Crashes: The Achilles Heal of My Road Racing- Jake’s Blog 

I dedicate nearly all of my race Season to Enduro and XC Racing. So when I have an opportunity to compete in a road race, I need to capitalize and get the best result possible!  Out of the 13 USA Cycling sanctioned road races I have competed in during the past 2 years, I have been involved in 5 crashes. 3 of which occurred in the last 7 days!

img_9745The first crash I was caught in was the 2015 Bariani Road Race.  The crash occurred after racing 56 miles, 300ft before the finish, as a racer in the front of the peloton was blown sideways by a gust of wind, causing a domino effect crash. I instinctively swerved off into a paved ditch to avoid the multi-racer pileup, crashing there.

 

img_8161In 2016 during the last lap of the Folsom Criterium, the rider in 5th or 6th position crashed 2 bike lengths in front of me. Causing me to slam on the brakes to slowly ride around the crashed riders. This set me so far back that I had no shot at the win.

 

 

 

 

img_6477In 2017 during the Cantua Creek Road Race, the racer in 4th, who was directly in front of me crossed wheels and went down causing me to go over my handlebars. I untangled my bike and had to chase back to the lead group blowing all of my energy.  I just caught them before the finishing climb where I was dropped.

 

 

img_6741 5 days later during the Thunderhill Circuit race, on a tight, wet, corner on the last lap, a racer’s front wheel slid out causing a major crash.  I again had to slam on the brakes to avoid crashing, setting me far behind the lead group.

 

 

 

img_70622 days later during the Steve Harrison Criterium 2 1/2 laps in someone slammed into my rear wheel going into a corner nearly causing me to crash. The rider broke my rear wheel spoke and damaged my derailleur to the point where I couldn’t shift, and I was stuck in a small gear. I ended up riding to the pit zone and was forced to use a neutral bike throughout the rest of the race.

 

img_7056I’ve learned that if I get involved in a crash it is nearly impossible for me to get a points result, which I am seeking in order to upgrade from Category 3.  Since I have been caught in so many crashes, I know that in order to avoid being crashed out, I need to stay in safe positions in the peloton and always be ready to react and avoid any potential crashes!

Downieville Classic Re-Cap – Jake’s Blog

Frame-09-08-2016-11-43-06For the past 3 years I have competed in one of the most amazing race events in America, the one and only Downieville Classic!  I fell in love with this event the very first time I competed in it. The Downieville Classic has so much to offer: the two sweet races, the cool activities, the awesome people, and the amazing feeling of being on the podium.

There two things that make Downieville so cool, the Race, and the Event

Race:  The Dowineville Classic consists of 2 ultra-fun and extraordinary challenging races, the XC, and the DH.  This is my 2nd year of competing in both of these races, and I felt I had a good chance of winning the Junior Expert Under 18 All Mountain “World Championship” Title!  IMG_3995My XC Race started at 9:35 Saturday morning.  In the first leg of the 29 mile XC race, I had to suffer my butt off up an 8 mile,3,000ft climb!  I was the 3rd junior racer to reach to Packer Saddle summit this year, just 2 minutes behind the leader Dylan Fryer.IMG_4017  Eager to close the gap I hammered the first section of trail. Once I hit the road I saw Dylan walking backwards up the course because of a race ending crash.  Knowing that the next racer was close I pushed myself even harder and caught up to the new leader Tate!  Tate and I battled back and forth for the remaining 15 miles of the race.  I attacked on the descents, and Tate pushed me on all of the climbs.  We battled with each other for what seemed like ages. Until the last 2 miles of the race, where Tate was  finally was able to gap me out!  “Noooo”, I thought as I saw him slowly pull away!  I gave everything I had trying to catch him but in the end he beat me by 18 seconds!  I ended up taking 2nd in the XC, and  led the All Mountain (AM) competition going into Sunday’s DH Race!  “YES!!!”

