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SoCal Race #5 Tehachapi Race Report

by Devin DeBruhl

Coming into the race the top four riders could all win the overall. I was sitting third in points and was so ready to race hard! I pre rode the course on Friday and had the course down. Again on Saturday I did some more laps and felt great on the course! It was technical with some solid climbs. I was very excited to wake up and race the next day. Sunday morning I knew the race was going to be hard and absolute brutal. I was never more amped up to race! Showed up to the line early and eager to get it started.

First lap I was sitting in front with around five riders leading setting a really fast pace. Onto the last long decent I managed to make a major gap of over a minute and felt great. The pace I set was one I could keep for the rest of the race. Then onto the first climb of second lap I got a minor side cramp which then turned into a major stomach cramp. So the rest of that lap and the next I held on for life waiting for my stomach to release. Going onto my last lap I felt weak, tired, and horrible. My stomach made me hard to breath and felt cramps all over. The only thing in my head was to “Never give up” as my coach said starting the lap. Why would I give up because of some pain. I was in fifth and onto the first climb I was ready to suffer to gain at least one more position. No one was in sight and had sixth sneaking up on me. Just locked out the Top Fuel and climbed as hard as I could like never before. Finally I saw fourth ahead of me! Let go of the brakes on the decent and caught up. Up the middle climb of the course I saw third and second. I had to give it my all to catch up to them. I hurt so bad at this point I couldn’t feel any worse so I went as hard as I can possibly pedal. To the last decent I was sitting in third. I knew there was only downhill and a few small climbs till the finish. On the downhill I figured to take major risks to catch up. Hit every line absolutely perfect. Right ahead of me was second and suffered with his pace on the climbs. The last opportunity to pass was the gnarley rock garden downhill into the finish. Somehow managed to pass on the gnar and get ahead. The finish was so close but so far away. I knew second was right behind me and it came into a sprint to the finish. The last sprint felt like I was going to explode! Keeping my position in second felt so great! I worked so hard and felt great battling my mind. Keeping positive thoughts while feeling horrible is what I learned during this race. I was two points off from the overall series that had gone to Jonah Sanchez. He truly deserved the win and am so stoked for him! For myself being a Sophomore keeping up with speedy Seniors like Jonah makes me feel great! Definitely looking forward to my next two years of racing with the SoCal League!

Thank you Bear Development Team for all of the support this year! Also many thanks to my coach Stephen Ettinger for the incredible help. My amazing high school coach Tony Gamberutt for telling me to never give up and helping like no one else! Julia Violich for inspiring me to do the best I can every time on course, training, or being a successful person! Thank you Trek, Bontrager, SRAM, Castelli, Fox, Oakley, Gu Energy, K edge, DZ Nuts, Rocktape, Camelbak, ESI, Crash Tag, and Scicon Bags!!!

 

VAHS Race #4 Report

by Sam Roach

The Virginia High School Mountain Bike Series is the state’s fastest and most competitive Junior racing. Pro rider’s such as Dimension Data’s Ben King and Hagens Berman Axeon’s Eddie Anderson are all alumni of the series. The series is most comparable to NICA but, in Virginia, winning the VA High School Series (VAHS) is much more of a challenge and an honor. The series is comprised of five races that showcase the best of Virginia’s race courses. These courses range from urban singletrack to world cup style mountain challenges. Every race makes for one heck of a show, especially when the varsity races take off!

Virginia racing is, for the most part, mountainous and rocky, but the most interesting race always comes with the uncharacteristically flat race number four. Race four is composed of long power sections broken up by twisty single track ones. The varsity race always ends in a sprint because riders implement road tactics to keep a group together and fly! Although this course makes for the most intense bar to bar racing of the season, it does not suit my climbers’ figure and love of rocky, rooty terrain. Despite this, I am always excited to trade paint at this race every spring! This spring, I got to do the race with a real varsity race team, The Miller School Endurance Team, backed by the best kids from around the country and even the world. I was more stoked than ever to line up on the first row and find my place in the pace line!

I was the series leader and that was going to make me the target for the entire race. I went out to really dial my warm up and expected to roll up to the start line a few minutes before the race started and claim my spot on the front row. Unfortunately, staging was set up unlike the previous races had been resulting in me starting in the very back of the forty rider field. Warming up so well had cost me and I sat at the start thinking that I’d certainly lost the overall lead. Not only that, I didn’t know how I was going to help my teammates from all the way in the back of the race.

