Machine Does Matter…a Downieville Classic Experience- Jake’s Blog

010Downieville Classic MTB Race  and festival was a fun and unique race, and I loved it!  The XC course the of the hardest I’ve raced with baby head rocks, washboards, jumps and drops not to mention the burly 8 mile climb.  Despite the gnarly terrain my Jamis Nemesis 650B carbon hardtail shredded the course and came across the finish line in 2:30:54 clearing the entire course!Downieville Classic 125

Why is Jamis 650B Carbon Hardtail a great bike for the Downieville Classic?  It’s great because it had nearly everything I needed for this demanding course.   The 27.5 wheel size worked great on the climb because it was the perfect wheelsize to help me keep a good cadence and it was great because it helped me keep my momentum and roll over rocky obstacles on the course.  On the flats the wheels kept my momentum going effortlessly so it felt more like riding downhill than it did like riding on a flat.  On the twisty singletrack descents the Jamis’ Nemesis 650B helped me to maneuver around tight turns and obstacles easily, and it rolled through rock gardens with such ease I felt like a Big Horn Sheep running down a rocky hillside!

Downieville Training 027My Panaracer NeoMoto All Mountain tires were life savers, literally.  Standard XC tires could not have taken the abuse on the Downieville trails and would have found you with a long walk to the finish line. The NeoMotos with their durable casing and tight knobby tread pattern protected my dreams of a Downieville championship like a suit of armor.  They are also light enough to climb while sticking to gravel and powdered dirt. They even stick to wet granite rock after making a creek crossing!  In his race, Nye experienced that they were burly enough to sustain a huge gash in the side wall but the tire still held together through the remainder of his race so he maintained his podium position!!  Now that’s a durable tire!!!

I’m not crazy like single speeders so I use Shimano XT line-up. The drive train worked flawlessly. The clutch derailleur kept my chain tight on it’s sprockets during the entire 20 mile descent!!009  The Shimano XT brakes…. Don’t get me going on the brakes THEY ARE SO AWESOME…with their IceTech system there was never any lever sag from over heating!  They were the bomb for this course with the tight corners, and sudden rocky/rooty sections when you have to hit the brakes fast there is no delay!

At the start of the race I was so glad I had a DT Swiss fork. It locked completely out so it was rigid, which was perfect for the paved road when I needed all of the power going into the pedals. The fork was also good on the downhill, absorbing all of the super rough breaking bumps and rock gardens. 007The DT Swiss HR1501 Spline wheels were stiff so there was no flexing when I powered up climbs and rumbling through the many rock gardens, too. They withstood drops, sharp pointy rocks and of course breaking bumps the size of beach balls!

The FSA SLK Carbon handlebars, stem and seatpost adsorbed all of the brutality of rocks and roots, while keeping my bike as light as possible.  I took some pretty hard hits but FSA components withstood it all….awesomeness!!

015 (2)My Ergon GA1 EVO handle grips were perfect to bomb the downhill with enough cushion that your hands don’t want to scream and a lot of grip that pairs up with the Ergon EX2 Gloves perfectly for maximum performance!!! The Ergon SM3-S saddle was comfortable, light weight and got me through the race with one happy tush!!!

022The XPEDO Ti M-force 4 pedals performed great, meeting my expectations yet again.  After catching some expert racers on a steep hill, the time came to jump off and run up the hill. Unclipping normally isn’t easy on a 15% grade hill but XPEDO pedals make clipping in and out easy. Even going off jumps and ledges I never came unclipped which is great because if I did it would have hurt!

 

I accomplished a lot in the Downieville Classic.  I finished the race and came away with  a first place only 3 sec off the overall Category winner and on a Jamis Nemesis 650B Carbon hardtail did the descent only 10 minutes slower than the top Pros.  It  just goes to show you that great equipment in capable hands =  Downieville Champion!!

