Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CC#3/FSC Make-Up Race--Hialeah, Florida (12/4/11)

Last weekend, the Florida State Championship series took me back to one of my very favorite courses--Amelia Earhart Park in Hialeah. (I know I say that a lot, but this one really is at the top of the list.) I love how fast it runs, and how well it flows. The local volunteers have really done a great job making Amelia a very fun course.

On Saturday, my dad and I went out for an easy first lap pre-ride. Well, we didn't get very far, because my dad slipped and fell and ripped his knee back open (gross!). I was pretty freaked out about it. While my mom and dad went to the ER to get him sewn back up, I pre-rode with Mr. Kovi and Bryce, and then went back with them to the Cattani's house to play and have dinner. It would've been a really great day if my dad hadn't messed his knee up again.

Sunday was much better. Well....actually, it almost wasn't. I couldn't find my glasses at the hotel when it was time to leave, and my mom finally found them under the pull-out couch. We got to the park 5 minutes before the start of the kids' race, and because my parents left early on Saturday, I never got registered. So...my mom had to rush and get Austin to register me so I could race. It was stressful!

Anyway, once I got lined up for the race, everything was ok. Dave blew the whistle and we were all surprised when Alex jumped out in front and took the lead. He made the rest of us work to keep up with him.

Josh on lap 1
Alex led for the first 2 laps, but as we came out of the woods and into the open, we both sprinted. Fortunately, I was able to overtake him and stay in front to the finish. It was a lot of fun!
Alex and me sprinting on the third lap and Mr. Fernando coaching
Jordan on the bridge
Shelby coming off the bridge

The Juniors' race was equally as exciting for me, because I had my best finish so far this season. Also, Dustin got a new cast on his wrist, which let him race, and that was really cool.
I had one of my best starts this week. I went into the woods in 5th place, right behind Dustin. Francisco was in second behind Jacob, but his chain came off shortly after we got into the woods which gave me the opportunity to move up to fourth when he had to stop to fix it.
Dustin rides with his new cast
Dustin rode really strong for a while, too, but then he pulled over and let everyone pass. For a little while, I got to be in third, until Tyler passed. I stayed right on his wheel, until he wrecked and two other adults wrecked in front of me, which cost me time as I tried to get around them. I was never able to catch up again and ended up finishing in fourth. It was still my best finish.

Adam and Jacob come in after lap 1
Francisco takes the berm before the climb

I actually came in 4th but there was some confusion between John and me when we took the podium.

My mom took a ton of really cool pictures for this race, but they wouldn't format right on the blog, so I had to leave them off. If you want to see some more, you can find them all on the mtbmike.com facebook page.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

FSC #7--Lakeland, Florida (11/13/11)

 (Ok, I know I'm late getting this post out, but my mom has been really sick the past couple of weeks and hasn't even been able to go to the races, let alone help me get my blog up.)

Anyway, FSC #7 took place at Loyce E Harpe (Carter Road) Park in Lakeland. I was really excited to be going back down there to race. My mom, dad, and I did a charity race in February there and I remember the trail as being fun and the Fingers section as being technical and challenging. I rode it pretty well last time, but I was hoping that I would do really well this time since I've gotten so much more experience riding the harder trails.

The 9-11 year old race turned out to be one of the most exciting of the season so far. Austin led us out on the motorcycle for the first lap.

Ethan took the lead on the first lap and led for the first two. Nicho was behind him and I was behind Nicho. On the last lap, Nicho made a really good pass in the single track and got out in front. Ethan rode well and was hard to get around. When I finally did, I had to sprint hard to catch Nicho before the finish. I did catch him at the end, but Nicho rode a great race and very nearly got away from me. Great job Nicho and Ethan!!

The Juniors race would also end up being one of the more exciting races, but not for the same reason.
The race started pretty much the same way the races have started all season. Dustin, Jacob and Adam took the lead and the rest of us fell in behind. What was really cool though was that I actually was able to hang on to the lead group for much of the time. A few times they got away from me, but I was able to catch back up, so I was pretty happy about that, since that has been one of my goals.

