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!

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

The Game Changers!-Jake’s Blog

IMG_6714Throughout my entire life I have met many different, unique, and helpful people.  Nearly all of the people who I’ve met have been very friendly and cool, but there are few that have truly, enthusiastically supported me and Yackle Brothers Racing.  One person I’ve known for a good chunk of my racing career is Wen Heish, the CEO of KHS Bicycles.  Wen is a great man and a perfect example of the enthusiastic supporter that I am referring to.

I was extremely stoked when our team director informed me that KHS and Wen were going to be our official bike sponsor for 2016!IMG_8078  Similar to our other fine supporters, Wen provided us with the normal bike products we needed to race. However, Wen has gone beyond the typical and has enthusiastically helped us become the best race team possible.  For example the initial Enduro bike frame we received didn’t allow for our cutting edge, mechanical, 9point8 internally routed dropper post.  So, we explained the problem to Wen and he immediately saw that it was in our partnerships best interest to provide us with KHS Bicycle’s newest Enduro model that allowed for an internally routed dropper post!IMG_9293  Its more than that.  Wen’s care has even gone beyond our typical yearly bike sponsorship.  We talked to Wen about how we’d like to purchase and represent KHS with a couple Dirt Jumper Bikes. Ya’see we use DJ bikes at the bike parks for Enduro training, and occasionally for Dual Slalom Racing.  We needed 2 large SJ200 bikes, but KHS had none in stock and no new production planned.  Wen was super accommodating.  He is solving this by having his factory specially build 2 large DJ bike frames.  Wen has even reached out to us to tap into our racing and bike knowledge to help KHS with its design of a new bike.  Now that’s enthusiastic support!

We all know that people who truly, enthusiastically support others are extremely rare!  What makes them enthusiastic supporters?  Enthusiastic supporters are friendly, caring, you can’t help but like them and there is a mutual respect for one another.  I know the characteristics of an enthusiastic race team supporter and I know that enthusiastic supporters take a lot of interest in what we do.  IMG_8847They congratulate us.  They ask us how we like their products or if there is anything they can do to make it better.  They also make sure we have everything we need to perform at our best during our races.  Enthusiastic supporters also love to help us however they can.  Especially, they communicate in an appropriate timeframe.  Enthusiastic supporters are not only accommodating with business matters, but they take interest in us as their Friends, they love to talk and interact socially.

 

IMG_8838Meeting and becoming friends with people who are enthusiastic supporters is a true pleasure.  They are friendly, caring and truly good people!  So if you ever meet an enthusiastic supporter, treasure and respect your relationship because you never know if you’ll meet another enthusiastic supporter again!

Preparation, Never More Important for Enduro Success-Jake’s Blog

IMG_3444Enduro Racing is a blast!  From: traveling to new places and adventures, getting to ride and race, awesome, fun and unique trails, to meeting cool people. Throughout my 8 years of racing I have gained a lot of experience, from maintaining my bike, knowing my limits and knowing when to eat and hydrate. There is one thing experience can’t account for, and that is NOT BEING PREPARED!  So, when race day comes around, you’re at the start line, and the buzzer sounds, there is only one thing that is going to guide you to success and that is PREPARATION!!!  There are multiple things you need to do to be prepared.

Being prepared is the key to success, and to be prepared you need to:

A)    Keeping Your Body Is At Peak Performance, by having proper nutrition and by staying hydrated, drinking lots of water and electrolytes and making sure you aren’t tired and fatigued, but well rested.                                                                                                                       B)    Pre-check Your Bike, make sure you check, your shifting, tire pressure/tread wear, shock pressure and anything else you think might be damaged or worn.                                                              C)    Prepare All Of Your Gear, make sure you have enough energy and water, check to see if you have the tools and gear you need to fix your bike if you have a mechanical problem, and if you have an early race it is especially helpful to lay out your clothes, helmet, shoes, glasses, gloves and anything else you’ll need.                                                                                             Version 2D)    Pre-ride, in my opinion pre-riding is essential to prepare yourself for the race!  When pre-riding I take mental notes of the trail, like what gear to be in on a certain obstacle.  Pre-riding is also helpful because you’ll  know what is coming up on the trail. It also tells me how long I’ll be racing and how much food and water I’ll need to take.  Knowing these things helps me go much faster on race day!

