Jake’s Blog-Adaption: The Power of Strategy!

On Friday we arrived in Albuquerque for the Oak Flats XC race.  I was itching to pre-ride the race course!  I heard there was a steep, rocky climb on our course so I wanted to see the course to prepare a strategy for my race.

After we finished our pre-ride, it rained for three hours and also rained overnight.  In the morning, because it was so muddy, we knew that the strategy from our pre-ride needed to be adjusted to account for the mud.  The strategy we developed yesterday was solid and we still acted on the basic parts of our strategy, like fast starts, leading on the single track and attacking on the rocky climb.

The muddy conditions caused us to add to our strategy for the race.  Staying in the packed down path of the previous Cat 1 and Pro racers would help keep my bike clear of mud.  Riding in the big chain ring was going to keep mud from building up on my chain and front derailleur.  When necessary, riding on the grassy side of the trail would also help keep mud from clogging up my bike.

On my 2nd lap, I was treated to the experience of exactly how my new, adopted strategy paid off.  Kaden Murdock and Joshua Squires, two Cat 1 Junior 15-18 year old boys had raced off the beaten down trail, with mud packed on their forks, rear triangles and derailleurs, they could hardly move.  Using the modified strategy of staying on the packed down trail, my bike stayed mostly clear of mud, allowing me to blow past Kaden, Joshua and many other Cat 1 racers!

A few days after the Race, the race promoter posted the results and I was stoked when my dad told me that of the 160 racers, only one singlespeeder, one Cat 2 racer and all four of the Pro racers had beat my finish time over 3 laps!  I was super stoked that the quality of my race performance was a direct result of not only my training and preparation, but also the spot on strategies that are developed by the Yackle Brothers Racing Team’s Director and members.

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Nye’s Blog-A Racer’s Coming Out!

Friday, we left home for the Oak Flats XC race at 7 in the morning.  We arrived at noon, ready to preride the course.  We set up camp and hurried to fit in a preride because of the looming thunderclouds.

The course was 6 mile laps of fast, flowing singletrack through a ponderosa pine forest with a few ascents and descents through technical rock gardens.  We finished the preride just before the rain.  Since we didn’t want to sit in our tent the rest of the day while it was raining, we built a a frame shelter out of sticks, pine needles and pine cones.

We heard it raining at night, too. The next morning we woke up knowing the course was obviously going to be muddy.  While we were preparing for our race we saw 2 racers come back from their pre-ride, with mud covering most of their bikes. The racers were thankful that the race director delayed the race for one hour so the course could dry out some more.

The race start was great because I led all of the Cat 3 racers into the singletrack.  Except for one adult, I never saw them again.  After that, I set my focus on quickly, passing as many Cat 2 racers as possible, knowing that they were going to slow me down in the extremely muddy sections of the trail to come.  Soon, I was doing battle with Ryan, one of Jakes competitors in the Cat 2 juniors class.  After a technical rock garden climb to finish my first lap I looked back and never saw him again.  I hammered the second lap and took home 1st place in the Cat 3 juniors <18 yrs. old and 2nd overall in my Category 3.

Since the results were posted, my Dad told me that my 2 lap time was 7th fastest overall, out of all Cat 2 and 3 racers. At this moment, I’m feeling very confident with my training, fitness, strenght and my wins in my last two races. This has proved to me that I am a top caliber junior racer.  I’m excited for my future races, because now I always expect to be on the top of the podium.

Jake’s Blog – Homer! “0ur 10 Day 0ddessy”

I am starting my blog where Nye ended his at the Big Basin Redwoods State Park.  We had three fun filled days of vacationing in California before we had to head to the Whisky Off Road to begin preparation for our race.

In Big Basin we did a fantastic 11mi hike through the redwood forest to upper, lower Berry Falls and to the Golden Cascade Falls.  We climbed across a huge redwood that was 40ft above the creek below and encountered two odd creatures, a Newt and a ton of Banana Slugs!  Nightriding among the redwood giants with our Light & Motion Urban 180s and Stella 300s was super cool!  On our last day in Caifornia we were able to see the spectacular Elephant Seals on the beaches tucked into jagged rocks along the shore line of the Ano Nuevo Marine Wildlife Reserve.  We beamed on our great 18mi ride along the shoreline and through the hills of the Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz, which helped loosen our legs for the 14hr drive to the Whisky Off Road.  We arrived in Prescott at 8 AM only to see thunder clouds on the horizon.  To make the best of the day we headed to downtown Prescott to check out the venue.  Later in the day, the weather started to clear up enough that we were able to preride the first 4mi of pavement and by the time we reached the dirt road and singletrack they were already dry enough that we could ride the first 2mi of the dirt course.  The Whisky Off Road 25 Proof was 29 miles long and climbed 4000ft.  Nye placed 7th, I placed 5th, which was impressive considering that we had to race in the 18 yr. old and under class, the two teenagers who won pulled the two fastest overall times in the 25 Proof.  When we arrived at the race venue I was amazed to see that the streets were entirely barricaded off and that there were already a few 100 racers lined up at the start, we had to scramble to get as close to the start line as possible.  400ft after the start I reached the first corner, Nye was nowhere to be seen and the leaders were aready two blocks ahead, though there was still 600 racers behind me.  Out of 700 racers, me and Nye finished 20th and 66th overall and 5th and 7th in our age group. We did great!  Standing upon the podium, feeling so proud my first time before such an enormous crowd brought tears to my eyes!

