Some of the 2011 MTB Team

Monday, March 23, 2009

Race #2 Report

2009 So. Cal High School League - Warner Springs from ChannelMTB on Vimeo.

When the club arrived at Warner Hot Springs Ranch on Saturday the sun was out, the temperature was perfect for riding, and there was a nice breeze. Nobody could believe the weather forecasts which had been calling for a major winter storm to hit on Sunday. The ranch was beautiful in a high bowl shaped valley with an active glider port providing entertainment for us as we pre-rode the course Saturday afternoon with a few fellow riders and coaches from St. Francis. The course had some technical sections near the start where the narrow single track went over some rocks through a cactus garden on the side of a little hill. Other than that, it was a roller coaster smooth single track ride through an enormous pasture occupied by a herd of horses that spent most of Saturday afternoon staring at riders passing by from their watering hole. Though there weren't any big hills, the course never seemed to be completely flat and really had nowhere to recover meaning it favored riders who had big aerobic engines over riders who were technically skilled. After pre-riding everyone returned to the ranch where people went to the hot springs pool and ate dinner at one of the on site restaurants. Everyone went to sleep content and looking forward to Sunday's race while doubting the predictions of the weather forecasters.

Sunday morning started calm enough. Everyone gathered around Coach Matt and Banner's "casita" between 8 and 9 where we shared a breakfast buffet provided by the club. It was great to see all of the parents, families, coaches (and their families), and riders gearing up for a great day of racing. The weather was cloudy but it wasn't very cold. Everyone was looking at the sky and talking about how it looked like the forecasters might have missed the call. Suffice it to say, that wasn't the case! As we ate breakfast we could feel the temperature dropping. By the time we were all heading to the course at 9:30 it had become breezy and COLD and the first drizzle appeared!

We set up our basecamp in the Specialized Pit Zone at start/finish. The location was great as it allowed the tents and team cars to be right along the course for easy cheering. This turned out to be fortuitous as the weather was about to take a DRAMATIC turn for the worse! The energy was unique at the start of the girls race as the horses who had been placidly standing in the field the day before decided to follow one of the last riders warming up in off the course where about 5 of them actually walked right into the start/finish area on the course! Once they realized there was something else happening in "their" pasture they quickly scooted away. However, they had a great running with the racers throughout the day!

As Pam took the course the rain was coming down and the temperature had dropped to the high 40's. By the time she finished her first lap the wind was blowing so hard that tents had to be staked down and they didn't really help much anyway as the rain was coming in sideways! While Pam was out battling the elements, most of the boys had huddled up in the back of my Element with all their clothes on drinking hot chocolate to stay warm. Yup, it was EPIC!

Just before Pam finished her race, all of the boys groups started racing. The fields were similar in size to race #1 meaning the JV group and the Frosh/Soph group were very large! The boys battled it out through the vicious weather (this is where the tents being close to the course counted as supporters could run out of their tents, cheer on their racers with cowbells, then run back to their tents before getting too wet) and everyone came in mud splattered with bikes full of mud. It pretty much looked like the color of every bike was --- BROWN!

I'll let the race report videos below explain things but suffice it to say everyone battled, everyone finished, everyone learned, and everyone will remember this race!!!

For more GREAT PHOTOS BY COACH BANNER (like the fantastic one at the top of the blog) click HERE .

Monday, March 16, 2009

NOT official club events but...

For those who simply can't get enough racing and want to add to their racing schedule there is a national series of mountain bike races of which we (here in SoCal) are fortunate enough to host MANY of. The series this year is called the US Cup Mountain Bike Race Series. The link to the main website is HERE. This is for information only! This is NOT an official club event and your standing in the club or the SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League has NOTHING to do with your participation in these race. Again, this is for information only. The club will not be involved in carpooling or coaching at these races.

Should you want to participate in any of these races the two that don't conflict with our schedule and are close are the Fontana City National on Saturday March 28th and the Santa Ynez Valley Classic in Los Olivos on Sunday April 26th. I believe the Santa Ynez race takes place in the same general area as our League race the following weekend. I will schedule practice both weekends on the non-race days to facilitate you being able to race should you want to.

If you want to do either of those races you will need to pay race entry ($35 in advance or $40 day of race). You will also need to buy either a USA Cycling Junior Mountain Bike Only license for $30 (good through 12/31/09) OR a one-day license for $10.

