OTH Race #3: Elite Short Track Brutality
This past Tuesday was the 3rd race of the 2015 Over The Hump MTB Race Series. It was also a special type of night; for this race, the Elite racers didn't have a main race but instead had a nearly 4-mile Short Track race after the main race. To qualify for the short track race, the elite racers were paired with a beginner or junior to be a ride-along coach during the main race. Giving myself a challenge, I set out to race the Elite/Pro Short track.
Before the main race, I was paired up with R.J., who was a beginner racer. The incredible thing when chatting with him on the start line was that it was his first time ever racing. He looked strong at the start line when I first met him and he proved to race even stronger. Being his ride-along, my job was to coach him and help him through the race. I tried my best to do so by giving tips and helping him to keep pushing to the finish. For his first race, he ended finishing 3rd in beginner men 29- class. By the way he was racing, I knew he going to be up there and he did exactly that. Big congrats to R.J.!!
Race Report by Mario Correa, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Team Bigfoot
I went back to Weaverville, California after a seven year hiatus to work on my climbing. Last year I raced a hundred mile race in Oregon with 17,000 vertical feet of climbing and had a meltdown on the way to a third place finish. It was a very ugly finish; I didn't pace properly, was under fueled, bonked, and in a world of hurt the last several hours.
This customized build is lightweight like an XC bike (26.3lbs) but set up aggressively like a Giant Trance SX.
The 2015 Over The Hump MTB Race season got off to a great start with sellout attendance at Race #1. The venue at Irvine Lake was buzzing with excitement. While I was feeling excited about this race, I was also a bit apprehensive as well. The reason for that is that I jumped into a higher category a couple seasons ago and had typically finished in the last 3 to 5 spots of my group, Men Sport 50+. I knew I had to make changes going into the 2015 season, so I started being coached by teammate Luke Wronski, a successful Expert-level racer and employee at The Path Bike Shop.
Luke put me on a high-intensity/low-volume training plan, which worked well with my busy schedule. This incorporated strength training, interval work and a core workout routine. His coaching and my hard work (read: pain) paid off big at this race, my first XC race of the year.
Race Report by David Hardwick, member of The Path Bike Shop Race Team. Photo: Melody McClain, Called To Creation
I wasn’t really sure I wanted to go to the Santa Ynez Valley Classic, but after a few last minute considerations I decided it would be a good way to test the diet and training program I have been on for the past month. I departed home early Friday morning, prepared to sit in some LA traffic to aim for a 10AM arrival time so that team member Zach Graves and I could get a course pre-ride in. That plan worked rather well, as we arrived within 15 minutes of each other. I haven’t been to the Dirt Club in Los Olivos for many years, but I’m familiar with the hills and I was prepared for some good hard pedaling in the Enduro. I’m really glad that I had prepared mentally because stage one was, as fellow race team member Jordan Steyer put it, “one 12-minute interval”. And man, did it feel like it.
I went to a fun event with a great vibe, the 2015 6 Hours In Frog Hollow just outside of Zion on April 18, 2015. I wanted to test out my new singlespeed setup and to make a comparison to my result/fitness from the 2014 race.
12.8 mile course, perfect weather, SingleSpeed Solo category, pitted off my truck tailgate, wore the old green Path Bike Shop race kit since it was warm out and I haven't had time to make a sleeveless version of the new kit.
One tooth difference in gearing, fully rigid setup, lighter bike with carbon frame, bigger Path Bike Shop water bottles, new Giro Shoes from the shop, and I fueled up only on Poptarts and Rockstar Energy drink. Also, my fitness is not what it was at this point in 2014, but it would be a good sign if I wasn't too far off of my lap times from the race last year.
The week leading up to the 2015 Sea Otter Classic, I came down hard with a bacterial infection that wiped me out for three days. I seriously questioned whether or not I would be healthy enough to race. I picked up an antibiotic Thursday and hoped for the best. By race day Sunday I felt good. Huge shout out to my team mate Nathan Heronen for turning me on to a sinus spray that allowed me to breathe out my nose during the race!
At the start of the race I went out hard, doing everything I could to be up at the front before the course bottle-necked into the singletrack. After getting through the first singletrack, the race settled into a rhythm. I stayed with two other riders in my class for most of the race.
2015 Sea Otter Classic - XC Race Cat-2, ages 15-18
As everyone knows, the Sea Otter Classic is like a mountain bikers' dream. Everything bike related is there, including the racing. I set out to race the very brutal XC race. The course was 24 miles and 3500' feet of climbing. It was the longest race I've ever done so far and it definitely hurt.
Waking up race morning was tough since race start was at 8AM, so I was awake by 6AM. To make things even better, it was super foggy and freezing cold. After doing a decent warmup, I went to go line up at the start and ended up waiting 20 minutes until the race actually began. I was freezing and shivering just standing there waiting for the race to start, but once the announcer said "go", the adrenaline warmed me up quickly!
