Tuesday, May 28, 2019


This weekend was the last high school race of the season and the biggest, fastest race yet with it being the whole state of California racing. My usual Varsity field is about 25 people but at states, it doubles and this year it was 58. My family and I got up to Tehachapi on Saturday. We were invited  into a little RV compound with our friends the DeBruhl's and Gamberutti's. I helped set up camp, said hi to some friends and stretched out my legs from the drive. At around 11 Devin, Jonah Martinez,  my dad and I went out for our pre-ride. Right off the start, we ran into a large group of cows that we had to scare off the road, typical Tehachapi.  The course was the same as years past. It starts with a long fire road to a quick punchy climb some fast up and downs with some fun corners at the main climb of the course. This climb is usually easy, but add the winds of Tehachapi and it takes it to a whole new level of difficulty. The trail then leads into a few technical rock gardens that you have to watch your tires through, then into some quick single track on the side of a hill and you can look down into the venue. You head over to more rock gardens, then into a short climb, and then you do two passes through the valley right where the finish is. Then up to one steep climb, followed by a descent to the finish on the fire road to start/finish.  We did two laps and did the last section of the lap a few times to look for a quicker, straighter line over a patch of rocks as opposed to having to slow down for a corner. After that, we headed back to our trailers to get our recovery and relax for the rest of the day. We played some card games, talked with friends about Sunday, walked around and said hi to people that were coming in,  and watched a movie or two before dinner. Dinner was pasta as usual.  Gabbi, Devin, and my parents had some fun cracking jokes while dinner was being made. Around this time the rain was starting to come down and all the parents from our compound came into our trailer to eat and watch a movie. After it ended they began to slowly leave to get back to their own trailers or to hotels. With missing last weekends SoCal finals due to rain, and the storm again this night, it was a bummer to not hang out longer,  but I was able to get in bed a little earlier. The next morning it was pouring so the races were postponed an hour  (which made it a lot harder for our race) they also shortened the race by a lap (which I  was bummed at the time but ultimately happy with the storm that came at the end of our race). That morning everyone was rolling in while I was having my breakfast and we had 7 people on our couch watching the UCI race in front of our fireplace.  With the hour delay, we were going to start at 2:30 so we just had to lay around longer. This was a good thing considering that my derailer cable was fraying and Tony Gamberutti was able to get it all fixed before the race. He was my true savior. I started my warm up a little earlier than normal because it was so cold I wanted to make sure I was all warmed up. For the last 5-10 minutes, I rode around to see if my kit choice was good for the race, warm, protected but not overheated. I talked with my coach,  Jason Ranoa and a few other people on the way to staging. I was the 33rd rider into the start shoot.  It was a little farther back than what I am used to but with the course starting on the long fire road I wasn't too worried. I was surrounded by many of my friends from the Socal league and I was getting mentally into race mode. One of my friends Steve Barton aka"Big Steve" gave me a little shoulder and neck massage that made me laugh a little to help with the nerves. The count down started then we were off. The race started off very quick til we got to the first corner where it all kinda slowed down because no one wanted to pull into the headwind. Until the first climb, the top 8 or so took off and the rest of us were fighting up and down the first decent to the big climb of the course. A buddy of mine Aiden Chapin was right in front of me starting the main climb he was able to make clutch passes but I wasn't able to do the same and the group pulled away.  Meanwhile, a group of 5 formed with me and we were together for the rest of the race. When we started our second lap I got in front just working at my own pace until the climb where I pulled a little gap headed for the first descent. Since I know this area so well and had no one in front of me the group didn't catch me till the main climb on the course. One of the guys helped me in the front with the group behind us catching. For the rest of that lap, we were moving fast through everything. Then the third and final lap came around and again no one wanted to pull on the fire road so it was just a cat and mouse game and the group behind was starting to catch again. I fought to the front for the descent to help us pull away and as soon as we got into the open the rain and wind slapped me and almost pushed me off course. I was literally leaning off my bike to stay upright. Up to the climb, the wind went from a head to a tailwind on each switch back. Three kids passed me up the climb and I fought hard to try and catch them for the rest of the course. I tried to keep my lines as clean as I could so I didn't get a flat. I was able to be work with another rider to try and catch the group ahead of us but as we went through the first valley crossing and saw that we were no longer close enough I knew it was a race between me and him. Down the descent, to the crossing, my glasses got covered in mud from following him. At that moment I said to myself don't worry, get through this,  you can see enough and you know this place well enough to just keep going. So I pushed on and on the punchy climb I passed him and made sure I was first into the last single track sections. I took the straight line over the rocks, made the last left corner and crossed the line 19th. I am very proud of this result because it was a hard season with a lot of up and downs. I was able to accomplish some goals and learn from the ones I did not, but overall I worked hard and am proud of where I ended up and know what I need to work on for next season. We always finish our races with dinner with our cycling family, it's grown since we first started and I enjoy hanging out with all my friends and family after a long hard day.  Always a big thank you to my family,  girlfriend and friends who support me no matter what. Big thank you to Jason and SoCal Devo, Ellsworth, ESI, Tasco, Kenda, Ridefast Wheels,  Physiophyx, Rudy, Canari, Scicon, Gup and my coach Daniel Matheny.

