Monday, February 28, 2011

LiveStrong YMCA Mountain Bike Challenge--Lakeland, FL (2/27/11)

This past weekend, my mom, dad, and I took a break from series racing to participate in a charity race put on by Red Trail Racing at Loyce Harpe Park (used to be Carter Road Park) in Lakeland, Florida. The name of the race was the LiveStrong YMCA Mountain Bike Challenge and it was held to raise money for the Lakeland YMCA.

All three of us participated in the race. It was my mom's first time and she was pretty nervous. The trail was kind of hard in some places, with some really steep drops and a lot of climbing. I didn't have too much trouble with it, but Mom thought it was the hardest course she'd ever ridden. To get some idea of what the course was like, check out a few pictures taken of the trail, and my dad's video of the race at

Even though it was tough riding, the park was really pretty. Mom even saw a little alligator in one of the lakes while she was riding.

When the race was over and the results were in, we found out that all of us had done very well.

Dad raced in the "Serious" men's class and placed third.

Mom raced in the "Fun" women's class and placed third.

I raced in the Junior's 10-17 year-old class and I also placed third behind some boys that were much older and taller than me. Boy was I excited! I tried to do a wheelie at the finish line, but I was so exhausted that my wheel only got about an inch off the ground.

It was a great day for the family and we were all smiles. Mom also won the grand prize in the raffle; a 6-month free membership to the Lakeland YMCA. Because we don't live there and she couldn't use it, she gave it back and took a t-shirt instead. I also won a t-shirt in the raffle. My dad was the only one in the family who didn't win anything, but a lady who was helping run the event gave him a LiveStrong bandana anyway. Mom and I got to pose on the podium with all of the other t-shirt winners for a group photo that we were told "might" be part of a national campaign for the LiveStrong Foundation. How cool is that?

Monday, February 21, 2011

12 Hours of Santos--Ocala, Florida (2/19/11)

This past weekend, Gone Riding hosted a great event at my home trails--The 12 Hours of Santos. My dad and I went down and set up camp on Friday, along with some of our friends, and spent the night before the race at the Vortex. It was a lot of fun!

Our campsite. Our tent is actually the blue one in the back. Bryce and his dad slept in the orange one.

By the time my mom made it over in the morning, there were hundreds of tents, campers, and RVs set up, and all kinds of people with bikes riding around all over the place. Everybody seemed really excited about the up-coming race.

Before the start of the adult race, there was a kids race called the 12 Minutes of Santos. I signed up to ride as a team with my friend Kyley. It was her first time racing and we wanted her to have a good experience. In years past, there were several relay teams doing the race, but this year, we were the only team. Everyone else rode it solo, including my friend, Bryce. We did really well, being the only two racers who could rest between laps, and came in first. Bryce did an awesome job riding the course without a partner and came in 2nd.

Of course, it wouldn't be a race without video to share, so here's this week's video below.

After the kids race was over, the actual 12 hour race started. There were tons of people lined up at the start, including my dad. They had to run up a long hill and through the park gate to where they had placed their bikes. Then, they had to get on their bikes and ride through all the people in order to really start the race. It was mass chaos!

While all the racing action was going on, those of us not racing enjoyed hanging out and playing together. The moms made lots of food and when it got dark, we had a campfire where we roasted hot dogs and made s'mores.

My dad's team came in first in the co-ed division. He was so excited.

Our friends' team came in 3rd in their class and the youngest team in the whole race, 'Underage Rage!' made up of my friends Trent and Nicho, and their friends, Austin and Cameron, actually beat 5 other grown-up teams to place 8th. They were amazing (and very tired too, I bet)!!!

3 Fugitives: Mr. Donovan, Mr. Kovi, Mr. Fernando

Underage Rage: Trent, Cameron, Nicho & Austin
It was a really fun event!  My dad made a couple of videos of the 12 hour race that can be seen on

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Coconut Cup #6/South Florida Series Championship Finale--Oleta River State Park (02/13/11)

The last race of the Coconut Cup took place at Oleta River State Park in North Miami Beach, Florida. We got to Oleta on Saturday to pre-ride the course. It was our first time riding there and we had heard that it was a rooty, rocky trail, and sure enough, it was.

The day was kind of gray, windy, and chilly, so we didn't spend a lot of time at the park on Saturday. When we went back to the parking lot, Trent's sister, Lily, climbed up a tree and got the surprise of her life when she came face to face with this cute little guy. He was probably more scared than her at first, but he seemed to get used to us and all the moms taking his picture.

The  race itself was not one of my best. I fell off a
bridge near the beginning and that got me in a bad mood for the rest of the race (which didn't make things better). I also slipped on some loose rocks later and was mad at myself for messing up. Some good things did happen though. Nicho was back to race, after hurting his ankle several weeks ago and missing the last 2 races while it healed. Also, Bryce got a good start and finished in third place behind Nicho. Unfortunately, I came in fourth.

After the white and yellow wave classes were done, there was a picnic and overall awards for the season. Trent had a perfect season with 6 first place finishes, I came in second, and Bryce got third. The prizes were really cool! We got a plaque as a trophy and a jersey. Mine is a bright yellow and Bryce got red. We wanted to trade, because he liked mine better and my favorite color is red, but his mom didn't want us to, so we ended up keeping the ones we got. I also got a pair of long gloves (which will come in handy when I race in the SERC series starting next month), some new handlebar grips, and a new tire. I feel like a professional racer with all this stuff! It was another great season and I hope to see everybody again at more races in the future.