IMG_4070At 12:15 I lined up for my 12:24 start.  I was the last junior to start, and I watched as my fellow competitors started in 30 second intervals.  At 12:23 I move up to the start line as the racer in front of me didn’t show up for their start.  GO!  I took off at full speed and charged down the course!  As I sped down the course, I thought to myself I’m feeling pretty good!  It must have been true because within 5 minutes I had caught my first age group race opponent! I quickly caught another one of my competitors as I pedaled with even more drive!  Throughout the rest of the race I kept passing racers and crossed the finish line feeling confident that I took the win!Frame-08-08-2016-11-23-25  After anxiously waiting for 45 minutes the results were posted and I came in second 2 seconds off of first!  Dang it!!! IMG_4089That was a disappointment! But, even though I was second in the DH battle, I won the war, and was able to claim The Junior Expert U18 Downieville Classic All Mountain “World Championship” Title!

Event:  The bike racing was amazing, but The Downieville Classic Festival was an equally awesome time! IMG_4083After each day’s race at The Downieville Classic, I wandered the venue that contained bike and component company Booths. I also ran into pro racers like: Carl Decker, Adam Craig and Kelli Emmit.  When I became hot I took a trip down to the refreshing Yuba River.  While down at the river I relaxed on a tube, walked the slack line and watched the Shimano cast off contest (where competitors try to get a weight into a floating 2×2 square where whoever gets it in the most wins!)  IMG_4038I also watched the river jump where competitors ride off a ramp jump into the river. The best trick wins! Finally I played king of the floating box with a bunch of kids, which is just a cooler, more fun version of king of the hill!  It was a hard game because getting pushed in the freezing water all the time was not desirable!  After I finished hanging out at the River I headed up to the awards area to jump up on the podium with my awesome competitors !

IMG_4035The Downieville Classic Race and Festival was awesome! I had an great time hanging out in the cool town of Downieville, talking to and hanging out with some cool people.  I will always remember how I claimed my first Downieville Classic All Mountain “World Championship” Title!

My Epic Ride! – Nye’s Blog

imageI had a great time at the Epic Rides, Carson City Off Road. I had so much fun hanging out around the venue.   I loved the fact that the city opened up Mills Park for the racers to camp and hang out at. We had a lot of fun camping and talking with our friend Troy Deibert.

The Expo was great!!!    The Expo and start/finish were right on Carson St., in Downtown Carson City, NV.   It’s been Nevada’s  Capitol back to the 1800’s and there are so many cool old, historical buildings and relics.  The Expo was right next to the Capitol building and the Governors Mansion was only a couple blocks away.   There were bands playing each night, so it was always a happening event.    Many of our Sponsors also sponsored the event and set up booths. image We saw: Joe from Shimano, Jake from Yakima and Billy at Slime. Friday night the was the Pro Fat Tire Crit.  We needed to line up at 6:45 for a 7:30 race start so my parents went and watched but Jake and I hung out at camp to stay off our feet and stay rested for our huge race.

I had a blast in the Capitol 50 race. The Kings Canyon climb averaged 10% grade for the first 3 miles on dirt.  I was in the third group and in lead for the juniors for the entire climb and race.  My dad believes in great preparation so when I went through the Spooner Lake Comfort Station my dad passed me a water bottle.   It was obvious most other racers didn’t as I passed several people stopping to fill up.    Next up, a 1200 foot climb, up North Canyon Road. It was fast and consistent in the beginning and steep and inconsistent in the end. image  I rode with two other racers guys all the way to the saddle before Marlette Lake.    I welcomed the short descent down to Marlette Lake.   As we reached the base of the climb out of Marlette Lake Basin we caught a single-speeder.  We hear him sign  ”Oh Crap!” as the climb was filled with 18% grade sections.  The winds up on Marlette Peak were gusting to 50 mph and that’s exactly where the course looped around!!! image Plus there were 2 GIANT snow fields we had to run across. After we topped out near 9000 feet we started descending.   There was a technical section where I ran past the two guys to get a big gap.  I held it for the next 8 miles on Red Flume Trail and Tanks Road.  The next section was a super sketchy descent down the (SSHHHH!!!!) Secret Trail. Seldom used, the first 20 riders created a 3 inch wide rut in the soft dirt the whole way down.  I could see tons of places where racers lost it and flew off the trail.    Racing Enduro for the last year has honed my technical skills so I stayed on two wheels.   imageI reached the Ash To King Canyon Trail I knew it was going to be tough because a 4 mile, 1200 foot climb lay before me.  About halfway up my pace slowed a bit because the previous 40 miles were beginning to catch me.  Shortly after 2 men passed me, I tried to hang on their wheels but I didn’t have enough gas.  When I reached the top I rejoiced!  I went in Enduro mode down the 3.1 mile singletrack descent and 2 miles of fire road after that.  When I reached the 2 and 1/4 miles of pavement remaining I time trialed to the finish.

