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!

Cyclocross after Dark

017008The Sagebrush CX Night Race #4 was awesome!  Not only was it our first Night Race but it was a Cyclocross race, too.  Our Light and Motion Urban 550 and 180′s  Bike Lights were the Bomb for this type of racing!

Night riding is great, especially when you have the Light and Motion  Bike Lights to torch the course.108 Our assortment of Bike Lights includes the:  Seca 1700,  Stella 300, Urban 550 and 180.  The Seca and Stella are great for the singletrack trails where there are trees, obstacles and curves because they fan out, have long lasting battery packs and are the brightest.  Our lights of choice for this Cyclocoss race were the Urban 550 and 180 Bike Lights.

These Light and Motion Bike Lights are light, bright and are a single, rechargable, compact units.  091The Urbans have 270 degrees of visability.  It has lights that shine out to the side so that when you’re riding on a road, vehicles on cross streets see you.  During this race it worked great, it allowed our Support Crew to pick us out of the pack of racers. 067The Light and Motion Urbans were a lot brighter (at 550 & 180 lumens) than the other Demo Bike Lights the race promoter provided.  After the race people were curious about what lights we had…….we were proud to say and recommend Light and Motion Bike Lights!

042We both got the hole shot and held pace with the lead group.  Our challenge came at the barrier hill.  We just don’t have the physical strength and power to keep their strong pace, lifting our bikes up over 2 barriers and running up a steep, 100 foot long, loose, rutted hill.
Those few seconds add up each lap, boy we look forward to growing older, bigger and stronger!

It was great to have Light and Motion Bike Lights as our partner.  They were the best performing lights this night!  They gave us the advantage of being able to traverse the course with ease and stay competitive for the win!005

Our Light and Motion Bike Lights lit our way to Nye’s 2nd place in the Mens’s C <35 age group and Jake’s 6th place in the Men’s B <35 age group.  It’s awesome being able to race in adult categroies and do so well!  3 CX races under our belts and we feel like we have made great progress.004

A Tough Way to Upgrade – Nye’s Blog

019We just returned from our last road race of the season which was the Henleyville Road Race in Corning, CA.  The Henleyville Road Race was our first ever Cat 5 (no junior) Race and although we knew it was going to be hard we were ready to take it on!  We both competed in our longest road race ( 54 miles).  Junior Categories races are normally around 20 miles013.

The road surfaces were very rough with a lot of potholes so several riders got flats.  About 100 feet past the start line I flatted.  It took me about 15 minutes to fix it.  Since the peloton was gone, my only real goal was to have a respectable finish, but without question I needed to finish to get my 10th mass start to apply for my Cat 4 upgrade and this was the last Road Race scheduled until 2014.  Meanwhile, Jake was riding in the peloton, he comfortably sat in the entire race for the final sprint.040

I jumped back on and started riding again and at a good speed!  I had only been riding for a mile and luckily there was another group coming up that I could draft off of.  I rode with that group an entire lap (the laps were 18 miles each).  On the start of the second lap I couldn’t hang on any longer so I fell back and looked for another group.  About half way through the second lap, another group came up and I gladly drafted off the back of them042.  On the beginning of the third lap they slowed down a lot and I wanted to go faster but I had a hard time pulling in the wind.   A few minutes later a faster group came up and I pulled into their slipstream.  That didn’t last very long as the moto-official show me no mercy and kicked me out, so I had to face the final miles out in the wind, on my own.

058At the finish Jake’s group going up the finishing hill, Jake was in 4th, but was out sprinted by the adults in his group and finished in 6th place.  I was still quite a ways back, but finished in 8th in the Category.  We both secured our 10th mass start, so we can, should we elect, to get our Cat 4 upgrade.

San Francisco Strikes MTB Gold

McLaren Challenge 149Last weekend, not only did we get to visit the scenic city of San Francisco, but we were able to ride in the 1st ever mountain bike race held in the city!  But, our trip to San Francisco to race the McLaren Short Track Challenge was unique in so many other ways.

McLaren Challenge 097What made this one of our favorite races was the uniqueness of the location and the cause that the proceeds went to.  We were really looking forward to racing in San Francisco, where no MTB race has ever been held.  McLaren Challenge 061McLaren Challenge 157The course was neat because it was 2.50 miles long and 450 ft of elevation change and a mixture of mostly singletract and short sections of paved path and road.  McLaren Challenge 047We enjoyed that there were a lot of spectators cheering for the racers.  McLaren Challenge 164All of the people that were at the park were so excited that a race was going on!  San Francisco is a city that had no dirt trails to ride!  This race has now changed that and McLaren Park now is a place where kids can come to experience riding MTB bikes.  Soon McLaren Park will have a Valmont style Bike Park too.  Isn’t that awesome?!

The turnout was great, there were at least 200 people racing and at least as many spectators. That’s more than most of the Race Events we’ve been to, and all of the money from registration and raffle tickets will go to building a bike park at McLaren.  That makes us really happy!  And talk about dedication!  The race promoter, Dan Schneider of SF Urban Riders, has been working on getting this race together for 5 years!  Just goes to show how much people care about this sport!  If you want to help support this Bike Park contact him through their website www.sfurbanrider.org

McLaren Challenge 036The McLaren Short Track was a great event! The community was obviously well behind this event,  the immense amount of prizes and raffle items shows just how San Francisco feels about getting dirt cycling in its City!  The event has a great atmosphere and if you ever get the chance you should go race it, it’s worth it!  If you ask Yackle Brothers Racing, we feel San Francisco would be a great choice for a top UCI/USA Cycling Event.  The people would support it with enthusiasm.  We like to see it get done!