Friday, April 18, 2014

2014 Sea Otter Classic (4/10-13/14)

Last weekend was one of the biggest races of the year for me. Almost all of my greatest competition in the country were at this race, so I knew that I had to give it my all if I wanted to win.

Hanging out after the pre-ride
I started off on Thursday with an easy pre-ride of the course with Veda and Haley. Right off the get-go I noticed that the course had changed a whole lot from last year. They changed the exit point off the raceway, making it a shorter ride to the double-track gravel road. In addition, they also made the course have almost all of the downhill sections on double-track and most of the climbing on the single-track.

The next day, I decided I wanted to do a somewhat hard ride, so I asked Casey if I could do a lap of the course with him, since my course was the same as the pro course. During the ride, I found that a lot of the climbs and lines seemed easier to ride than my initial pre-ride. 
Race day staging
On Sunday, all of the cross country races for Cat 1, 2, and 3 went off. The Juniors 13-14 class was the first group in Cat 3 to start. More than 50 riders lined up for the race. I got a huge jump off the line, but after careful consideration, I let the group catch back up for the ride around the speedway.
The start

The first climb

By the time I hit the single-track, I made several attacks, passed lap traffic, and dropped the rest of the group.
All alone in front
From that point on, I just concentrated on riding my pace and increasing the gap between the other riders and me.

The finish
After not being able to finish the race last year due to a crash, it was a great feeling to cross the finish line with a win at Sea Otter!! Thanks again to the Whole Athlete/Specialized team, Dario Fredrick, Josh Snead, Osmo Nutrition, DNA Cycling, ProGold Bikes, ESI Grips, and Specialized Bicycles for all the support. It was awesome getting to see and talk to you all at the event.

Post-race recap


Below is the short video my dad put together of the race. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Gasparilla Criterium & Florida Road Race Championship (3/29-30/14)

Staging for the Cat 4 Criterium
Last weekend was the Florida State Road Race Championship for Juniors 14 and under, and also the Gasparilla Criterium. I was really excited because my new Specialized S-Works Tarmac road frame came to the shop while I was in California, and I was planning to build it from scratch. After spending a day putting it together, and another day doing some fine tuning, my racing machine was finally built.

On Saturday, I lined up for my first Cat 4 crit since upgrading last summer. The weather at this race was the worst I have ever raced on the road. It was pouring and the wind was incredibly strong. For 40 minutes, we battled it out through sharp, slick corners and fast straightaways.

On the last 5 laps, I started to slowly make my way from the back of the lead group to the front. After the final turn, I sprinted for the finish line, placing 3rd in my category. My finish qualified me to race the Twilight Amateur Criterium that evening with everybody who qualified in the amateur categories.

Me racing in the Twilight Amateur Criterium

The next morning, we drove to Pinellas Park for the Florida State Road Race Championship. After completing my warm-up, I felt really optimistic about this race. Once we went off, I made a huge attack on the first corner, dropping all but two people. On the third lap, I made another major effort to drop those remaining riders, and this time, I got away clean. I spent the remaining 3 laps time-trialing it to the finish line, and won the championship.