 

 

Oh Ya!…My First Pro Cat 1 Victory – Jake’s Blog

Neveda City Dirt #2 146The Nevada City Dirt Classic #2 was really fun, the course was awesome (and especially dusty) and so was the race!  Not only did I win the Cat1 juniors 15-18 age group I also had my first ever  Pro Cat 1 overall victory and post the fastest time on the course!Neveda City Dirt #2 087

When we lined up at the start line I was anxious for the race to start because I had been listenng to the announcer talk about how the course had a half pipe descent and a technical root descent, I was ready to race.   The race went great.  I took the hole shot and stayed there for the 1st mile and I was third (behind 2 adults) at 4 mile mark at the start of the 1st climb only 150 ft behind. By the time we started the second lap I was in the lead with a 17 yr old  junior on my wheel.  Halfway into the third lap I attacked my competitor and he couldn’t respond so I raced to the finish knowing  this would be my first Pro Cat 1 victory!  After the race it turned out that I gained nearly 2:20 minutes on second place in less than half a lap.  When the announcer called me onto the podium it felt great knowing how I did especially when the announcer noted that I had the fastest lap time of the day!Neveda City Dirt #2 117

Even though it was just a local Californian’s XC MTB race, I know that this is a significant moment in my race career, one that I will always remember and one that I  have often dreamed about.  It’s great to know that I still feel as if I am getting much faster and becoming more in tune with my body, and my bike.   I can’t wait until I’m up there with the best and win a REAL Pro race!

Great Fitness and Great Strategy Makes Great Teammates-Nye’s Blog

084A few things from last weekend’s Little City’s Stage Race!  My biggest learning experience was Friday’s Road Race.  The first 2 miles of the course were neutralized. I learned that one big mistake was letting my competitors stay with me because I didn’t put them under stress.

In the 1st lap my 14 and under group, there was no pace, because nobody was willing to pull as they feared Jake’s abilities.  One thing I should’ve done was keep the pace hard so I could have dropped anybody that shouldn’t have stayed with us.  On the second lap our strategy included aggression and that worked great.  We attacked numerous times so we could keep our competitors under stress.  We dropped anybody who didn’t have the fitness to keep up with us.  Our strategy gave me the Road Race Category U12 win, put me in the lead for the GC and placed 5th overrall in the U14.

At the Circuit race our strategy of aggression worked great! We probably would have dropped half of the field but the motorcycle official following the 17-18 Juniors neutralized our attack off the start, because we were overtaking the Junior 17-18 racers.  Things went smoothly after that.  Jake and I attacked the group as a team.  The strategy worked, we dropped over half the group and I rode the rest of the way with two 13-14 year old juniors and crossed the finish ahead of one them in the sprint.  I placed 4th overall in the Junior 13-14 and first in the Junior 11-12 category.

The criterium was an epic race.  One of my goals for this race was to get 3rd overrall in Junior 13-14.  Our strategy for this race was to keep working our competitors until they popped.  We kept attacking them until I finally broke away with 6 laps to go.  One of the 13-14 year olds tried to close the gap but he popped.  After a 2 lap breakaway my brother made a tactical mistake and bridged the gap with one of his competitors. There was another of Jake’s competitors trying to catch up but we kept attacking and he finally dropped.  It all came down to a sprint finish.  They outsprinted me but I was happy with my 3rd place overall.

The Time Trial was very hard on the way back because it was uphill and you had to tuck down low because there were thousands of grasshoppers flying across the road.  Nature’s feed zone!  I placed first in my age group in the Time Trial and 1st in the GC.

I learned new strategies and tactics and I also learned if applied correctly they worked great!  We had a great time doing the races and meeting friends. A big thanks to Bubba Melcher and his wife Terry for putting on this great race

Spring Break – Jakes Blog

Ahjumawi Lava Springs Park 061Last week was the best spring break ever!  This year for spring break we left 2 days after Sea Otter to do our first ever canoe/backpacking trip at the  Ahjumahi Lava Springs just north of McArthur CA, it so awesome!

Day#1: on our first day we paddled 2 miles to Horr Pond. The campground was nice but we wanted to go to Crystal Springs mostly because we were looking for an adventure. Partly because the water was Horr-ible it was green and murky. So we paddled 2 more miles to Crystal Springs, the water was beautiful.

