Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Single Speed Intergalactic Championship--Ocala, Florida (3/25/12)

Yesterday, I got to compete in my first-ever single speed event--The 2012 Single Speed Intergalactic Championship!! It was awesome!

First of all, was holding the event only a few minutes away from my house, so I didn't have to get up super early to get there. Secondly, the temperature was perfect and the trails were in great shape. Somehow though, between the time that some people pre-rode the course that morning at about 8:30 and the time the race started (about 9:00), a big tree fell right across the trail and took everyone by surprise when it was just suddenly "there." I guess that's what people mean when they say the trail is constantly changing. I just don't think they meant that it would change THAT fast!

Anyway, the SSIC turned out to be a fairly small race compared to the series races, but it was really fun! I raced in the Base Men category and was the youngest rider at the event.


Eli and I had a friendly rivalry going, but he was determined not to let me pass. Eventually he let me go around and I finished in first.

Regan Woodall won a close Expert race and also got the fastest lap, so he got a little extra "bling" to show off for pictures.

 Miss Terri made some awesome barbecue sandwiches, baked beans and pasta potato salad for everyone to chow down on after the race while we waited for race results.

Mr. Dave made really cool trophies for all of the winners out of old sprockets that had been on bikes he owned at one time. Plus, for winning my class, I also got a case of beer. (Which really means Mom and Dad got a case of beer--haha!)

My dad also made the podium and took home a trophy for placing third in the 40+ class.

The SSIC was just a really fun race and I hope a lot more people will come out for it next year!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

2012 US Cup East/SERC #1--Haile's Trail in Gainesville, FL (3/18/12)

Last weekend was the start of the new US Cup East/SERC series and I was so excited!! First of all, my new Specialized Stump Jumper Comp Carbon came in on Friday afternoon, just in time for me to get it built and be able to pre-ride Haile's Trail for the race on Sunday. All I can say is I love this bike!!

On Saturday, my mom, dad and I pre-rode the course at Haile's Trail. I can only describe it as H-A-R-D!! For this race, Dave reversed the course from the last two times we raced there and added a whole new section of climbs and drops that definitely made me work harder than any course I can remember. By the time I had done a few laps though, I felt pretty good and was anxious to get racing in the morning.
Nine of us lined up for the start. There were some familiar faces, like Trent, John Michael, Ethan, and Zach, but there were several new boys that came out too. I knew John Michael would be very tough competition, but I had no idea what kind of riders the other boys were. It turns out they were very strong.
For the first time ever, when Dave blew the whistle, I got up in my pedals quick and got the hole shot. I knew the first section of the course was the hardest and if I was going to be able to win, I had to get out in front before we got there. Of course, John Michael was right behind me, just waiting for me to make a mistake.
John Michael

Unfortunately for me, John Michael didn't have to wait long. I took a bad line on one of the climbs and he got around me. I stayed right behind him for a while, but some bad luck with lap traffic slowed me down and allowed him to get a gap on me. I spent the whole first lap just trying to catch back up, and I suspect he spent the whole first lap making sure I didn't.
By the time I made it through that first new section of climbs again, I was pretty well spent. During the second lap, I saw John several times, but just didn't have enough energy left to really go after him like I wanted to.

Ethan A.
Behind me, Trent was racing hard against two of the new guys from Leroy's Bike Shop, Samuel and Ethan A. The other Ethan, who won the 9-11 year old race earlier in the morning was close behind. He had a nasty fall during the rock garden section around the first quarry, but got right up and kept on racing. You can see how tough he is in the video my dad made.
Ethan N.
My race face
At the end of the race, I was happy with how I rode and how hard I tried, but I was also disappointed that my one little mistake let John Michael get around me so early. Still, after finishing dead last at last year's race, I have to be pretty happy with second place. It's a definite improvement.

The Podium:  John Michael (1st Place), Me (2nd Place), Samuel (3rd Place), Trent (4th Place), and Ethan A. (5th Place)

This weekend, my dad and I are going to try something a little bit different--single speed racing!! I can't wait!! Look for us at Gone Riding's Single Speed Intergalactic Championship (SSIC) at the Ross Prairie Trailhead  (part of the Santos trails). It should be a blast!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2012 Mellow Johnny's Classic--Henly, TX (3/3-4/12)

Last week, my dad and I drove out to Texas to compete in the Mellow Johnny's Classic (My mom flew out on Friday). It was my first time going to a REALLY big event, where lots of pro riders were going to be racing, and I was super excited. My dad and I had raised over $1100 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and we were the top fundraisers for the event, so we got a special parking pass and got to hang out and eat at a special VIP tent all weekend. It was really cool. We also found out that the money donated to Livestrong goes to provide support services for cancer patients and their families, something Lance felt was sorely lacking when he was battling cancer himself.

Anyway, the first day we were there, we pre-rode the course. It was rocky and had some climbs that were kind of tricky. I didn't really like it and I was worried about sliding out or getting a flat. After the second lap though, I began to feel much more comfortable with the course and started to plan my race strategy. Actually, my race strategy was pretty simple:  Get out in front. Go Very Fast. Win.

My strategy was almost blown at the line. Because there were 15 of us, we were divided into two lines. When the gun went off and we all started to go, another rider ran into me and knocked me off my pedals. It took a few seconds to get clipped in and back on track and I had to ride hard to catch up to the leaders before we got to the first single-track.

During the starting loop of the race, Mauricio and I traded places a couple of times, but once we hit the open road right before going into the single-track again, I finally got out in front and stayed there.

It was a great time and I'm glad we came all the way out to Texas to race. Hopefully next year we can come out and do the race again.

Check out the video my dad put together of the race. He let me ride with the rear camera on my bike and the usual camera on my helmet, so the footage is very cool.

The US Cup East/SERC Series starts again in a couple of weeks, so look for us at Haile's Trail in Gainesville, Florida on March 18th.