Friday, May 10, 2019


This weekend was fun, tough and very challenging. Saturday consisted of openers in the morning, haircut in the early afternoon and off to my girlfriend, Ally's prom. It was a whirlwind day. We had a great time, my girlfriend looked stunning and we had a fun time dancing and playing poker but Sunday morning came way too soon. I didn't get home until Sunday at about 1:30ish in the morning and wake up was at 6:45. I definitely felt a little groggy and out of it. We packed everything in my truck, picked Ally, my trooper girlfriend, up on the way for the two and a half hour drive to Keyesville.  When we got there the venue was packed. We had to wait about 20 min for the Freshman to go off before we were allowed into the main area. We thankfully had a spot "sort of" saved with the Debruhl's but it was definitely a tight fit. People were parking everywhere and anywhere. It was a bit chaotic. After we got settled we hung out with Devin Debruhl and Levi Mason for the time before the race and they filled me in on the course conditions. When we were just about to watch the girls go off we heard that a young rider, Will, from the Simi team took a hard crash that knocked him out. I found out after the race that he had broken his collarbone, 2 ribs, and pelvis and they were monitoring his head. Sending my thoughts making sure that he is okay and heals up fast. At about 12:30 I started getting ready to rock and roll. I was able to grab a call up from Vail a month prior. The start was easy, no one sprinting off the line. We all rushed through the water up to our first climb. The top five pulled away from me a bit and I tried to hold on but I wasn’t able to and was in no man's land. The trails had way more ruts then last year and they had to make some new lines around them. On the back side of the mountain, the wind was a crazy crosswind pushing me across the trail. It felt like I was side ways. With all that went on Saturday, I was feeling rough and I couldn’t get myself up to speed and kept going backward with each lap. The course itself was awesome and fast. It was filled with steep climbs and technical downhills, which I normally love, my body just wasn't having it. Hearing and seeing everyone on the sides of the course is always crazy to me, seeing that I know so many amazing people and they know me and were cheering me on, despite my performance, made me so stoked knowing I am part of this amazing community. I did finish the race in 15th which is not what I was looking for here.  I did, however, take a lot away on what I need to work on in the future, sleep and rest being one of them. On our way down the hill we got stuck in a full traffic jam right at the bottom of the canyon because of a fire. We made the best of it by doing Chinese Fire Drills and hung out with all our friends along the side of the river waiting for it to clear. Just another opportunity to make more memories.  Once we finally got through we had dinner with the Debruhls, Gamberuttis, Richardsons and Levi Mason. It's always great to relax and be with my racing family for dinner. In the end, the weekend was hard because I did more than usual but the racing was fun. I came out with a lot to work on over the next two weeks with new goals set for Socal finals and States. Always a big thank you to SoCal Devo, Ellsworth, ESI, Tasco, Kenda, Ridefast Wheels,  Physiophyx, Rudy, Canari, Scicon, Gup and my coach Daniel Matheny.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Always Improving

This weekend was fun, hot and very challenging but I feel stronger from it. This weekend started on Saturday morning when I drove out to grab my girlfriend, Ally, at 7am to take with us to the race. We left at around 8 ish and started our two and a half hour drive to our second home Vail Lake in Temecula. We ran into some traffic along the way and we took a quick pit stop in town to Harvest Bread, our favorite bakery, where we got some bread for that nights dinner,  monkey bread for the next morning and some huge cookies, that would be my treat for after the race. When we finally got to the event we got our RV all set up, my dad, one of my friends Ethan Villaneda and I went out to pre-ride the course. Right off the start there were differences in the course. As soon as the lap started we took the normal