Day#2: We canoed around for a good fishing spot all morning there were two fish that we saw, one was an Rainbow Trout, the other was a wide mouth sucker.  They were both pretty big, about 12-15 inches long, Nye was really looking forward to catching them! Later that afternoon we took a hike to the Spatter Cone and to some lava tubes. The lava tubes were pretty small but they were also cool, there was some algae growing off the roof of the cave……..the perfect place for a bears den ….yikes! The Spatter cone was really cool also it looked like it was once a top of a volcano.

Day#3: In the morning we took a hike to an old farmhouse. While we were walking up to it under the balcony out came a Pygmy Owl!  It was very pretty but that was spoiled by it taking a bathroom break as it was flying away……yuck!  After we saw the owl we checked out the house it was pretty creepy when we went upstairs and saw a bunch of feathers with a pile of bear dung next to it. What ever was living in this house I didn’t want to meet it!   After that we went to the original homestead there was not much but a bunch of old farm equipment.  At 1:15 Dad and I went to pick up our mom at the boat launch..a 4 mile paddle each way. When we arrived back at camp I was exhausted.  Bikers aren’t supposed to have strong arms!!!

Day#4: Today we just loafed around. In the morning we went fishing for a few hours. We saw lots of fish but didn’t catch any. That afternoon we went for a short hike to a big pond that empties out into the lake.  While we hiked around the pond we saw lots of animals. We saw a rare Shasta Crayfish, 2 Rainbow Trout and five frogs!

Day#5: On our 5th day we hiked to a big crater called the Conic Depression. The crater was probably as long as a football field and more than 40 feet deep, it was pretty cool.

Day#6:  This was our last day so we packed up and paddled back to the boat launch. After we were packed we drove to Burney Falls State Park the falls were so beautiful! They said over 1 million gallons went over the falls each day!  After that we stopped at The Subway Cave Lava Tube. It was huge!  Most places were over 10 feet tall, and the cave was over a third of a mile long. It was pretty eerie when we turned off all of our lights…. It was pitch black!  Our dog Rex looked so spooked. I can’t blame him, though it was funny watching him walk as if he couldn’t see!

I had such a fun Spring break, a great new experience exploring a beautiful new place. I loved checking out Lava a Tubes, canoeing and so much more, I hope everyone had as good of a spring as I did!

California Is Full Of Surprises- Jake’s Blog

NorCal #1 170My first NorCal High School League race was so awesome!  It wasn’t at all like I expected.  The turnout at the North Conference race was impressive as there were 377 competitors, both experienced and first timers.  As soon as we pulled into the Pit Zone where race teams had set up a 10′s of race canopys I knew I was in for a unique experience!  This was going to be special!

That’s not all that was unique, this was hands down one of the best organized races I’ve been to.  The race venue was at the East Garrison area of Ft. Ord, in Monterey, CA.  NorCal had set aside a large area for all of the teams to set up Team tents and pit area.  This was the NorCal Pit Zone, something we rarely see except at races like Sea Otter, CX & XC Nationals and a few Pro XCT Races!  In the staging area, we lined up for the race by Class and Division.  I was in the Freshman Division 2 (for smaller high school teams) but in no way did it mean Division 2 had the slower racers.  On the contrary, the top racers in Division 2, had faster times. The race officials were very organized, calling everyone up by Class/Division, then five racers at a time to avoid mishaps at the start.  I thought that was very smart.

I showed up early and had a great start position, though that was negated at the start.  The starter, used the 5-4-3-2-1 countdown method so when she reached “3″,  3 or 4 boys jumped the start.  I hesitated as I expected to start on “1″. Getting off late, I still managed to pull the hole shot into 3rd to start the 1st lap.  When I came through on my 2nd lap I heard the announcer call out my name on the loudspeaker (he would call many of the racer’s name as he or she came through the Start/Finish chute for their next lap). I held the same position until the finish line, passing many of the Freshman D1 and Sophomore racers (who started 5 and 10 minutes earlier) and placed 3rd in the Freshmen D2 Category.

After the finish of each Division/Class, the announcer would interview the winning racers and ask about strategy and tactics.  My favorite part about the race was podium awards, when the announcer called for Poduims, all of the teams came for the Pit Zone, it was like a stampede, 100′s came!  So many people were pouring out of the Pit Zone to support their teammates as they stepped onto the podium.  The crowd was bigger than any Race Event, I have been to yet!  The experience was really motivating and I was excited to be a part of it!