Off the start everyone was just going at it and getting into draft groups right away. I dropped back towards the back of the field during the first few minutes as everyone was attacking and blasting ahead. I knew if I would do that, I would blow up later on since it was a very long race. Slowly but surely, I was gaining positions one by one; mainly on downhills and singletrack where I had my advantage of technical skills.
Round 3 of the 2015 US Cup at Bonelli Park was a really great day for me. After taking a month off of racing to get married and settle in to a new home, it felt great to be back at it. Bonelli Park was my first ever US Cup cross country race as CAT-1. I wasn't sure how my fitness would stack up against a much stronger field compared to the races in Fontana, CA.
I went out conservatively, singling out the individuals I knew I had a chance against. By the end of the second of four laps I knew I was in a good place. The longer daily bike commutes that have become the bulk of my training proved to help with my endurance.
On the final lap, myself and one other rider battled it out for 2nd place. He took off on a sprint halfway through the lap. Unfortunately, I was unable to reel him back in. Given that this was my first crack at a US Cup CAT-1 race, I couldn't be more thrilled with my third place result. This also gives me more confidence heading into the 2015 Sea Otter Classic this weekend!
So proud to be representing The Path Bike Shop, Kona Bicycles, Kenda Tires, and Smith Optics. Huge thanks to Lou and Tani for all the support. I am beyond blessed to be able to race my bike and work with such good people.
A time trail is considered “the race of truth”, a race against the clock.
Truth is, almost everyone is racing against the competition not the clock.
The first race of the year is always a rude awaking.
Truth is, every race is a rude awaking if I'm not warmed up.
Have a new singlespeed setup this year that I've been looking forward to racing.
Truth is, there's still some changes needed before it's 100% dialed in.
Felt like a big yellow bratwarst in the new yellow kit.
Truth is, I'm several pounds above comfortable racing weight; no more salt & vinegar chips after training rides.
The plan was to stand for the entire climb.
Truth is, my arms fatigued quicker than my legs so I resorted to plan B and walked a little.
Why was I thinking of the Vision Quest West Horse Theif on the Dreaded Hill climb?
Truth is, I need to race more to increase my focus; racing is the remedy for monkey mind syndrome.
I thought I won the race when I was done.
Truth is, I was a few seconds off of first.
The mistakes I made were more costly than I figured.
Truth is, every second counts.
I'm sort of happy with my current level of fitness given the circumstances.
Truth is, I have a long way to go to be ready for my big races this year.
Mario placed 2nd in the SingleSpeed category at the 2015 Whiting Ranch Time Trial.
In my third season of mountain bike XC racing and my first year on The Path Bike Shop Factory Race Team, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter who you beat going up the mountain, but how you push yourself to get to the top. So on the morning of the Non Dot Adventures first race of 2015, the Whiting Ranch Time Trial, I enlisted this approach for the race.
This is my third year racing the OC Classic Race Series, and I have always found these races to be made up of the most supportive and enthusiastic bike riders known to Orange County. That is why I do these races. I love the Non Dot Adventures crew, and their passion for the mountains is somehow transferred to the race itself.
Well, the Santa Ana winds were back. The Santa Ana winds are a local phenomenon that is kicked off when high pressure sets over the Great Basin of the southwestern United States, creating strong, dry, gusty winds that blow from the desert towards the southwest, with gusts can easily exceed 40mph. Add these destructive winds to high temperatures in the 80s, mix in a sky without a cloud and practically no shade, and you have the setting for the season finale of the Super D race for the 2015 Southridge KMC Chain Winter Series.
There was a lot on the line for this race. Over the course of this series, The Path Bike Shop Race Team has been fighting hard for every space on the podiums, and with points being doubled for the last race of the season, many of the team had the mentality of getting on the box or crash while trying! The Path Race Team has had many successes this year, but also a few injuries. In fact, one such injury put a racer out for the remainder of this series. That may lie in the back of the mind for many riders…but not these strong lads and ladies!
The course for this race was not only the longest of the series, but the toughest as well. It began with a 30-second sprint right from the starting gate, followed by a short, steep, punchy climb that saw many riders expelling all their energy right there. And we're talking the kind of out-of-the-saddle punchy climbs that make you want to curse the day you were born…..and this was only the beginning of your race run! After this, it was loose switchbacks, rock gardens, g-outs, and a long sprint that makes the infamous “wall” portion of every Fontana downhill race seem like a walk in the park!
This week in Fontana, CA was a windy adventure, to say the least. The final Super D course of the 2015 KMC Winter Series was a combination of the first section of Super D Races #1 and #4 of the series. Never have I felt so comfortable on a course although there was one issue being there was a lung burning climb shortly after the start into single track. Due to the physical nature of the race course, I went with The Path Bike Shop XC jersey to keep cool. For tires I paired up my Kenda Honey Badger XC tire in the rear and the Kenda Nevegal X in the front. Since I was riding an all-mountain bike I wanted to make up all the time I could on such a pedally course.
