Monday, January 31, 2011

Cocunut Cup #5--Markham Park (1/30/11)

The fifth race in the Coconut Cup series took place at Markham Park in Sunrise, Florida.
On Saturday, my family and I came over to pre-ride the course. Uncle Louie followed us to the park and rode a little bit with us. This was only his second time on the mountain bike trails after a long time of not riding. He did okay on the kids' course, but when my dad suggested he try the more difficult trails, Uncle Louie didn't do so great. In fact, he went over his handle bars on one tough downhill drop and got scratched up. My mom got mad at my dad and then they bailed out of the trail. She and Uncle Louie decided to ride the "cruiser loop" around the lake instead, while my dad and I continued with some other friends who caught up to us. After a while, the trail got to be very difficult for me and I went back to the parking lot to play with my friends.

Getting ready for a Nerf war

Sunday's race was a lot of fun. We did 3 laps for a total of 3 miles. Trent and I exchanged the lead several times (including one big wipe out going into the woods).

On the third lap I thought I had the race won because I got way ahead, but then I came up on lap traffic in the woods, which allowed Trent to catch up.

In the end, he passed me just before we got to the gate and beat me AGAIN. I was VERY frustrated to lose the lead one more time, but I got over it and congratulated Trent on the win. Watch the video of the race below.

After the race, Trent, Bryce and I led the 3-5 year-olds around for their lap and then went to play. Bryce and Trent taught me to do a wheelie. It was a great day!
My dad and me. He got 4th place in his class.
 **Mountain Bike Mike would like to thank Mrs. Kovi for the action photos I "borrowed" for this blog.**

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coconut Cup #4--Amelia Earhart Park (1/23/11)

After a 5 week "vacation" from racing, the Coconut Cup-South Florida Series returned to Hialeah for the 4th race of the season. I heard that a lot of work had been done to the trails since the last race there in the beginning of December and I was looking forward to riding the course.

Unfortunately, Miami had gotten a lot of rain during the week and the trail was very wet. Some of the mud, roots and rocks were slippery and there were big puddles and muddy sections. Even with those small annoyances, I could tell that it was a better trail than it was when I last rode it. Plus, the sun was supposed to come out Sunday to help dry it out a bit.

Mom, Dad and I pre-rode the trail on Saturday to prepare for the race on Sunday. I was planning to do the Novice class race, so we practiced a few sections that were very tricky. My mom wrecked pretty bad in one place, so I knew I had to be extra careful there.

Afterwards, we went to our hotel, got cleaned up, and met some racing friends for dinner at a really good Italian restaurant close to the hotel. They have excellent pepperoni pizza, and my brother, Ryan, and I gobbled it up.

Ryan, Trent, Me, Nicho

Sunday morning was cold and misty, but began to look better around race time. Unfortunately for me, several of the boys I race against weren't there for this one. It was still a good race, with Trent and me riding fast and hard, but not quite as fun without Nicho, Vince and Bryce to compete against. Hopefully, they'll all be there next week at Markham Park.

Trent and me before the race
Below is this week's video of the action. The course was longer than usual, about 5 miles, and very fast.

This week I also learned a couple of valuable lessons about racing. Don't stand up on your bike if you want to go faster. I spent a lot of time off my seat on Sunday against Trent and he beat me. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, my dad was right. A bigger gear does not necessarily mean more speed. Fortunately, I am a quick learner and I won't make those mistakes again.

Trent and me after the race. We missed the regular group picture because we were out racing in the white wave.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Mountain Bike Mike: OMBA Trailblazer

On Saturday, January 8, more than 20 members of the Ocala Mountain Bike Association got together for a trail construction project. My dad is a member, so my brother and I went with him to help. The plan was to build a new one-mile section of blue trail and a bridge for the start of a new section of red trail.

It was a lot of work!! My brother and I spent from 8:00 until about noon cutting down small trees and bushes, clearing brush, and raking the new trail. The adults carried 2 telephone poles to a gully where they were laid across to form the beginning of a bridge. They said they would come back another time and nail down boards across the poles so that the bikes could get across. It was very cool and I got to be the first person to cross the unfinished bridge. Before we left, we got to eat pizza that OMBA provided to the volunteers. It was a nice way to spend the morning.

Later in the afternoon, my parents and I got to ride the completed trail. Riding it was a lot more difficult than riding the older trails because the dirt was still pretty soft and in some places the trail was a bit harder to see. I think when it has been ridden a lot and the dirt gets packed down more, though, it will be awesome! It was a great feeling to be able to ride on a trail that I helped build and I think everyone who rides should join their local mountain bike club and help with building and maintaining their trails.

As usual, my dad took video of our experience. This one shows us working on the trail and later riding it.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Trek Demo Day at Santos Trailhead

Today Ocala Bicycle Center hosted a Trek Demo Day out at Santos Trailhead in Belleview. My mom, dad and I met my dad's friend Dave over there to test out some bikes. We got there pretty early and already people had taken out several bikes to ride. My dad just got a new EX 9.9 in November, which was one of the models they had available to demo, so he chose to ride a different bike, and Dave took out an EX 8. It was Dave's first time on the trails, so he was having a hard time keeping up and we had to ride slower for him. He really liked the bike though.

For some reason, they only had one woman's bike available and my mom had to wait a while for a turn. Dave, Dad and I went ahead and rode a short lap while Mom talked with some of the other people who also were waiting. She met a brother and sister from the UK (England?) who were on vacation and were very impressed with our trails. They think we are lucky to have such great mountain biking so close to home, and I think they are right.

When we got back, Mom went ahead and took out a small men's EX 9.9 just like my dad's and thought she was in heaven. She has an old Cannondale with very little suspension and tough brakes that she says makes her elbows and wrists hurt when she rides. Apparently the newer bike was a huge improvement.

Mom also got to ride a bike called a 29er, meaning it has 29-inch wheels. She said it was like riding a Big Wheel, but really liked how it helped her climb over stuff. My dad thinks it might have been a mistake to take her with us today, since now she knows just what she wants and he will have to win the lottery in order to get it for her. I think he was just kidding.

Unfortunately, because I'm a kid and I just got a new bike, I didn't really get to test out any of the ones there, although I did sneak a quick ride on the EX 9.9 my mom rode and really liked it. (By the way, if Trek ever wants to sponsor a younger racer and maybe donate an EX 9.9 in the process, I'm your guy.) It was really busy and I think the bike shop should be happy with how many people showed up for demo rides. Hopefully they will sell a lot of bikes.