Monday, June 20, 2011

My First Real Pay Day!! GSC #5--Columbus, GA (6/19/11)

Father's Day weekend took my dad and I to Columbus, Georgia for the fifth GSC race. Our friend Dave joined us for our guys only weekend. Before we got to the trails to ride, we stopped for gas at a place called Mike's Market Too. Since the store was obviously named after me, I thought they might give me some candy for free. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I had to pay my $2.75 just like everyone else. LOL!

After the pre-ride, we went to a pizza place called the Mellow Mushroom for some carb-loading. The three of us were so hungry we totally downed this whole pizza. Ok, I know the pizza looks gigantic, but it was just the way my dad took the picture. We're not THAT piggish!

The next morning we showed up to the park bright and early as usual to get set up and warmed up before the kids' races. One thing we noticed as it got closer to time for the races was that there were hardly any kids there. In fact, there were only 5 kids total and no girls at all. So for the second week in a row, there was only 2 of us in the 9-11 year old class. I think a lot of kids (and dads) probably skipped this race because it was Father's Day. Even with so small a number of kids, my dad still put together a video. He says the videos of the little kids are his favorite to make.

Also, for the second week in a row, the white wave went off at 11:30. Holy cow, was it hot!! It felt like it was 1000 degrees out there. The course was mostly wide open with very little shade and wound through a disc golf course. This was great for the spectators, who could follow the racers at many points on the course, but not so good for riders racing in the middle of the day.

Even though it was very hot, it was still a good race. The Juniors class had 9 people at the line. When Dave gave the 5-second countdown, my 5 seconds was faster than his and I jumped early at the start, which made me stop quick and start again. This cost me time at the very beginning and I was at the back of the pack for a while. Over the course of the race, other riders crashed, or walked up hills, and I was able to pass them. By about the middle of the race, I figured I was in 5th or 6th place and I knew Dustin was in first.

I guess I lost track of where I was compared to the other riders, because at the end, people were telling me that I was in third and I thought they were mistaken. Sure enough, when the results came out, I took 3rd place, behind Dustin and his cousin. Boy, was I excited! It wasn't until we got home and watched the video from the helmet cam that I finally saw how I actually got there.

Getting on the podium is always a great feeling. This time was even better because of the awards that were given out by the bike shop that sponsored the race. Usually, the top finishers get a goodie bag with prizes like shirts, water bottles, tires, gloves, and other cool bike stuff. This time, we got cash. Actually, we got a big check, and mine was for $35. It was totally awesome and made me feel like a pro mountain biker. Watch out Drew and Ryan! In another 5-10 years.......

Dad got a check for coming in first in his class too.

Next weekend is a combination SERC#8/GSC make-up race in Clemson, South Carolina, and the beginning of our 2 week family vacation/road trip. We'll be going from Florida to South Carolina, out to Colorado for the Firecracker 50 that my dad is racing in, some sight-seeing, visiting with friends, and casual riding. Then it's back east to Huntsville, Alabama for SERC #9, and finally home. It should be a blast!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mountain Bike Mike Gets Almost Famous

Tonight, I got a great surprise. My dad and I, and a lot of our friends from the Ocala Bicycle Center, were pictured in the Ocala Magazine this month for the Frank Pollack Memorial Ride that we did in May. I'm in the group picture for OBC and my dad's in that one and the picture in the middle (where they even put his name!). I guess I must be almost famous, now that my picture has been in a magazine. LOL!!

{Edit:  I just noticed that my mom was also in the OBC picture. She's the one in the back in the blue jersey with her hands on her hips. Guess we all made it into the magazine after all.  :-) }

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

SERC/US Cup #7--Chattanooga, Tennessee (6/12/11)

Raccoon Mountain trails in Chattanooga, Tennessee were quite challenging to race on this week. First of all, it was the first race we've done so far this year where the temperature was just plain HOT. Then, the course was very rocky and technical, and made us do a lot of climbing. The downhills were extremely FAST, and on one section of single-track, I looked down at my speedometer during the pre-ride and it was reading 30 miles per hour!!

My poor mom had a terrible time on the pre-ride. She got really sick and overheated, and her asthma made it very hard for her to breathe (she forgot her inhaler). On the technical parts, she actually did pretty well, but a little root on one of the flat sections caught her tire and her bike slid out from under her. Mom hit the ground pretty hard. She said Raccoon Mountain kicked her butt, and my dad said he got the photographic evidence of the footprint. (My mom didn't think that was very funny, but we did.) She ended up with some scrapes and bruises, but got back on her bike and finished the course.

Raccoon Mountain's footprint--LOL

The start of the 9-11 year old's race

On Sunday, we got to the trailhead early for a quick warm-up before the kids' races. Unfortunately for me, there were only two of us in the 9-11 class, so the race wasn't as exciting as when there are several kids. However, the kids' trail was actually pretty difficult and a lot of kids had trouble riding it without crashing.

The Junior's race had a lot more racers, with 8 of us starting on the line. The start was kind of cool. We started on the asphalt and did a loop around a big field, came through the finish line, went down a paved path, and then made a hard left turn into the single-track. I was in fourth place behind my friend Trent when we hit the woods. Once we got past the first 3 miles of major rocks, I passed Trent and took third place. Later on, the boy in second missed a turn and I passed him, too, to take second, but that didn't last long, because then I missed a turn and he passed me back. I never caught up to him again. Near the end of the race, Trent caught up to me and we had a finish-line sprint for third.

Coming out of the woods for the finish. My dad is in the background yelling.

I did my best to block him from passing me, but when I thought he was going to try to pass on the inside, he surprised me by going to the outside, and passed me just before the finish line to take third away. I was disappointed, but it was definitely a very exciting finish.

I was totally exhausted after 11.5 miles of hard racing.
After the disaster at Dauset, I couldn't be too upset with a 4th place finish. A little later on, Trent and I did some goofing around for the camera.

Before we knew it, it was awards time and both of us were excited to be getting up on the podium again.

I can hardly wait for the next race!!

**Mountain Bike Mike would like to thank Mrs. Donovan for some of the photos "borrowed" for this week's blog.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Awards Day

Today was the 4th grade awards assembly at my school and I was really excited because my mom and dad were both able to take off from work to come. It was great too, because I ended up getting awards for PE, art, music and reading. Plus, I ended the year with a straight A average (Ok, I got a couple of Bs but my final grade averages are all As). Overall, it was a great day and a pretty good year. Tomorrow is our last day of school and I'm glad because that means more time to spend fishing and biking!!!