My 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!