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????????