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 .

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