first two turns but instead of going right onto the fire road we keep going straight where they added a new road that was just a large out and back then it went to the normal course. Since we have raced here about 4 times already it was cool to see a big change in how the course went. The other big change on the course was the run in to the momentum climb Air Force, they made us go on a higher level from where it is originally and they added three really fun and fast berms up to the climb. After that there were no new sections, but we took a trail backwards from the way we usually do it in other courses. This race adds a pretty crazy climb called Marine Corps hill. It is very similar to Air Force but longer and steeper. It has a long run up and from the rains and the people doing maintiance on it (thank you), it was a lot easier and faster. After the pre-ride I hung out with my girlfriend and other friends and watched movies for the rest of the night. In the morning we were again, woken up by the announcers but it was a little later then two weeks ago. In the morning I felt super sluggish and took me forever to get moving. But once my buddy Blake Wray came down and helped our friend Aidan Chapin with his bike, I loosened up.
 I stretched out and rolled out at about noon and watched another movie. I asked a few friends that had already raced how the course was running and they all said fast and fun but the heat was getting bad. When it got to about 1235 I got on the trainer for warm up and felt the heat and it was crazy. I switched to my race bike and riding around there was a breeze that made it feel a little cooler and I had a cold towel on my back trying to keep me as cool as possible. I finally headed over to the staging and I was in the last line of the whole group.  "You can only go up from here," as my parents always say to me. I didn't really mind much being in the back because varsity is a very small group of only 26 riders so it isn't like fighting through about 80 at Sea Otter per say. Time for the start the count down is going all the parents and coaches join in and we are off except... I completely miss my clip and my whole foot slips so I have to jump back on the saddle after getting thrown forward and catch the group. Dead freakin last! Luckily the pace started off very slow and mellow and I was able to get all the way to the front of the pack in the new long straight. We were all chatting and cracking jokes all the way through the first lap it didn't even feel like a race really and the lap went by very fast. The second lap was a little different the pace was brought up and my mind was ready for it and up the first single track climb my body didn't show up and I knew this lap was not going to be fun. I lost sight of the 4 leaders and could hardly keep up with 5th. I had to back it off on the main fire road to get my legs feeling good and also to try and get some burps out because my stomach was all in knots and I didn't want throw up. As we got into the fun decent Tunnel of Love I was able to regain some comfort and get my legs a little rest. Everything was going okay but my legs still didn't want to kick in. On the way to Marine Corps hill there are two steep little pushes and something happened that surprised me. I wasn't able to get up the hill. I had to get off and run to the top. This messed me up mentally trying to figure out what had just happened and what was going on with my body. I was able to get to the Top of Marine easy and said to myself "just put that behind you and focus on the race ahead."  I put my head down and hammered to the two guys ahead of me. One of which was my team mate Ethan Sanchez. We were able to work together on the way through the first single track climb.  The guy we were with was able to pull away but Ethan and I stayed in our grove and just pushed on.  I had a feeling we were going to catch him anyway because I feel very comfortable in the tunnel of love decent.  He ended up getting a flat tire  half way through the decent which is just bad luck. I saw it and put my pedal to the metal a little more because we still had to do one more lap and I didn't want him to be in the picture. My dad was in a field of poppies. He was calling out times to people ahead of us and the places we were in, which is alway helpful.
