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!

Sea Otter Classic, Where Friends Are Made – Jake’s Blog

IMG_0422The Sea Otter Classic is one of my favorite events in the country!  We have attended the Sea Otter Classic for 5 years in a row.  Each year we attend Sea Otter we get to meet racing legends and cool people!  Starting at our first year at Sea Otter we’ve continuously met some of the most well-known athletes in the world.  We’ve met Pro Racers like Todd Wells, Geoff Kabush, Kathryn Pendrel and Emily Batty.  IMG_1510Last year we even met the World Champ Nino Schuter after he had just won the Sea Otter Classic Pro XC Race!  SO COOL!  That year we also met Shimano Sponsored Pro Motocross Racer Justin Barsha while he was hanging out at the Shimano Booth!IMG_1474         This year while we were waiting in line to finish our last Enduro we were amazed to see Danny Macaskill doing a backwards nose-wheelie down the famous Corckscrew!  Later, we were even able to get his autograph and a pic with him!  Sea Otter is awesome!IMG_0669  I also love attending Sea Otter because we get to say “Hi” and hang out with our racing friends, and friends from the bike industry!   This year we even shared a campsite with a racing friend, Troy Dibert.  Camping with Troy was really fun and enjoyable, as we told jokes, shared stories and just had a good time.  The Sea Otter Classic has become more than just a races event, to me it is a place to say “Hello” to all of your old friends and to make new friends, which in my mind in just as priceless as winning the Sea Otter Classic.

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!