The exciting part of the race happened when Dustin went over his handlebars on the Second Finger during the second lap and broke his wrist. OUCH!! I felt really bad for him when I came down the hill and saw him on the side of the trail. Then I passed his dad who was running to get to him and I figured something happened that was more serious than just getting the wind knocked out of him. Hopefully he will heal fast so he can make it back for the last couple of races.
The good news for me is that I got my first podium during this race. I rode really hard and was proud of myself for it. However, it also stinks that Dustin had to get hurt in order for me to make it onto the podium. See what happened in the video.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FSC #6/CC #1 (Cross Country Race)--Sunrise, Florida (11/6/11)

After the excitement of the short track race the day before, I was ready for some cross country racing on Sunday. A brief downpour just before the start time had me concerned that the kids' races might either get postponed, or have to be run in the rain. Luckily, we all only had to huddle under the canopies for a few minutes before the cloud passed, the rain went away, and Dave announced that it was time for the kids to line up for the start.
Lately, the Kids 9-11 race has been getting pretty interesting. There have been some new boys racing this season that are keeping everyone on their toes. Last race, it was Josh that led a great sprint to the finish. This week, it was Ethan who took off from the starting line like he was riding a motorcycle instead of a bike. He took us all by surprise when he created a big gap, which caused Nicho, Alex, Bryce and I to wake up and chase him down.
The course was a lot different from last year. This time, we started on a dirt road inside the gate to the trails, did a short parade lap around the lake, came through the finish line, and then went into the single-track. In fact, it was the same course as the short track lap.

Nicho, me, and Bryce
Everyone says that the race course at Markham Park is one of the hardest of the FSC and CC series. I think it is probably one of my favorites. The bridges and other obstacles make it really fun to ride, and when I lined up for the start of the Juniors' race, I had my sights set on making it to the podium.
The start of the 11-14 race
In the beginning, it seemed that we were just out for a group ride. The pace was quick, but not all-out fast and we swapped positions in a way that is similar to riding the pace-line. Once we passed through the finish line at the end of the parade lap, though, the race really seemed to start.
Adam went into the woods first and never looked back. He stayed out in front the whole race. Only the boys behind him swapped spots.
When the race was over, Adam had gotten his first win in the FSC and Coconut Cup on his home turf. He was super excited and I was happy for him because he's a very nice guy. Unfortunately, my ending wasn't quite as happy. I came soooo close to a podium, but I lost my focus after passing one of the women on the first lap and fell on a rock. There went 5th place, as three guys passed me and I spent the rest of the race trying to get those spots back. I was able to catch and pass two of them, but I just ran out of time to catch Francisco and he took 5th place, while I got sixth. I was super bummed, but I know that I have to ride a perfect race against these guys if I want to get that medal.

See for yourself in this week's race video.

Doing a little post-race bonding
See you next week in Lakeland, Florida for FSC #7!

**Mountain Bike Mike would like to thank Mrs. Kovi & Ms. Jackie for a couple of the photos I "borrowed" for this post.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Florida State Championship #6/Coconut Cup #1 (Short Track Race)--Sunrise, Florida (11/5/11)

This weekend, I drove down to South Florida with my family for the combined FSC #6/CC #1 race. Friday night, we got to stay with my Nana and Pop Pop in Royal Palm Beach, and on Saturday morning, my Uncle Louie met us at Markham Park for a pre-ride.

We got there around 1:00, after a longer than planned stop at ProTech Bicycle Shop for some maintenance on my bike. (It turns out that a new set of wheels might be in my future.)

My dad is back on his bike this week, so he was able to take me around the course a couple of times. When we got back from riding the first time, we were told that there was a short track event at 4:00. Apparently, we weren't paying very close attention to the schedule because we had no idea.

The short track race was a timed, very fast race. Everyone in the white wave lined up together and started together. We rode the mile or so long trail for 10 minutes and when the leader came through the finish at or around that mark, we got the final lap call. Then, everyone got awarded points (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) based on the position they finished within their particular class. I think top 3 overall were also awarded medals and prizes.

Anyway, I've been training VERY HARD the past couple of weeks, and I really wanted to go out there and do well. So, I got to the starting line early and lined up right in the front row. Some of the other juniors were telling me I shouldn't be there, but I kind of ignored them and figured that it would be better to be the one other people have to catch up to, rather than the one in the back choking on the dust of people in the front.

Adam in the lead
My plan seemed to be working great in the beginning. I took off like a rocket, and although I got passed by some of the faster adults and older juniors, I stayed ahead of the boys in my class...for a little while, anyway. Adam passed at the end of the first lap and Jacob did too. I think I just burned myself up on the first lap, because I couldn't maintain the pace, but boy, did it feel good to be the one getting chased for a change!

On the second lap, John got around me and I dropped to fourth place in my class. To be honest, I wasn't too happy about that, but I kept pushing.
John and me
Adam and Jacob finish first and second
Even though I was disappointed with a fourth place finish behind Adam, Jacob, and John, I have to be happy with the fact that I was only 1 minute behind Adam, and out of 40 total riders, I came in 20th. Not too shabby for an 11-year-old. Plus, if I end up doing the whole Coconut Cup series, I earned 2 bonus points, which could come in handy in the overall standings.

John finishes third
This is me really wanting a top 3
I'll report on the Kids and Junior cross-country races in the next post.