My legs were still not feeling amazing but they were good enough to keep a good pace going. I went through the finish line and headed out on my last lap. I took a shot of pickle juice that I had in my back pocket. It didn't sit well in my stomach at first, but since I had it and my legs were a little off I took it just to be safe and make sure no cramps would ruin my race. The last lap was filled with a lot of little punchy sprints trying to see who of the two of us would crack. We went back and forth the whole lap but the gap wasn't able to form until the fire road decent coming into the last turns of the lap in the four cross loop. I was able to power past and push into the decent where I felt I would be faster then Ethan. I made sure all of my corners were clean and I put down power anywhere I could. There was a little sharp lolly pop corner to the end and I made sure to hit it clean and sprint to the line where I was able to grab 7th place. This was my best result yet for the High School races. I felt good mentally but my body wasn't 100% there. I congratulated Tuner Conway on his well deserved and long awaited varsity win after having two tough years from injury. Another amazing weekend that I was able to spend with awesome people who all love and support me. Also A big thank you to SoCal Devo, Ellsworth, ESI, Tasco, Kenda, Ridefast Wheels,  Physiophyx, Rudy, Canari, Scicon, Gup and my coach Daniel Matheny.                

Monday, March 25, 2019

1st Win of the Season

This weekends race was amazing. The course was fun and fast and it was the first race my girlfriend was able to come out and see. Early Saturday morning (4:30) I woke up and got my bike and gear in my truck and at 5 headed out to pick up Ally along the way to the race. My mom and I picked her up from a gas station a little off the freeway. It took us a little over 2 hours to get Vail Lake. Once we got there it was a little chilly and still
. I got registered and introduced Ally to a few people then did some stretching with the whole Devo team. We did a few weird stretches that made us laugh but it got us warmed up but it left us barely 15-20 minutes to get kitted up and to line. I did two laps of the new four cross loops with the new big berms and they were super fun. As soon as I finished them I got to the start and I was in the back of the group again. I saw my buddy, Blake Wray, right up at the front and told my team mate that we have to start all the way in dead last. Our group was about 50 kids with the Cat-1 15-16,  17-18 and we were paired with a few single speeders. The whistle sounded and we were off. It was a little slow in the back and it was hard to get a line to pass but I was able to move up about 10-15 spots going into the first single track. It was a lot of the same trails from the week before from the NICA race, just in a different way. There were a few big changes though. One was that we went out towards the front of the campground where the cars first enter and the other was after air force we did a little quick hill climb. The pace was solid the whole way through but hard to gain spots til we got onto the ambulance road climb which was one of the two main fire roads on the whole course. On that climb I was able to get into a fast moving group and stayed with them for the rest of the lap. I took the lead going into the four cross area because I felt I could be the fastest descender in the group from looking at all of them in Tunnel of love and I was right, I was able to open a little gap. Going through the start/finish I saw my mom and Ally right there cheering me on which was right across from air force where I would see them later on the lap doing the same. I also saw other kids that were part of my group so I grabbed them and again made sure I was first into the quick corners and up and out to the front of the venue. After climbing back over the to the main area I got in a breakaway with two other kids from that small group up slingshot. We were able to move fast through that section back over to ambulance. At the top heading into tunnel of love the leaders from the endurance race caught us but I got blocked off from the other two kids as I was going into the single track. It was really good because the endurance group was super fast and I was able to hunker in behind them and hammer. They were able to pick off a few of the people I was racing against and I was able to catch up with teammates Aiden Papell and Ethan Sanchez. Unfortunately, the train ended at the start of the third lap where I got stuck behind people from other classes but I got behind a friend of mine Chris Layton, from the 30-39 group, and still pulled out some fast speeds with him Ethan and I pace lining up the fire road after getting a little caught up from slower people on a steep climb on sling shot. I got into tunnel first and just ripped it, there was no one in front of me and I was able to go as fast as I wanted. I got to air force where there was a little head wind so I took it a little easy and just glided to the top. On the start of the fourth lap it was just me and Ethan together so we worked together, picked up and dropped people through the whole lap and just flying through everything but I knew it was going to be a tough sprint to the end. I gave it a little gas at the start of the four cross climb with a little bite from him