When the countdown finished and the race was underway, I came to find that the jitters and dialed warm up made for an impeccable start! In the first hundred meter open section before the single track began, I had made it up to seventh wheel. The next open section yielded more passes and before I knew it, I was on the front with my teammate, Gentry Jefferson. We came up with a system to keep eachother moving as fast as possible on the course which involved hard pulls on the flats and perfect rhythm in single track. After and hour of hard racing, Gentry and I came across the line in a heart pounding sprint where I came out on top and he came a close second. It was an honor to work with my teammate to pull back a win from such an unfortunate starting position and to show our Miller School team strength in the series. I couldn’t have done it without his help and I was stoked to earn my school extra points for the overall standings.

 

12 Hours of Mesa Verde Race Report

by Ruth Holcomb

The 12 Hours of Mesa Verde happens to be one of my favorite races. Nestled between Mesa Verde National Park and some of the best riding in the Southwest, Montezuma fairgrounds is the perfect home base for this race. Not only is the race a great way to challenge yourself through 12 hours of hard work, it is an awesome family event. I have been participating in The 12 Hours of Mesa ever since my 5th grade year when I rode it with my mom on mother’s day. This year, both my parents, my sister, and I all participated in the event.

The night before the race, my family and our friends pitched camp at the Montezuma fairgrounds. Not only was there a large population of other Durango families at the race, you also get reunited with friends from all over the state. From the friends that I saw that day at school, to my best friends from 10 years ago, everyone is stoked to have an awesome time. The night before the race is full of fun and games. From volleyball to kickball, to cornhole, to playing cards, the energy level is always high. After romping around the fairgrounds for a few hours, I returned to my tent ready to race the next morning.

The next morning, I woke at about 6am with the sun already shining in my face. I could tell that it was gonna be a rad day. My teammates were driving over this morning and we were ready to race. Out team was called “The Mighty Llamacorns,” a team name we gave ourselves years ago that never changed. I was assigned the first lap for our team. In order to spread out the field, the race starts with a short run to the corral to grab your bike. At the start line, I met one of my coaches. We chatted and played some games until it was time to get lined up. I lucked out at the start. With over 200 people starting at once, I was still able to get a front line starting spot. I was still joking with my sister when the cannon went off for the start. The deafening sound of the cannon shocked me and it took me a minute to realize that it was time to go. As we funneled down the hill and onto the straightaway, I weaved in between people trying to make up the time I had lost at the start, but in this sea of people, I was just lucky not to get trampled. After another minute or so of running, I grabbed my bike from my teammate, Ce, and was off and away. We whizzed through the tunnel up to the Phils World trail system.

The Phils world trails are some of my favorite trails I have ever ridden. The mix between the flowy, fast tracks through the desert and the technical rock sections overlooking some beautiful areas guarantees that no matter how much you ride there, you are always entertained. As soon as you enter the trail system, you drop straight into a fast flowy descent. With over 200 people on the trail, it is difficult to get into a rhythm. Especially for the first five miles of the course, I had to be super aware of what was going on in front of me. This consisted of a lot of track standing, and taking alternate lines in order to pass people. I know these trails like the back of my hand and had no problem making my way through the crowds. After the first five or so miles, I was able to settle in and race through everything from the technical climbs that meander through the mesas to the speedy downhills.

After 18 miles and about an hour and a half, I had finished my lap. I handed off to Ce and she was off for her adventure. It was then that I found out that fellow Bear rider Maddie Jo who was signed up for our team was sick and unable to race. While normally I end up riding around three laps with a team of three, now it was just a team of two and it was time to prepare for a big day with four laps of the 18 mile loop.

The next two laps were just as fun, if not more fun as the first. By now, the race had spread out much more and you spent a lot of time out on the course by yourself just pedaling at whatever pace you pleased. There were times where you got a little lonely but for the most part, it was a great time. Ce and I held our lead from the beginning. Starting with ten minutes, and by the time I went out for my fourth lap, we were over an hour ahead. I was exhausted and not sure I could make it for another lap, but I told myself that as long as I finish, Ce and I would win. For the most part the lap was great. I took it at a slower pace. Things were going great until around mile 12, I was cruising through a technical section on the trail and flatted. After multiple failed attempts of fixing it due to complications, I decided to run my bike. These 6 miles out were brutal and there were many times where I considered stopping at search and rescue to get a ride in. I just told myself that I needed to finish for my team. With about a half mile to go, I was running down the final hill and I saw two of my sister’s friends running up the trail. They yell at me to take the extra bike they brought up and tell me they will meet me at the finish. Ecstatic about being on a bike again, I took off. Seeing the finish line was about the best feeling I had felt in a long time. I was welcomed back by hugs a from my mom and Ce.

Even after doing this race for so many years, every time brings a new challenge to the table. This race was an especially challenging year yet also one of the most fun years yet. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for the Mighty Llamacorns.