’t make any attacks on the climbs in order to prevent a bonk on the final lap.  I just held on to the group I was with and hoped nobody put in any big efforts and luckily I was able to follow everything fairly easily.

Coming around for the next lap I was able to get a bottle at the feed and pounded a gel but I started to feel the effects of not drinking for 25 minutes.  I could tell I was starting to fade when the group I was with dropped me on the first climb of the lap and my NorCal League competition Max McFadden and Nathan Davis caught up to me.  This gave me the motivation I needed to start pushing again.  I gradually pulled back towards the group that dropped me and sprinted my way up the final fire road climb within five feet of them.  Unfortunately, a lapped rider was occupying the space in those five feet and I was not able to get around her before the single track.  I watched the group I almost caught ride off while I struggled to get around the rider.  I looked back and still had a gap on Max and Nathan and continued to power up the last climb and down to the finish.  After the race I was randomly selected for doping control and had to spend two hours taking two samples, due to the first one being diluted somehow, instead of spinning out.  I ended up coming in 19th overall and was the 9th American. 

The next day was the Short Track.  I woke up at around 8:00am and went down for some hotel breakfast at 9:00.  After this I did a quick spin to loosen up my legs and headed over to the course.  Right when I got there I got in my kit and went to ride the course.  It was the same start as the XC and almost all fire road with one climb. 

I did two laps without incident and was feeling pretty good as I warmed up.  I went out for a third lap and about half way through my dropper suddenly went down without me pressing the lever.  When I stood out up it stayed down and the lever wasn’t doing anything.  I immediately rode over to the pit and told the mechanic, Julien, about what happened.  He replaced my post with a rigid one for the race and told me that the dropper post was toast.  I then hurried over the the short track and staged without any warmup.  They only called up the first row and the rest was a free for all with no organization.  I think there were around 12 people in my row and we were all overlapping bars.

They counted down and we were off.  I was able to get a pretty good start and was sitting in the lead group going into lap two.  Going into the third corner on the course someone right in front of me crashed and the field split.  I spent the rest of the race chasing as hard as I could but was never able to reconnect with that group.  I ended up coming in 12th place and was the 7th American.

There was some bad luck that definitely affected my race but given what happened I’m stoked on how I did.  I definitely learned that no matter what happens in a race you have to keep going.  When I missed my feed I thought my race would be completely over but by staying positive and riding smart I was able to salvage my race. I also learned to bring a spare for everything that could break on my bike because being caught out like I was really sucked.  Can’t wait to use what I learned this weekend at Bonelli next weekend!

Noah Hayes, Skyline High School

Desmond Griffith - Granite Bay

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity

I.  Day Before: After carpooling up to the venue with Emmet and company, I got in a 1-lap preride, which I would have wanted to do 2 of, but I kinda got separated from the group. I took a quick plunge in the lake and went to the hotel to get ready for dinner. I ate at Buca with OC Fed., and went in BOTH the pool and hot tub with the boys, upon arriving back at the hotel. I went back to my room, brushed my teeth, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

II.  The Morning of: I woke up to my alarm around 7:30, and got my 1st breakfast (eggs and roasted potatoes) at the hotel. I got to the course, drank plenty of water, saw the girls' starts, and ate my 2nd breakfast; peanut butter oatmeal, 1 hardboiled egg, and 2 bananas. I kept hydrating, and eventually changed into my kit. I got my race gear together early, which felt good. Right before it was time to hop on the trainer, I had a bit of lower back pains, and Tom led me through some quick lunging and child's pose stretches. I did my trainer warm up and made my way down to staging. Coco re-iterated what he had mentioned to all other groups at the start line, to "be cool" with one another out there. I thought of Pulp Fiction at the moment, hoping that all of us would be like Fonzies out there, and "What's Fonzie like?"

III.  The Race: 5...4...3...2...1... GO!! We were off! I had a decent start, and got right behind Conor going into the singletrack. I had trouble holding his and Nathan's pace, but I kept racing my own race. Branden from Clayton Valley Charter slid past before the 1st rocky climb. I passed some D1 Berkeley High and Monte Vista here and on the stretches along the shore. I had to dismount along some of the techy bits, namely the uphill rock garden, but was able to quickly get back going after. I drank along some of the flat sections. I began my 2nd lap, and passed a D1 rider right before the singletrack. Going along the shore of the lake, I ate my gel and washed it down with a drink from by bottle. Right before the last climb, my pedal struck a rock pretty hard, but it cushioned my foot. Entering lap 3, I proceeded to grab the bottle that Devin was handing me, but I didn't have a firm grip on it. Luckily, Bobbi had a spare, which I took. I passed some D1 along the 1st singletrack sections, and a Fresno Composite about midway through. He made a pass, but I passed back on one of the punchy singletrack climbs. Coming off the singletrack descent, I put the power down and saw Luke running alongside me as I sprinted for the line.