but I knew if I got to the decent first I had a good shot at winning the sprint. So I played it clean all the way to the top of the climb and was able to get about a 10/20 foot gap on the decent and as soon as I hit the flat to head to the finish I sprinted, then made sure I was clean through the last few corners to the finish and sprinted again and beat Ethan to the line. After I finished my race a gave my girlfriend, Ally, a big hug then saw Ama and Imeh and talked to them for a little where I saw the average speed for my race was 15 MPH!! Which surprised me because it was 25 mile course. As my mom, Ally and I were making our rounds saying hi to people my buddy Ryan Landis came up and asked if I knew how I did. I said "No but I think top 10." But he responded with "No dude you won you got first." which completely shocked  everyone especially me. The first thing Ally says to me is "See I told you I only date winners." I was so happy to be able to take home a win. It just shows that all my training is paying off and I'm getting stronger and stronger each race and each week. The topper was, Ally was there to see it all and see me cross the line a winner even though we didn't know it at the time. As always a huge thanks to SoCal Devo, Ellsworth, ESI, Tasco, Kenda, Ridefast Wheels,  Physiophyx, Rudy, Canari, Scicon, Gup, my coach Daniel Matheny and everyone that cheers me on and supports me at the races, school or social media thank you.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Double Race Weekend

This weekend was insanely fast and filled with a lot of new experiences that I'm happy to have done. On Friday I drove down to Bonelli where the UCI International race was going to be the next day to pre-ride. when I got there my tire was flat. Luckily, my good friend Rodger with Kenda was able to get it fixed for me to pre-ride the course. I've raced here twice in the past but it has been a year since I've ridden it so I couldn't remember everything. I'm happy I did the pre-ride because they changed the course from the year before in a few different areas adding 2 more steep climbs and got rid of an out and back section near the water. On the ride I ran into a few friends from out of state that I haven't seen in years. After I finished my pre-ride, I went by my girlfriend, Ally's, to spend some time with her because I wasn't able to see her during the week and I had races on both Saturday and Sunday. I spent about and hour there and then I went home to get washed up and go to bed. The next morning I woke up at around 5 a.m. and got in our RV for the long weekend, starting with Bonelli. When we got there, I got kitted up and jumped on my bike to warm up. On my warm up I look down at my bars and I saw a sticker that said "Come and take it" which is from a flag from the Revolutionary War where we stole a cannon from the British. I love this saying because I think of it as if you are racing and you want to pass me you have to come and take it from me, but not without a fight. Also about 3 minutes later I saw another sticker but this time it is a picture of the cougar, Karen, from Talladega Nights. Which put the biggest smile on my face and I just laughed. It was a funny surprise from my dad. As I rode around, I ran into a few more friends that I hadn't seen the day before. After warming up for about 30 minutes I went over the staging where I was in the last three rows. The first 8 call ups were for people from Canada, Mexico, Netherlands and Denmark. It was kinda crazy to hear that at a race. People from all over flew all the way out here to race for UCI points and a chance to qualify for the Olympics, keep in mind this is a group of kids from 16-18 year old. Our group was about 70 kids and I was starting in the second to last row which isn't the best place to be to begin with and to top it off,  right off the start I slipped my pedal and when I looked up I was literally the last person. I was a little upset but I said to myself "well I can't get any worse" and kept pushing. Since the girls were starting 2 minutes after us we weren't able to do the parade loop, so we went into the first climb as a huge clump. I was able to move up on the outside and get into the top 50ish. We pushed up the climb down to the most technical decent on the whole course which I thought there was going to be a pile up for sure because someone was going to try and make a dumb pass but we all stayed clean through that section. For the next mile or so it is straight single track so there was little to no passing. When we finally hit some fire road it was for about a minute then back onto single track so it was hard to move up. Once that first lap was over the gap from the top 15/20ish to the rest of the pack was pretty big. I stayed in the 50s range. Sadly, I was only able to finish three laps before being pulled. Then the leader came past looking like he was hardly trying, having a solid gap on 2nd and 3rd. This was very eye opening, seeing how the International competition is on a whole different level. You can be a big name locally doing well at Cat 1 races but then go into UCI and its just a completely different animal. These racers gained a huge amount of respect from me and just racing with them is something I will never forget. After the race was over I hung out with the DeBruhl's in our RV until we left for Vail,  the