Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Race #4 (SoCal Finals) Report
Spirits were high as the club assembled in the parking lot at the Charlotte's Meadow area of the Stump Grinder Dirt Club (SGDC) outside of Los Olivos/Buelton/Solvang on Saturday afternoon. Race promoter Mike Hecker is justifiably proud at the unique and exciting venue he has put together to host racing and training. The SGDC is completely on private property in the beautiful hills and valleys of Santa Ynez wine country. The SGDC is a membership location where local riders can pay an annual fee to come ride the short but challenging climbs and swoopy singletrack with fantastic vistas of verdent hills and miles of vineyards. SDGC also hosts a variety of races ranging from various national level mountain bike races (the Kenda Cup West was here the weekend prior) with world class pros to low key short-track races to 12 and 24 hour marathon events. In addition to the start/finish area --- Charlotte's Meadow has a tire swing in the shade of a GINORMOUS Oak as well as a Pump Track that saw a LOT of use!
After getting geared up everyone went out in small groups to pre-ride the course. Special props to Pam's mom and Reily's dad for pre-riding! Rumor has it they're both at least SOMEWHAT hooked and looking forward to going on training rides with the club next season. You hear that parents??? Don't be left behind! Get a bike and ride with us!!!
The course was very scenic and very challenging. It had the most climbing of any course this year including one VERY steep and twisty singletrack climb that only the most technically skilled riders could ride up! There was also a bunch of smooth fast singletrack on the side of steep, grass covered hills, a few power climbs, and cows. That's right --- cows. It's not called the "Cow Pie Classic" as a joke! In fact, on the pre-ride we caught this photo of some of the native "wildlife."
After a great pre-ride. Everyone headed to their various accomodations to get ready for dinner. For most of the group this was at the Firestone Walker Taproom in Buelton. Even though it was a busy Saturday night we were slowly but surely able to "take over" about 1/3 of the restaurant. Dinner was great but the best part was getting to know each other just a little bit better and --- even though this season is just ending --- start making plans for next season ;-) After finishing dinner there was just enough time for a late night game of "Uno" in Graeme's parents' trailer!
Sunday morning started bright and early with a "hearty" breakfast at Ellen's Pancake House. When I'm in Solvang I NEVER miss breakfast at Ellen's! We pretty much took over the main room and counter of the restaurant with GUSD jerseys as we scarfed down our pre-race carbohydrates ;-)
After breakfast the racing began! The weather was slightly breezy with nice temps in the shade but warm in the sun as there wasn't much cloud cover! The course conditions were fantastic! The racing was epic as the loop ended up being over 7 miles long with PLENTY of climbing! Spectating was great as riders not only passed through the start/finish area twice per lap but, after the initial hard climb, were visible mutliple times as small specs criss-crossing the hillsides through valleys and past oak trees. When it was all set and done everybody had a hard but satisfying day.
After the racing was complete we all ate our fill of freshly cooked Brats courtesy of Graeme's folks! Thanks again!!!
The day concluded with a great awards ceremony and a team photo including all of the racers, coaches, and parents!
Special congratulations to Pam for finishing on the series overall podium (3rd place) for Frosh/Soph Girls. Below are congratulations from several teachers:
Thanks for the good news.
So cool! Too bad I opened this email after I saw her today. I'll definitely make sure to congratulate her tomorrow. She's an amazing kid and this is just one more thing that makes her amazing.
Erin J. Weller
This is great! Congratulations to you as well!
Have a great day,
LOVE THE INFO.
LOVE THE PICS!
Great job coaches.
Jan! That's fantastic! Congrats to you too!!!!
That's REAL BIG!
Thanks for sharing
Here are some links to GREAT photos taken by Dillen's dad and Coach Banner!
Below is some of the action in video!