We were spent, after race again Sunday in the La Tierra Torture (placing 1st and 2nd), completing the Whisky Off Road 25 Proof and driving 8 hours through the night to get to Santa Fe at 2 AM Sunday.  With only four hours of sleep I finished 8th overall in the category 2, 19mi XC race. It was a great  accomplishment!

Our 10 day odyssey was filled with new experiences and learning.  I had a fantastic time in California, trekking through the redwood forest, playing in the ocean and seeing Elephant Seals, Sea Otters, Harbor Seals, Newts, Banana Slugs and creatures of the tidal pools. 

Since we’ve already conquered  the competition in the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah we decided to test ourselves against the top juniors at the Sea Otter Classic and Whisky Off Road.  Finishing 5th and 7th at both races proved that we can compete in higher age classes and with the top Juniors in the Nation.  Our sponsorship activities at the Sea Otter Classic and Whisky Off Road proved two things: 1) that the Yackle Brothers Racing Team’s name has become more well known, and 2) that bicycle industry companies are starting to be interested in having Yackle Brothers Racing represent their company.  Furthermore, we’ve proven that we can race 62mi, climb 8,200ft in three different XC race events, over 7 days and travel over 2,800 mi and be ready to compete at our best!

Nye’s Blog: Homer! “0ur 10 day Odyssey”

Since last season we have been planning to go to the Sea Otter Classic, Whisky Off Road and the La Tierra Torture, a trip that would last 10 days and take 2,800 miles of driving.

It all started as we decided to drive 18 hours overnight to get to the Sea Otter Classic, so we would have the most time to do things while we were there.  When we arrived at 6 in the morning and I saw the Raceway Venue, I was so excited.  We registered, and then set up our Race camp.  I could hardly wait to pre ride the course and explore the venue!  The course was fantastic!  We were excited to get to the Expo to meet our sponsors and make new friends.   We did this Thursday, Friday and Saturday for 5 hours each day.

Thursday night, one of our sponsors, Light and Motion Bike Lights invited us to a media event/open house at their headquarters on Cannery Row in Monterey.  Wow!  Was that a great experence!

We watched the dual slalom, professional mens and womens short track and XC event.  It was a great time and it was awesome meeting Burry Stander, Kyle Stait, Emily Batty, Greg Minnaar, Catherine Pendrel, Cam Zink, Geoff Kabush, Georgia Gould, Barry Wicks, Cedric Gracia,Todd Wells, JHK, Sam Schultz, Max Plaxton and many more.

On race day we warmed up on the Laguna Seca Raceway where the race started.  We had previewed the course 2 times and it included the Raceway, doubletrack, sweet awesome singletrack and 2,800 feet of climbing in 14 miles.  The race went great. Jake took 5th and I took 7th.  Jake and I raced in the 13-14 year old class and the kids in placing in front of us were the top racers in the nation. The 6 boys who finished before me all beat last years winning time, while I was just a minute shy.

On Monday morning with our successes at the Sea Otter behind us, we left Sea Otter/Laguna Seca and went exploring at the Point Lobos National Marine Reserve.  I loved seeing the Harbor Seals with their pups, Otters, Crabs and touching sea creatures in tidal pools.  We finished and started our drive to the Big Basin Redwoods State Park, our camping destination.

On our way we stopped at the Boardwalk and beach in Santa Cruz. It was fantastic playing at the beach for the first time.  On our way to Big Basin I saw hundreds of big redwoods and I thought it was too good to be true.  We took a night ride with our Light and Motion bike lights and the redwoods looked like giant soldiers standing beside the trail. During the ride I imagined that I was racing through the forest trying not to let the soldiers capture me.  We saw the biggest redwood in the park, the Mother of the Forest, 70 feet around, 321 feet tall and a width of 15.3 feet.  We needed to head back to our campsite to get some sleep for our big trek to the waterfalls the next day.

Read Jakes Blog for the continuation of our odyessy!