 

Though pre-riding is a huge benefit!  Completing it, is not always an easy task!  There are many differences between pre-riding a cross-country course and an Enduro course.  On one hand pre-riding a XC course is relatively simple, you park near the start line, get your bike ready, and go for a ride that is only about an hour or two long.   Pre-riding an Enduro course is much more difficult!  Enduro Events are held many hours of travel from our Home, so going there prior to the event never is an option for Us.  Having working Parents means scheduling extra time before the race is difficult, too.  Plus, with the stages spread out over 50 or 60 miles and multiple days, accessing an Enduro course can be quite difficult, let alone having the extra days to get pre-riding done.  So we are faced with the daunting task of trying to pre-ride the day before we race-it’s a difficult situation!  IMG_3409If you wanted to pre ride the day before the race, you would use up a lot of energy, but you would gain valuable knowledge of the course.  It rarely comes down to that choice, because the lack of time, it still is logistically not feasible to preride an entire course!  Those racers who can preride have a monumental advantage!  Contrast our last 2 Enduro races.

Bend Enduro                                                                                                                               IMG_3385We arrived at Bend Friday afternoon and set up our camp at the race venue. Saturday we  decided to get up early to pre-ride all 5 Enduro stages.  We spent most of the day pre-riding the stages, scouting the fast lines and riding the fast lines until we comfortably knew the course.  We took mental notes of what gears to be in before obstacles, and figured out how much water and energy we need to take. On race day we felt that other racers didn’t have an enormous advantage!  In just my 3rd Enduro, knowing the trail and it’s obstacles helped me place 4th in the U18 category, only 9 seconds behind third!  That wasn’t our only benefit from pre-riding.  We were the last group to start, there were so many racers before us, and the Enduro suffered race delays, so there wasn’t any water left at the feed stations.  It effected many racers who relied on it, but not us, because we pre-rode we knew how much water and energy to bring!

Wildwood Enduro                                                                                                                         IMG_3876When scheduling our Season, we decided to spend our week between the Bend Enduro and the Wildwood Enduro races by taking a vacation down the Oregon and California coastline.  So as we typically do, we arrived at Fort Bragg, near the Wildwood race venue (our 1st 2 day Enduro) the day before the race.  We realized that the posted Course Map wasn’t sufficient to direct us to and around the Jackson State Demonstration Forest, so we had to wait until 3:00 PM for Racer check in to see about better maps. We were pretty frustrated since many riders took advantage of the Race Promotor’s guided Tours of the course 2 weeks prior to the Event and had been practicing it ever since.  The guided tour was something we couldn’t take advantage of anyway, because Wildwood was a 16 Hr round trip for Us!  After we checked in we knew we needed to set up our camp because the camp areas were tight.  By the time we finished setting up it was around 4:00PM.  However, now we finally had details to get to the Race Course area!  We went over to Saturday’s start area of the Enduro (Wildwood was a 2 day event) and were deciding whether or not at this late stage, a preride ride of just the 1st of 8 stages was even worth it, at this point!   We knew, if we did more we would have been miles from where we parked and would have finished just 2 Stages late on Friday night.  IMG_3732Brianne Spiersch, fellow Marin Bikes Racer convinced us it had to be somewhat helpful to preride at least one stage.  So we did and came back to Camp and prepared our: bikes, bodies and gear for Saturday’s race.  My race started at 9:00am and I was glad that I had already prepped myself for the race.  All but one of the stages on Saturday were narrow, difficult, tree lined trails with lots of blind corners and super sharp, blind switchbacks.   After each stage I kept thinking to myself, “it would have been so nice and beneficial to pre-riden that trail”!  The final stage was the one we pre-rode and I felt like that was the one I did best on because I knew what was coming up on the trail!  Sunday went just the same way as Saturday, the trails were very tight and technical with lots of ruts, sharp corners and undulating terrain which put me at a disadvantage not knowing what to expect.  In the end I came away with a 7th place in the U18 category.  I’m certain, difference between my results at Bend and Wildwood proved how vital it is to pre-ride!  Whether or not my family can get me there beforehand, with sufficient time to do that is another question!

IMG_3457I truly belive that no matter how skilled you are, if you don’t Pre-ride and Prepare yourself you won’t be highly successful. The Bend and Wildwood Enduro races are perfect examples of how pre-riding and NOT pre-riding can effect your race!  So next time you consider whether or not to pre-ride and prepare yourself, just remember that it could cost you a lot more, like a serious crash, than just the top spot on the podium!