(Photos from Fun At The Fort 2014)
I’m really excited about this year’s first NorCal High School League Season! Sunday is going to be a blast, I can’t wait to ride against the 90 racers in Junior Varsity Division 1 North (that is only about 1/4 of the total NorCal JV racers) so I can have a new racing experience, meet some new friends and, of course, Have Some Fun!
I’m looking forward to this trip. Saturday we will do a cool ride in Santa Cruz and check out the Soquel Demonstration Forest, Braille Loop Trail which has super fun jumps, and fast technical descents. Sunday morning we will arrive at the race in beautiful Fort Ord California, to start my first NorCal High School League MTB Race. Hopefully the rain will get the course wet and packed down, so it will be like riding a paved racetrack, and when we race it we will set course records! I’m really looking forward to Fort Ord course which has: quick descents, steep climbs and fast roller coaster like trails (which are the bomb). Even though I have been used to starting on the front row, it will be important for me to learn and experience starting further back in the group. So that I can learn to pass to get to the front of the race, so I will be able attain starting position in each class I move up through all the way to ithe World Cup Races. Before races I always seem to get anxious, but I hope this race is going to be like the NorCal State Championship where I met some new friends at the start, which helps me stay calm and confident! My favorite thing about being at a race is after I finish when I’m hanging out, riding around, talking to friends, meeting some new friends and being on the podium representing our wonderful Sponsors and The Yackle Brothers Racing Team!
Being at race events and racing is really fun, but what I like most about racing is meeting cool and interesting people, hang out with and talk to like minded people, because that is what I think makes cycling fun: The People You Meet!
Our XC Bikes were extremely fun and lightweight, but this year we’re exploring Enduro racing for some new fun. Last years first race was on a MTB bike converted to a Cyclocross bike, our Jamis Dakota D-29 Carbon hardtail bikes and this year it will be on our new Enduro Bikes. We know our Marin Attack Trail Enduro bikes will perform great in Enduro racing but we’ll also be racing them in Cross Country to see how great they can perform there too! We had high expectations for this years Enduro bikes in our first race of the year and they didn’t disappoint!
Our first race was the TBF MTB Classic on February 8th at Granite Bay, California. As mentioned in my last blog, we are racing the Marin Attack Trail C-XT 9 Enduro bike this year and we tested it for the first time in a XC Race. I was ready to see how our new bikes were going to perform on Cross Country courses. I was expecting the Attack Trail Enduro bikes to ride as well as a XC bike and not let the extra weight slow us down and which was the case. I like the fact that I can compensate for the weight and gain more power and fitness from this! On our training rides so far the Attack Trail C-XT9 climbed like a Cross Country bike and descended like a Full Suspension, but that was the real test! That was the first time that we have ever ridden on a full suspension bike and I’m loving riding down the trails and feeling like I’m flying through the air. I’m a lot more free to bomb down the trails and jump off ledges and other things now too.
Our 2015 Sponsors products are working to our highest expectations. Their products are working great on our new Full Suspension Enduro bikes (I want to ride on the trails all the time they’re so fun). We also raced Marin’s Stelvio Elite Road Bike in our 2nd race of the year! The Folsom Winter Classic was my first Cat 4 Peleton finish and I was in the front of the group the whole race because I have worked so hard on my fitness. Also, thanks to my sponsors products working so well! Unfortunately there was a last lap crash that I had to slow down for, I was disappointed because I was very excited to see what I was able pull off in the final sprint! I’m very excited to ride and promote Full Speed Aheads new Vision Carbon Road and SLK MTB wheelsets on all of our adventure rides and races.
2015 is going to be a very exciting year, racing Enduro, Road and Mountain Bikes. We have many expectations for the performance of the Attack Trail C-XT 9 Enduro Bikes on XC Courses, but I think they will fill all of them and much more in our races to come!
Over my 8 years of racing I’ve seen many people on the side of the trail trying to fix flats, broken chains and all sorts of other stuff. One of the skills my Coach/Trainer/Dad taught me early on was “Bike Preservation”. Paying attention to my tires, derallieur, and other components to avoid damage, and to ride within my limits. Another skill I was taught was how to fix my bike by myself so when I am in a race I could always make it to the finish line. Since my Dad taught me when I was young to preserve my bike, I have never had a DNF in my 8 years of racing. Learning these skills is important because they will make a huge difference throughout the long run in your race results.
Building out bikes is really fun, it’s like putting together a puzzle, getting all of the components precisely placed so that everything works in perfect harmony. After a few years of watching, helping and learning from our Dad as he fixed and maintained our bikes, Nye and I, at 8 and 11 years old learned how to build out our first bikes, our Jamis Dakota D 29’s. We began with just the frame and started building. I started with the fork, which was pretty easy. The handlebars were easy too, but the wheels were really fun learning to tape the rim and to make the wheels tubeless. Though we couldn’t have done it without our Dad who had years more experience than us and knew quite a bit about bikes, as he had ridden in southern Utah and Colorado since 1990.
Aside from it just being fun, it is very helpful learning about building bikes because during a race you can be confident that if you have a mechanical you will have the knowledge to fix your bike and make it to the finish line avoiding the dreaded “walk of shame“. This saves you and your bike! Even though learning to maintain a bike is great. Another great skill is to learning “Bike Preservation“. To learn how to preserve my bike my Dad taught me to be attentive to where I put my tires, like not to bomb down the trail without paying attention and run over a sharp rock or root. In just a split second of inattention you could have hours of work to repair your bike. Which can cost you a first place finish, or podium, not to mention the money you could spend to repair or replace it! That is why it is so important to preserve your bike and know how to fix it too!
Since I started riding and racing I have learned a lot about my bike, like how to build out a bike, how to maintain a fork and most importantly how to fix my bike during a ride or race. Learning about your bike and how to fix and maintain it is important to learn because if all you know is how to ride a bike you won’t be able to finish every race with Both Wheels On The Ground!