next race of the weekend. It took us about and hour and forty minutes to get there and I rested on the way down. When we got there I went over and said hi to coach Jason. Then I visited with Nate Miller the owner of Tasco. I'm part of the Tasco tribe this year and I have been riding their gloves ever since they came out and have loved them all. This weekend he gave me a pair of gloves to test that will be coming out at Sea Otter. Let's just say, you will definitely want to grab a pair. That evening I pre-rode the NICA course with my dad. It was a very sprint heavy course, my type of course, none of the climbs are very long and you just have to push, plus there is a lot of flow and it's just a fun course in general. After I finished my ride I went over with my SoCal Devo team to Jason's camper and we got our new kits for the year.  They are super cool,  very tight, clean looking and comfortable. I'm stoked to be wearing these throughout the season. We ate dinner with Aidan Chapin and watched movies till about 9/9:30 and then I went to bed. The next morning I got rudely woken up by the sun,  then by Brandon's music and request for Volunteers to come to the meeting at 7:30 in the morning. I had my breakfast, rolled out my legs  and watch another movie waiting for the afternoon for my race to go off. I went out and about talked to Jason and Nate again basically trying to get my mind off the nerves. About 12:30 I started warming up. Yet again I got on my bike and found 2 more stickers with one being "IF YOU AIN'T FIRST YOUR LAST," on the other side of my bars and a picture of a Crystal Gayle on my seat post. This just made me laugh because my family watches that movie so much and seeing all of the references is just amazing and helped to reduce my nerves. I got up to staging and got on the line. We went off the start and again I couldn't find my pedal which drove me crazy but through the first .5 mile I was able to stay in the top 10 into the first climb and I stayed in 9th for the first lap. The second lap I was stuck in the middle of two groups and I saw my teammate Ryan Landis behind me so I went with him and we stayed together. About halfway through the course there is on climb that is short but very steep and it is just brutal but as soon and you got over it the rest of the course was pretty much down hill. On the third lap it stayed about the same with me and Ryan together and we had 1 or 2 other people with us until Air force climb which is just a super fast momentum climb that you can basically get up without pedaling but during the race there was a head wind which made it a little harder to get up. On the final lap of the day my back started to cramp up on the way up to tunnel of love where I saw one of my friends Brandon Greywitt who didn't look so hot but he said he was fine and I kept on going. At this point at the top of tunnel of love,  Ryan and another friend of mine Chance and I pace lined off of each other for the rest of the lap. Right after we got up the steep climb Ryan went past and I tried to catch on but I felt my rear tire kinda bouncing around, I tried to blow it off like it was nothing. But then I hit a few of the corners after the climb and I noticed that I was losing air in my back tire. I wasn't able to fix it quickly because my flat repair kit flew out of my pocket on one of the descents on the first lap. So I had to baby it for the last 3/4 of a mile of the race. I was a little disappointed that it happened, but there is nothing I could do and I really could not see where the air was leaking from (we found out on Monday that my rim tape was shoot and it was leaking through that then through the nipples.) I started with 26 psi in my tire and finished with 12 psi. I was able to get 16th on the day.  My goal was a top 10 finish  but not every race is going to go your way. The whole weekend was a bunch of fun, I was able to see many old friends on Saturday, experience International competition, test ride awesome new gear and race my mountain bike non stop, and no I did not catch on fire. Looking on ward and up ward to next weekend at Vail AGAIN.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

US Cup Vail Lake 1

This race weekend was a quick one. I woke up on Saturday at 4:45a.m. to drive down to Temecula in the rain with my mom. Since we were so early we didn't hit any traffic but something crazy did happen right in front of us. On the 15 freeway a car spun out and crashed into the center divider and then spun into our lane. Thankfully, my mom was able to avoid it and keep us safe while chaos broke out.  It defiantly woke me up and kept me on my toes for the rest of the day. When my mom and I got to the race and it didn't look very good. The dirt was sloppy and it was still raining a little but I was still ready to race. We found out the race had been pushed back an hour so I had time to get ready and register. I was able to talk to an amazing person that I have known for the past few years, named Jeff Throop AKA Troop. We first meet several years ago when I lost my phone racing a Big Bear XC and he found it after the race when he was doing sweep. Over the years we have gotten really close. He's had a rough past few years.  