Six Sigma Championship – 05/21/2022 – Daniel Gansmiller

My mom and I arrived at Six Sigma at around 1:10 on Friday, we were the first ones there and I had a lot of free time but the prerides of the course weren’t open until around 2:00 so I sort of rode around explored the area. It was pretty warm and I had heard that it was gonna be even hotter on the race day, so I wasnt exactly looking forward to it as I rode around or sat in the car. Finally more people started arriving, Doug got there with Will and Finn arrived shortly after. I decided to go on a early pre-ride with Doug instead of waiting for the rest of the team to get there.

The course seemed pretty fun, with a lot of downhill and some interesting features like the series of puddles or the snake-y burms, but finishing the preride I felt tired, and very unconfident about the race the next day. The last race we had was at Six Sigma and I ended up falling and losing my bottle at the beginning of the first lap, so the rest of the race sucked with me suffering from dehydration  and finishing exhausted and disappointed in my self so I was looking even less forward to a repeat of that. I spent some time with my teammates and they prerode the course, we set up camp and then me and my mom left for the hotel.

We decided to get dinner first and eventually found a super good Japanese sushi restaurant, I had the best ramen I’ve ever tasted there. We then went back to the hotel and decided to go to bed early, I set my alarm for 8:45 as a precaution, confident that I would wake up earlier than that and that I could make it to the Varsity race. I slept in past the alarm and woke up at 9. I was disappointed that I woke up so late but at least I got a good nights sleep.

We got back to the camp and I said good morning to my friends there, it was as hot as they said it was gonna be and me and my freshman teammates tried to spend as much time as possible under the tent to keep cool before our race, except for meeting and congratulating the Varsity and JV boys for finishing.

Eventually it came time for our race and I was feeling as unconfident as ever but we got ready. The timer counted down, 30 seconds, 20 second, 10 second, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!  The start to this race was an uphill that ramped up until it got pretty steep and dusty, I was in group A so I hoped that I wouldn’t have to step off because of people in front of me, but when I got to that part I inevitably had to get off my bike and run, but for some reason my legs werent complying, I just couldn’t force myself to run up the hill, so I walked up it as fast as I could while other people ran past me. When I finally got to the flat and then downhill section I was already far behind the position I wanted to be in. But I kept riding and managed to pass a decent amount of riders. I forgot to mention that this race had a huge amount of riders in it, from Northern California and our section of Norcal, there were around 80 riders in it. Anyway my slowdown at the start put me behind a bunch of riders that were a lot slower than me, so I managed to pass a good amount, until I slid out at a sharp turn and got left behind again, I was panicking and rushing to get back up that I almost forgot to grab my bottle that was lying on the ground next to my bike, luckily I remembered last second and got it. Then I had the job of passing a ton of riders again. Things continued and eventually I saw that Jaq Chin was up ahead of me, by maybe 10 to 15 riders. That gave a lot more inspiration to push and pass people, one of my goals for the race was to beat Jaq, he beat me at two of the races in the past and I beat him in two of them, he was a great downhill rider and I really didn’t want to lose to him this race. The race wore on and I discovered something that made me feel really happy, I wasn’t feeling sick or fatigued like I did at the other races. The race continued and I was actually having fun instead of focusing on having to beat everyone. I got to the second lap, grabbed a new bottle of water, and forged onward. Hilariously enough, I slid out and fell at the exact same spot on the second lap as I did on the first, but I felt fine so I kept going. later on in the middle of the second lap I finally managed to pass Jaq and get ahead, I kept going, full of energy, I was close to the end of the race when I caught up to Sammy, a Freshman racer from Berkeley who was really fast and who I wanted to beat. It felt great to have managed to catch up to him but I wanted to win, we reached the long flat grassy part of the course right before the finish, I started going as hard as I could as soon as I reached the flats, managing to get a lead, but it was longer than I thought, and I started running out of energy. Sammy started catching up right before the finish and the race ended with us both rushing neck and neck, our bikes perfectly even, until Sammy pushed his bike ahead by a few inches more than mine right as we crossed the finish. I rode over to my friends who were waiting for me. I felt great, like I could’ve done a third lap, I was a bit disappointed about the start of the race, and how I couldn’t beat Sammy, but it was a really fun experience riding and hanging out with my friends and I feel really excited to see how much I’ll improve next year!