IV.  Recap: This is not my fastest course, but I put down a solid effort and finished in 13th. For those who fell during the race, I hope you're doing alright.

Desmond Griffith, Junior Varsity Boys, Oakland Tech 13 / 40

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

Desmond Griffith - Fort Ord East Garrison

I.  Race-Day Morning: The alarm blast woke me at 6:30 in the am, and I was like, "I'm gonna set it to 6:35", and so I did. I then got ready and we were off to the races! I had some bites of an Arizmendi scone, to get some initial fuel in. I'd hoped to pre-ride Friday, but that didn't happen, due to my poor communication! Anyways, I went on the pre-ride /w/ coach Johnny, and he suggested that on every climb, I should make an attack during the race. I finished the pre-ride, drank a few cups of water, ate 2 granola bars, and watched the girls' starts. Returning, I ate a big bowl of oatmeal with peanut butter in it, a pear, and 2 hard-boiled eggs. I drank a few more cups of water, made sure my bike was ready to go, and changed into my race kit. I had some of those mini energy bars which I believe are fairly healthy; grains, Omega-3 and not too sweet, and got me feedzone bottles all sorted out. Tom helped me get my bike on the trainer, and during my warm-up, the rain began! It got pretty chilly, and Devin insisted that I wear a hoodie until all racers were lined up. I was worried that there would be a bottleneck at this start, especially during the heavy rain. I had a 12th place call-up, and the adrenaline was flowing through me when my name was called!

II. The Race: Coco told us that he wouldn't leave us hanging, and then he counted us off. My start was decent, and I passed a couple riders on the singletrack. It was muddy from the start, and figuratively speaking, my brakes and cogs/cassettes were pissed off at me! I sympathized with my bike, and it was a struggle to race in such conditions. When Connor dismounted, I encouraged him as I passed by. I passed a pack of riders on one of the little climbs, and was cautious on the slippy corners, despite Morgan and Devin telling me to let go of the brakes on some of those turns (I didn't want to slide out, and at times felt like I was close to doing so.) I got passed by 2 riders, including Connor. I followed them up the gravel hill, passing 1 or 2 Berkeley High riders towards the top. I got passed on the descent, and passed a D1 on the flat section. I passed again on the climb where most of the spectators were, and proceeded to lap 2. I passed an El Cerrito rider after the 1st descent, and another on the flats. About halfway through this lap, the rain had let up, but I was already demoralized, as my bike didn't sound too good, and some mud/sand got in my eyes. However, I knew that if I forfeited, I would regret it after, and so I kept going, and thought, "Wow, It's gonna be great when I'm done!" Nils passed on the fire road descent, and I stuck with him for a bit. He got ahead going into the final lap. At this point, I grabbed a bottle at the feedzone and ate my gel on the flat section before the flowy descent, some of which ended up on the handlebars of my bike! I passed a couple of riders, and Julien caught me. We rode together for a bit, both of us passing Nils. Julien passed before the gravel hill, and I passed him on the hill. I put some power down through the home stretch, including the final, punchy climbs. I snaked around the twisty section, looped around the finish area, and sprinted for the line, my bike and body dirty as hell!

III. Recap: Although a good portion of the race was not too enjoyable, I pushed on and got a 12th place finish in JV D2! This is not my strongest course, but I felt like I gave it my all. Despite the fact that there was very little climbing, there were hardly any places to recover. What went well: I pushed hard, kept going when I felt like stopping, was fairly consistent, and finished in the top 15! What I need to work on: Had I drank a little more fluid during the race, my legs probably would have felt a little better. At times they were sort of on the verge of cramping up, but I acknowledge that it is harder to drink at Ft. Ord since the course is so fast. Overall, I'm proud of both my result, and the team's results as a whole!

- Desmond Griffith, junior varsity boys, Oakland Technical High School, 17 / 52

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity

Desmond Griffith - Oakland Tech, Junior Varsity