First, around Christmas 2 years ago some dumb driver tried to pass someone on a one lane road and hit someone head on. Troop saw the whole thing as it happen. What he didn't see was the huge 5 ft tool box that flew out of the drivers car and landed right on his truck cab hitting him in the head. He was in the hospital for awhile having to learn how to walk again but was able to make a full recovery. Then last year he was on his motorcycle with Kyle Straight (his son-in-law) and he hit a tree head on. After this horrific crash he was back in the hospital. Thank God he is a true fighter and has been able to make a near full recovery. He is an amazing person and if you ever do a race put on by Big Bear racing look for him and just talk to him he is so down to earth and full of stories, he has been to hell and back multiple times. Back to the race though.  They had to adjust the course from all the rain so it was turned into a super short, sprinters course. I was racing Cat 1 17-18 and we were started with the Cat 1 15-16. I had a pretty good idea who my competition was. At the start it was super slippery so its was hard for everyone to start and mud was flying everywhere. Half way through our first lap the sun came out. The sun made me feel really good and I was happy that I didn't wear any heavy cold weather gear. The lap was up ambulance to tunnel of love, which is one of my favorite flowy down hills. Next we rode to the jump line climb, down to the steep switch backs at the main venue then down the little decent to the finish. The first lap I was in the top 12 of all the riders.  On the second lap I was passing one of my friends, Al Garza, he lives near me in SimiValley.  I called out my pass and he let me by, but someone that I was racing against tried to pass him with me without calling out and they hit bars and Al fell pretty hard. I turned my head to make sure he got up and kept on pushing when I saw my mom I told her what happened. She saw the whole thing and yelled to me, he's fine and to focus. The whole race I was pretty much by myself and kept pushing as hard as I could. I was able to finish in the top 10 of our whole group and 4th on the day in my category. With all the rain and having to get used to a new fit I got earlier that week I was happy with my performance.  I feel like I'm getting stronger after each race.  I just have to keep my head down and work harder. All of the this wouldn't be possible with out Ellsworth bikes, Esi grips, Physiophyx, Rudy Project, my parents, my So Cal Devo Team and of course my coach
Daniel Matheny

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Lake Perris 1st high school race

This was an all together great weekend. It started on Saturday morning when I hitched a ride with our good friends the Flanagans, who are coaches for the SCV team. We got to Lake Perris and I tried to find Blake Wray or Turner Conway to pre ride the course.  Blake was already leaving with his sister Hannah and Turners sister Skylar.  I had to change my plan. I was able to kit up at the Conways and then I went down the pit area to see if I could run into someone who hadn't  pre-ridden the course yet which was really hard to do. I finally joined the Simi Composite team for a bit and then ran into my friend Devon Woolston that I haven't seen since the start off summer at the PedalFest race series. I talked to him all the way up the climb. When we got to the top he waited for some of his teammates but I kept on moving down the descent. I was looking for lines, which were almost identical the to year before, but there were big changes to the course itself. The first one was the G out, where another racer broke his jaw last year,  we had to do a little detour to go through the G out slower.  Second, was a two parter, right before the finish in years past on the beach there used to be three back and forths that were moved into the wood chips after the finish line which I was kinda happy about at the time of the pre ride but wished we were back on the beach after the actual race. Lastly, it is kinda small,  there were a few more flat turns through the grass to make it a bit more technical so it wasn't such a straight roadie course. After finishing the lap I ran into Blake and one of his buddies and we went out and had a little fun finding different trails a little off the course. Once we got back on course I was able to look over some of the new lines they added again. At one of the last new turns, right after the feed zone, I saw Devin Debruhl and Levi Mason looking at lines for a sprint finish which was difficult because there was a single track about 200 yards before the finish and whoever got into to that first, in my opinion, is who would win their race. Later, after looking at the lines I went to talk to coach Jason Ranoa to see how he was doing and get some words of advice. I also ran into TASCO and one of my dads buddies Lucas Rowton. After that I headed to the Wray and Conway compound and got back into regular clothes,  rested and then watched the Middle Schoolers go off. At around 3:30 my parents where finally heading down while Turner, Blake, Devin and I sat at Turners RV and played xbox which has now become a regular relaxing event I look forward to, at all the races the Conway's attended. At 6:30 my family finally made it to Perris. I headed over my RV to say hi to my parents grab some dinner and then headed back over to the Conways to keep playing xbox. At around 9:30 I went back to my RV  to get to bed for race day. 