I really enjoyed my first NorCal Race!  I am looking forward to the next one. I have my goals set high to win the series and the championship and I hope the next races are going to bigger and better with more racers and will have more new experiencess!

Cha..Cha..Cha..Cha..Changes-Nye’s Blog

010Sunday’s TBF MTB Classic was our first experience of racing true Califorina terrain.  Nothing like having a complete opposite of what I was used to: racing at high elevation, on mountains with steep, technical, rocky, switchbacking trails.  Most of our core races had fewer than 8 competitors and if any of them had decent USAC points rankings I would be surprised. I found myself seeking adult competitors to race to create challenges.  We traveled long distances to Pro XCT Races throughout the season to race top notch competitors and get USA Cycling Points for rankings.  My dad, coach, team director was right, we needed a change!  I knew what my dad said about the junior race competitors in California being more plentiful but I didn’t think there would be this many other differences and challenges from what I’m used to.

I was stoked to be able to race in the High School Sport Category with 50 racers, 32 of them were 16-18 years old and there was a short handful that I would consider of the elite junior racer status. This new challenge excites me and makes me happy to be able to race top caliber junior racers when I’m not competing in adult classifications.  With over 15,000,000 people in northern California I am expecting to race in larger, more competitve fields. Aside from a few road, mtb and cross junior races, I’ll be doing cat 4 road, criteriums and cross races, too.  In Mountain Bike racing I’ll be where ever the competition is best for me, adult, junior and category!

The course and terrain in California is really so much different and it will provide plenty of new challenges throughout the year.  I know the MTB courses in California are going to be flat, have small rolling hills, short to at most medium length climbs, at low elevation and will not be rocky, but will have more dirt and soil.  In my California races, my coach will be targeting races with more older juniors and adults.  I think they’ll have an advantage racing on these power courses, but I have 6 years of racing and training, so I feel I’ll be right in there for the wins!  All of these challenges will just make me stronger and faster.   This is a challenge I’m looking forward to.

Traveling to race events in California is so much different!   In California we won’t be able to camp at the race venues which has been our tradition.  Campgrounds are few and far between and usually aren’t available and hotels are too expensive to be an option.  Anyhow, without these tools we will only be able to arrive at the race venue early race day morning. That means preriding the course is not viable.  The challenge is, my race competitors, will have vast experience on these courses.  As you can see, traveling is another big challenge I must overcome, but with all of my experience, skills and abilities, I will still be there ready to win.  No excuses!

I’m confident that with all of my skills and abilities I can overcome any challenge that’s within my power.  There is but one challenge that my Team Coach and Director has looked at closely, that I will likely never be able to overcome.  The challenge is that there is only one USAC sanctioned XC race (the Sea Otter Classic) in the region.  I need points from 5 USAC sanctioned races (for XC National call-ups) to have equity with racers from across the country.  This not only affects me as a racer, but also affects my support network of my family, sponsors, friends, fans and supporters.  In as largely populated of a region as I live in, I know I’m not the only one facing this situation.  IS ANYONE LISTENING????????

The…..The…..The Change Will Do Me Good-Jake’s Blog

CX Nationals 0122013 was a year of change.  Our move to Reno redefined our racing Team and season, a late move in June had us training hard on our Mountain Bikes for XC Nationals.  I had about 20 Road Races packed into August & September and had a totally new experience with Cyclocross racing in October, November and December. I even had one race at night and one race in the snow!  2014 is going to be exciting with a full year of Road, XC and Cross and a few Championship Races.  Plus, we’re going to race at least one Enduro and the unique Downieville Classic.