imageRace Time: 4:14:09 and Outcome: 1st in the Juniors 18 and Under and 22nd overall.  Jake impressed us all and won the overall Amateur class.   Thank you Mom and Dad for all of the support out on course, I know no one else that covered 3 out of 4 Comfort Stations.  Thanks to my sponsors for the support!!!!  After the race we had lunch with Troy at Reds 395 Grill near the venue.  It was decorated with tons of pieces of history.   We watched Finish of the Pros race Sunday and saw: Geoff Kabush, Todd Wells, Russell Finsterwall, Katerina Nash, Rose Grant and Amy Beisel take the top steps.   The Carson City Off Road was a awesome event, I’m so proud of my race and the results I achieved and I had so much fun.   I can’t wait to come back next year!image

Lauf, May The (Best) Fork Be With You -Jake’s Blog

IMG_0102Over my 10 years of bike racing I have raced, ridden, and pushed many different forks to the max of their performance, and although they worked well I never knew there would be a better option available for XC racing.  This year I finally have the closest fork to perfect, The Lauf Trail Racer Boost.

IMG_8369Lauf Forks have been the best performing XC forks on the market since they were introduced. In early 2016 Lauf introduced a second generation fork, The Lauf Trail Racer Boost. The Boost Fork is now 20% stiffer, laterally, and forward & aft.  This increases the suspension’s performance and gives you more feedback and control during your ride!  What follows is a review of the Lauf Trail Racer Boost.

IMG_0412The Lauf Trail Racer Boost is the best XC fork I have ever ridden and there are many things that make it the best!  The Lauf Trail Racer Boost is the lightest XC fork on the market, being made completely of carbon ( and 6 fiberglass leaf springs ) it comes in at only 2.20lbs!  The Lauf Trail Racer Boost also features 60mm / 2.35in of travel, it’s maintenance free, has 15mm thru axel, a tapered steer tube and comes with a 5 year warranty!

IMG_1001The Lauf Trail Racer Boost is not only light, but I feel it is the best performing XC fork.  CLIMBING: The Lauf Trail Racer Boost blows all other XC forks out of the water when it comes to climbing.  A racers ability to climb is most greatly effected by weight/gravity.  No one can argue that shedding  1.00-1.75lbs off your fork will significantly boost your performance!  Unlike the bobbing of an Air Sprung traditional fork, the fiberglass leaf springs of the Lauf Boost Fork do not flex during stand up climbing.  This allows me to put all of my energy into the pedals without loosing it through the compression of the fork.  And I don’t have to mess around or maintain a lockout!  DESCENDING:  Our Team has raced the Lauf Fork at events like: The Downieville Classic XC Race and The Mammoth Mountain Kamakazie Games XC Race. IMG_4635 Time after time the Lauf Fork has proven its ability to handle the rugged trails.  Given the great benefit we receive from climbing with the Lauf at those difficult courses I wouldn’t trade it for another fork!  The Luaf’s 60mm of travel is progressive, which means it is the most compliant in the beginning – perfect for absorbing small bumps and rocks- and becomes stiffer the further it compresses.  Exactly what you need for bigger hits and bigger drops!

