The 2012 USA Cycling Cross Country National Championship was held in Sun Valley, ID on July 5-8. The Yackle Brothers Racing Junior racing team has, for its 3rd consecutive year participated. In Sol Vista Colorado in 2010 the Yackle Brothers Racing Team walked a way with its 1st National Championship, in its first ever participation. There, Jake was the National Champion in the 10 yr old and under class. The 2011 Nationals’ saw Jake having an age group upgrade to the 11-12 yr old class and Nye was now 8 yrs old. In spite of racing older competition, Nye was able to win a Silver and Jake a Bronze at Sun Valley, ID. It was the first of two years Sun Valley, ID would be hosting the USA Cycling Cross Country Nationals.
The 2012 Season for the Yackle Brothers Racing team had the makings of a special one! With highly successful participations in the Sea Otter Classic, the Whiskey Off Road and 18 other races (including road and endurance race) behind us, our Racers were in fine form for their assault on Sun Valley. We arrived on the afternoon of 4th of July to be able to attend the racer’s dinner in Town Square. Jake would race at 3:15 pm in the 11-12 yr old class and Nye at 4:30 pm in the 10 and under class on July the 6th. The day before the race, we focused on course recon and practicing the technical parts of the course and little focus on training miles. We were ready and chomping at the bit for our race start times. Now we just need to get a good nights sleep and put behind us the hours before our afternoon start times.
We awoke on race day with task one completed, everyone slept well. We had a leisurely breakfast and headed to the race venue to watch all of the other Juniors races that would start earlier. We were especially interested in the 13-14 yr old class as Jake and Nye had raced the top ranked boys in this class at the Sea Otter Classic and they finished an astonishing 5th and 7th place there! Being able to compare their lap times to the 13-14 yr old podium lap times was a pending interest. We watched the 3 age group class races, stayed hydrated on this 87 degree day and kept stoked with calories. Ready for our 1st race start! All of their hard training, racing successes and the awareness they each had achieved a front roll call-up, kept Jake and Nye cool and relaxed as they both had the highest level of confidence.
Jake took his front row spot, Donna headed to the feed zone and I took position on the punishing climb that he would see each time on their 5 laps! The starter called them to the line and they were off. Jake sprinted off the line for the hole shot and began to press his advantage on the cobblestone ski village pathways. One racer came with him and made a brief pass, but Jake would in short order reclaim 1st in the flat, wooded, lower single track. He held that lead to the first of five climbs. Jake immediately established his tempo on the climb while two competitors drove hard past him, but only achieved a few feet of advantage. By the end of the climb as they entered the single track, Jake had dispatched one racer and was right on the wheel of the other. The leading racer and Jake took to the switched-back, single track descent. It was clear that Jake could descend much faster than the lead racer as he held Jake up and the 3rd place racer caught Jake’s wheel. They exited the single track and crossed the start finish line and Jake promptly accelerated past. That would be the race for the Championship right there! Jake continued to press his advantage each lap as he uses the climb to build his gap, while the other boys raced for the 2nd-5th podium places, Crossing the line in 1st with a 38:23 (a 7:40/lap time) and a second National Championship for him!
It was now 9 yr old Nye’s time for his shot at a National Championship! We all took our spots on the course. Nye fired off the start line on his Jamis Dakota d29 race bike to an immediate 5 bike length advantage that would hold until the wooded, flat single track section. There would be but one racer who could hold his wheel. They stayed glued together into the first lap climb and continued that way to the final meters of the climb. There, the 2nd place racer surged to Nye’s left side, Nye immediately saw the move and responded with a huge display of power and in the course of seconds had opened a 15 ft gap and pressed that to about 40 ft on the initial stages of the upper single track. In the first 1/2 lap they demolished the rest of the field and it was clear that just 2 boys were capable of this Championship. They came back together on the descent and in the lower course area. Nye gets briefly passed on the lower course but immediately reassumes the lead and heads into the 2 lap, 15% grade climb. This time the outcome at the top is more conclusive as Nye hammers out a gap and and advantage over his competitor. This lap he pushes harder and maintains that gap before the 3rd climb. He clearly is the strongest racer and advances his time gap each of the next two climbs. He finishes 1st in a time of 32:08 ( a 8:02/lap) and achieves a second National Championship for Yackle Brothers Racing in the 2012 USA Cycling Cross Country National Championships.