That night I had a good night sleep and though I felt the nerves coming in, I was able to stay relaxed.  I stayed in my RV for most of the morning but went to support my other  teammates from the Devo team. After seeing them go off I went back into my RV to rest, stretch and get rolled out. At around 12:30 I got on my trainer and did some openers listening to my music and tried to visualize the course in my head. I headed down to staging at 1:05 with a big smile on my face and tried to stay relaxed. When I got there I was able to see my friends again crack some jokes which helped the nerves. Then they started our call ups. VARSITY. It was the first time that it finally hit me I'm in the Big Time with some super fast dudes and that all my hard work has paid off. I was the 5th call up. On my way up I went to give my mom my empty GU packet and the guy calling everyone up was blocking my way a bit so I tried to sneak past but I got too close to my mom and got my bar caught in her sweatshirt and almost went down before the race even started. After making myself look like a complete idiot and providing comic relief for the crowd, I felt like all the nerves disappeared. We sat at the start line for a few minutes,  then headed out to the real start on the road where everyone was lined up to watch. We all went off together,  not in an all out sprint, but we were all just pushing a solid speed till we got to the climb. As soon as we got to the climb it was a slug fest. Turner and I took an inside line then a group of about 13 ish took off on the climb and I was in the second group from 14-18. We got to the descent and I was stuck behind people so I had to wait for the fire road after to try and catch the leaders. I was able to fight back to be in contention for the top 10. We got in a nice group with three other guys with one being a teammate Ryan Landis. We stayed together for the whole second lap holding a constant speed with me and one of the other kids doing most of the work at the front.  This affected us because on the third lap climb Ryan and the other kid took off and I tried to fight back but I worked too much and didn't have the same power. I was able to push away for the other kid and tried for the remainder of the third lap and forth lap to catch up but I was in no mans land. NO HELP. Just me and my own will power to keep on pushing. I used the people in other categories as my carrots to chase up the climb. I also had my dad at the bottom of the last part which is the hardest part yelling at me to "dig deep" which I definitely did. It was also awesome to ride across the beach with literally everyone cheering you on, it looked like a tunnel with people on both sides. On the descent I pushed so hard to be as fast as possible and took the straightest lines. When I got onto the fireroad I used my new E*Thirteen cassette with a nine tooth cog (which is one of the smallest you can get p.s. smaller is faster) to try to catch up to the group for 6-11 position.  I know that I'm a good sprinter so if I got in there I thought I could very likely get a top 10. I was pushing as hard as I could but still in the back of my mind thinking to save some energy to sprint at the end if need be. When we hit the beach the group was slowing down and they had about 10-15 seconds on me so I picked up a bit of speed and tried to tag on the group. I heard my mom yelling across the beach to catch on to the group. This was my last chance because as soon as they hit the feed zone it is three turns away from the finish and they would already be sprinting and I had already pushed so hard. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, I got within 5 seconds but not close enough to catch the group. This is where I wish there was still 3 passes on the beach because I feel this would've increased my chances of catching the group and increased my odds of a top 10 finish.  I was able to come in 12th and I'm super happy about this. I did not take my training as seriously as I should've , until it was too late. I have had to really find out what I wanted out of this year and with the help of a new coach I think I'm on track to achieve the goals I have set for myself. This race, my goal was to finish in the top 15 and I did.   Knowing that I was that close to the top ten is a huge booster and is making me push harder. I can't wait to race Vail in 2 weeks time. The course is always a blast and its like a second home to me especially, this year with having 8 races there.

Special thanks to Physiophyx, TASCO, Rudy project, Kenda tires, Roger is the best and Boosters are awesome!! Ellsworth, ESI grips and Matheny Endurance.