2013 was a totally new ball game; our first XC race was in St. George, UT. One of my favorite courses, I started off the season with a 1st in the mens Cat 1 19-29!  We raced in the Sea Otter Junior men 15-16 Road Race and Junior men 13-14  MTB Race.  In the MTB race I placed 4th. It was a hard race as the older competition was so fast that year!  In the Road Race I raced in the 15-16 age group, which was the youngest age category.  I held with the peloton until the pace motorcycle pulled off and on the first climb, I was shelled right out the back. The 15-16 year olds are sooo fast, near pro level! In the end I placed 38 out of 43.  Knowing all of the fastest racers were coming out of road riding, our family made a big decision in June to move to Reno, NV for more NorCal Road Racing and year-round training.  With California having 35 million residents there is definitely more racing competition!  Living in Reno enabled us to compete in races in California.  We raced the local (road) Boca Reservoir and Air Center Criterium races which taught me a lot, such as how to ride in a peloton safely and communicate with other riders.  The local races also prepared me for the NCNCA Road Race State Championships in Dunnigan Hills and one of my favorites, the Winters Road Race.  The course was so cool, you started off on County roads which ran alongside produce farms.  Next you climbed up a beautiful oak treed canyon and descended off a ridge which almost made my stomach churn it was so fast, and then rode 8 fast miles to the finish!  I had such a blast!  I love racing in CA, it’s such a beautiful state and there a lot of cool people to meet and befriend.

In the fall we did our second ever Cyclocross race in Truckee, CA promoted by the Reno Wheelmen & part of the 5 races Sagebrush Cyclocross Series Races.  I had two new adventures racing CX.  One was my first ever night race which was awesome!  It was so cool because it felt like I was riding in my own sphere of light and the shadows it made were so eerie!  My second was racing in the snow, that was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.  Imagine you’re on a frozen lake with a bike, what do you think it feels like?……it’s so slippery, that’s what it felt like out there and that’s why it’s so darn fun!  In 2014 we raced in the California State CX Championships.  The course was 2 miles long and we had 2 run-ups, ranging from  20-45% grade.  At the end of the race I was stoked for the win!  I was so proud of Nye, he did incredible!  He kept up with a 14 yr old and muscled his way to 3rd; he kept up with me for a while in the beginning of the race!!!  Our fitness was so high we felt we had a great chance to podium and win at CX Nationals so our family made a last minute and big decision to make the trip to Boulder, CO. A special thanks to the Reno Wheelmen Racing Club for supporting us on our trip to Nationals.

When we arrived at the venue I was so excited, it being my first ever Cyclocross Nationals.  The course was really fun with two stair run ups and an off camber hillside.  It could have been better though. The officials cut out 2 technical sections of the course.  Those sections had barriers and a very steep uphill and downnhill, really fun and challenging obstacles.  On race day, from experience I was going to line up right behind the 5 called up racers, but then we found out that every racer was to be called up by USAC points rankings.   Our local Cross races were unsanctioned, therfore I ended up 58th out of 62 racers.  I didn’t think it was fair having finished 3rd in the local Mens B Cyclocross Series, winning the California State Cross Title and having a very good racing resume!  So I raced as hard as always, and I passed 38 racers, in a race which finished in less that 18 minutes. Isn’t this proof I should had been given a fair start position?  It was tough situation for me as I watched a racing friend place 2nd (7 seconds off the National Champion), that I have handled comfortably in 4 other previous National Championship races, knowing that my start positon could get me no better than 20th!

I’ve never before started my season with a State Championship and a National Championship race.   2014 is already off to an exciting start and my expectations are high!   I have the NICA High School League, Pro XCT races like Bonelli and Sea Otter,  XC Nationals & Junior Road Nationals in my sights for 2014 to win in this year.  I’m really looking forward to racing all the local Road and Mountain races and traveling to California to race against the top competitors!

Thank you to all of our 2014 sponsors : DT Swiss, Shimano, Panaracer, Jamis, Yakima, Full Speed Ahead, Sidi, Primal Wear, Ergon, Osprey, Uvex, Light & Motion, Xpedo, VDO, Five Ten and Feedback Sports.  They really mean so much to us and we are so proud to be part of their team.  It’s an honor to be riding and racing for them!  I can’t thank my Mom and Dad enough for making all of this possible!

I wish we could of kept all of our sponsors from 2013, but for lots of reasons that’s not always possible.  Thanks to our 2013 Sponsors and all of them that still sponsor us for helping us with our wonderful 2013 season!  We appreciated all of the past support: Enve, Magura, Body By Design, Finish Line, Headsweats, Honey Stinger!