I had a great start out of the gate, quickly catching the rider in front of me through the fast turns. Once we hit the flats, I couldn't find the will or energy to pass him. For those who ride mountain bikes or motorcycles, you know that you go where your eyes are looking. In this case, I was right on the racers' rear tire when he went off an embankment into vegetation and rocks. Not paying attention because of my exhaustion I followed him off course and off my bike. I managed to get back on course and I finished strong, holding onto 4th place in the Super D Expert 34 & Under category.
This past weekend was the second race of the 2015 SoCal Enduro Race Series in Vail Lake, CA. Going into the race, I was expecting to be racing in pouring rain because the weather predicted 80% downpour. With having expected rain, I also was worrying about the stiff competition in the Jr. Expert class. I knew Jake Marr and I would be battling the whole race, but I didn't know what to expect with the other competition.
After the easy pedal up to Stage 1, it seemed like no rain was going to hit but the clouds were still menacing. At the top, everyone was scoping out the top rock garden as it was probably the most technical part of the stage. After seeing the pros hit their lines, I went for a different option and followed the same line as Team Big Bear pro, Ian Odom. The line was to stay left and double the rock section instead of sticking right and going over the two rock rollers. During the race, doubling the rocks proved to be the faster line as it was smoother and also carried speed a lot better. After clearing the top section, I felt really confident and went all out to the finish. With a smooth and clean run, I earned a 2nd place spot in Stage 1 by a mere 0.5 seconds back.
Since I've only been riding mountain bikes for a little under two years, racing was not exactly in my game plan this early in the game. But because the growth of the Path Bike Shop Race team for 2015 was so strong, it was without hesitation that I decided to race. Mountain bike racing needs more women out there as well. I get to represent both women and The Path Bike Shop. A win already!
This weekend was the 2015 Kenda Cup West Enduro Race #1 (which was also the 2015 SoCal Endurance Enduro Race #2). The first SoCal Enduro a month ago (my first ever Enduro race) I took 1st in the beginner class. I was stoked on my first win, but frustrated that I could have taken 1st in Expert class. After weeks of kicking myself and taking the "sandbagger" title, I have gotten over it and moved on with my life. With that being said, I moved up two categories and am now racing expert.
Coming into the 2015 season, my nerves have been all over the place. Since my year was cut short in 2013 due to an AC separation in my right shoulder, I decided to take time off from the race scene to regain my confidence slowly but surely. 2014 was my year to find the love for mountain biking again.
Now 2015 is here, and I did my first Enduro race in about a year and a half. I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of it again. Vail Lake has always been a local favorite of mine.
The day started with a pedal to the top on a mellow fire road that generally takes everyone about 10 to 15 minutes to climb. As I got to the top, I could see everyone scanning the first line. The new-to-me top section of stages 1 and 2 was littered with rocks and tricky lines; it created an awesome environment! Everybody from beginners to professionals were discussing lines and practicing them before the race start. I went through the top section a few times and had my line picked for the day.
Great times at Round 4 of the KMC Winter Series in Fontana! The Path Bike Shop team was in full force rocking our fresh new factory kits. The cross country race had a great turnout with some fast guys in the Cat 1 class. After several rounds of racing I'm beginning to know my competition better and able to pace accordingly. I was able to stay with the leader of the race for most of the three laps, but unfortunately he managed to pull away towards the end of the third lap.
In the end I finished in 2nd place with a PR (personal record) of over 4 minutes faster than my previous best.
It's still early in the season, and I feel that at my current rate of progression I am poised to have a fantastic season! Huge thanks to The Path Bike Shop, Kona Bicycles, Kenda Tires, and Big Lou (our team manager) for keeping me rolling. Looking forward to the final round of Winter Series next weekend!
This weekend at the 2015 KMC Winter Series #4 Super D Race in Fontana, we were fortunate to have perfect racing weather. Throughout the weekend The Path Bike Shop Race Team could be spotted from afar due to our new race gear for both XC and Enduro. The new threads provided the team with the confidence and comraderie needed to have a fun and successful weekend. Compliments were given all weekend while our sponsors were represented proudly. Kenda Tires provided the team with new tires to keep us rubber side down. This week I ran 27.5x2.4" Honey Badger DH Pro tire up front and a 27.5x2.35" Nevegal X Pro tirein the rear, giving me the assurance to go fast.
I have been riding for 7 years or so and have raced here and there, but this is the first year I wanted to make a concerted effort to really put my all into racing. The Path Bike Shop and Lou (our race team manager) have given me a chance to represent them along with a fantastic team or racers this year.
I jumped into the season starting with the 2015 KMC Winter Super D Race Series to get my racing going. I signed up for Sport Men 35+, and I have met some steep competition.
This last weekend was Round 3 in Fontana, CA and a course I’d never ridden before. I arrived just in time to register and head up the hill for practice. I got a couple of runs on the lower rock garden then made my way up to the upper section, which was entirely new to me. On the way up the course seemed deceptively easy with a few fun sections that I was looking forward to. This illusion was soon removed as I headed down and found washed out corners, rock ups precariously placed after short flats or uphill requiring some creative pedaling, and a blown out right hander with sneaky hidden rocks just waiting for my front tire to come say hi.