In April I raced the Kenda Cup race #3 in Fontana CA, and it was the perfect place to put the Lauf Trail Racer Boost to the test!  The XC course had it all:rock drops, jumps, babyhead rock gardens and washboards.  The descent had several rock drops up to 1.5ft tall and the Lauf capably handled them all without bottoming out!  There were also a few sections of babyhead rock gardens.  I was able to speed  though these sections because the Lauf Boost, with it’s progressive travel, glided, extremely smoothly over these babyhead rocks!  The steep, heavily brake bumped section was where the Lauf really out performed its competition!  Traditional forks compression/rebound cycle doesn’t react fast enough to allow the wheel to trace over the wash boards, resulting in the wheel bouncing from top to top of each washboard. However, The Lauf Boost Leaf suspension is adept at tracing through the peaks and valleys of the brake bumps, resulting in a more smoother ride. Having The Lauf Boost Fork was like bonus, it handled all these obstacles capably, and boy was I loving the its lightweight, up the 1 mile, 700ft climb each lap!

IMG_1361This is my 2nd year of riding a Lauf, and 1st year of riding a Lauf Boost.  I haven’t had a single problem or complaint about either Fork.  So if your looking for a lighter, better and faster XC fork, acquire a Lauf Trail Racer Boost it will be the best fork you’ve ever ridden!

Sea Otter Classic Recap – Nye’s Blog

My favorite part of The Sea Otter Classic is the Expo.  There are so many cool things to see and lots of awesome people to meet.   On Friday at the Magura Booth we got a picture with Trials Riding Legend Danny McCaskill.  IMG_0669  It was super exciting getting to meet him, I could barely contain it!   Throughout the four days the Expo was open we reacquainted with our sponsors, checked out their new products and ran into buckets of friends.  IMG_0391 Joe at Shimano showed us their DI2 XTR electric shifters and derailleurs.   We saw Ergon’s new Gel filled Saddle and at FSA Mike showed us their new Gravity Dropper Post, and much, much more. IMG_0393 During the weekend a few booths had their Pro Trails Riders performing at different times during the day.   There were three big pump tracks in the Expo but with all of my Team responsibilities I didn’t have the time to ride them.  Chain Reaction Cycles had a contest where you pumped around a pump track as fast as you could.  The fastest time won a prize.    In my XC race, I placed 3rd and was able to stand on the huge Sea Otter stage in the middle of the Expo. IMG_0531 I finished 25th out of 67 in the U19 Enduro and was the best 14 yr old which made me super happy!   It was super fun creating our own Yackle Brothers Racing Expo by the Red Bull Racer Registration with our sponsors Banners, Flags and Ez-ups.IMG_0282  With 75,000 attendees passing by our Sponsors and Team got a lot of recognition.  The Expo is a big part of what makes the Sea Otter Classic a great event.  I had a great time in the Expo!  You should come out to the Sea Otter Classic and definitely check out the Expo.IMG_0402

Independence Day! -Nye’s Blog

HGEO6073A couple months ago I had my 13th birthday but what really made me proud was to be able to, by myself, build out my bike and make important adjustments and calibrations by myself.   Just a couple years ago when we built up our race bikes I could only do minor tasks like attaching the seatpost, water bottle cages and seat.  When the brake and caliper needed to be set up so the rotor wouldn’t rub the brake pads, my brother or father would have to come help me.  Now I can do tasks independently, like threading in my Shimano bottom bracket and adjusting the shifter cable so it shifts smoothly.   Being able to build my bike and do other things independently means so much to me.

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Doing tasks independently is great.  I feel so much more mature when I do things without needing help.   It makes me feel very proud accomplishing some very important jobs.  I built up my entire bike this year alone.  When I do things like that I hold my head high for the future.  I also feel very trusted when my father and brother let me do important jobs and work on their bikes independently.    Independently doing things is very important for me and I like being fully trusted to work on my family’s bikes and other things.

IMG_8844Achieving things independently is important.   When I do things unsupervised correctly my family and friends can count on me.  They can rely on me to do important jobs and other things in case of an emergency.  Another great reason to be able to do things independently is my family and I can accomplished a lot more.  Before, when I needed help with something, it meant two people were doing the same thing.  I’m happy because I can independently:  build and maintain my bike, cook, organize food menus and gear for races.IMG_7934

Being able to do things independently makes me proud and I feel more mature.  Without a doubt building a bike out from components and a frame was by far the most difficult task I’ve ever accomplished.  I want more responsibility in life so it’s important to be able to do that!  I’m learning that, if I set my mind to accomplish tasks independently the future will be great.

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