Since everyone on the club is 18 or under the USA Cycling classes you would register to race in are Cat 3 Men 15-18, Junior Men 13-14, Cat 3 Women 15-18, or Junior Women 13-14. Your "racing age" is your age on December 31st of the current year (for example, if I am a male currently aged 14 with a birthday on September 21st my "racing age" for calendar year 2009 would be 15).

You can either download the pre-registration form from the race website and mail it in with a check OR pre-register online. Additionally, you will need a USA Cycling Release (DOWNLOAD HERE) AND a Team Big Bear Release (DOWNLOAD HERE) signed by a parent or guardian to present at registration.

It appears the Fontana cross-country race is on Saturday at 11:00 AM and the Santa Ynez cross-country race is on Sunday at 8:00 AM.

If you want to get a good laugh you can see me "racing" in Fontana on Saturday at 11:00. Heck, maybe you'll even get the chance to pass me!

Coach Matt

Monday, March 9, 2009

Race #1 Report

GUSD Composite had a great weekend of camping, riding, and racing at Vail Lake in Temecula. Here's the blur of the weekend we had!

We left CV at 12:30 on Saturday and headed to the race. We arrived at about 3:00 and got started setting up camp. Reilly's dad Ken discovered a "smelly" problem in the campsite which we quickly took care of! After that it was all about pitching tents, getting stoves and lanterns ready, and positioning the food! We then set out to pre ride the course. We discovered it was a great rolling course with hills that were mainly rideable (except for Marine Corps hill --- but that's another story) and single-track that was swoopy and and fun! After pre-riding everyone got cleaned up and started preparing dinner. As the sun dropped --- so did the temperature! We had dinner then sat around the campfire eating Banana Boats (a VERY healthy desert) and talking about goal setting, race expectations, and race tactics. Everybody went to bed with a stomach full of food and butterflies. Sunday morning everyone awoke to freezing (literally) temperatures. That didn't stop us from turning our camp into a waffle kitchen! Morning was a blur of cooking, cleaning, registration, nerves, and excitement. The girls races began and Pam gave it a great shot before a swamp monster came running out of the bushes causing her to tumble and taking her out of the race. Rumor is that Pam is already planning her assault on the Warner Springs course. The boys then took to the course and worked VERY hard! Weston came out our top finisher, Reily rode safely and solidly, Eric gutted it out but was still suffering from the after effects of a banged up arm, Greame got his money's worth, Armen spent time going backwards, and Hunter figured out that 3 laps is a lot longer than 2 laps. We ate some free BBQ courtesy of the SoCal League, packed up our camp, and headed home. All in all, it was a great learning experience for a group of first time racers and a fun weekend!

Below are some snapshots of the weekend and for some REALLY GOOD photos of the weekend click HERE for Coach Banner's photos or click HERE for Mike Leum's (Hunter's dad) photos!

Results are up! Click HERE to see them!

The crew ready to roll out

Setting up camp

Base camp is set

Piles of sandwiches for dinner

Talking shop around the campfire

It was a COLD night

Waffle making octopus

Waffle carb loading around the morning fire

Race day strategy with the bigwigs(League founder Matt Fritzinger and course designer Jason Ranoa)

Specialized Pit Zone team photo

Eric setting out on lap 2

Reily rolls across the finish line

2009 So. Cal High School League - Vail Lake from ChannelMTB on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Vail Lake Challenge Race Information

The first race EVER of the SoCal Interscholastic Cycling League is this Sunday March 8th. Here is (hopefully) everything you will need to get yourself ready. Each named item will link you to that item so you can download it and print it out:

If you have not pre-registered for the League and Race #1 at Vail Lake the online registration is CLOSED! If you plan on racing you MUST print out THESE FORMS, complete them, have them signed, and bring them to the race!!!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

1st Race ONE Week from Today!

The NorCal League had it's first race today. From what I've heard, it was a great success. What that means is we have ONE week until the FIRST EVER SoCal League race! So today's ride was maybe a little bit longer and a little bit more difficult than we've done. And the riders responded! Many of you made it to the Brown Mountain saddle (a hard climb) for the first time followed by a real eye opening experience being guided down El Prieto by Coach Banner. Most of you don't know but Coach Banner is responsible for much of the work done yearly to keep El Prieto such an incredible, beautiful, challening little trail so close to home! By the end of the season I'm positive everyone will make it to Brown Mountain saddle at least once!

Remember --- Wednesday we'll be doing two short time trials so many of you can get a first time experience really "pushing" yourselves and everyone can get a "baseline" time so they can see how they improve over the next 2 months!