Author Archives: dougdiego

Swasey Shred 03/08/20 – Odin Simms

After having missed two days of school and Friday’s practice because I was sick, I went into the race less confident than the practice races.  After the pre ride, I was exhausted, further worsening my confidence.  

My goal for the race was to have a good start and clip into my pedals.  On the day of the race, I accomplished one of these two goals. After successfully clipping into my pedals, I sprinted to the entrance of the single track and immediately crashed, causing a massive pile up.  I got back on my bike and started going again.

After completing a full lap and a half, I passed the feed station and going into the next turn, I crashed again and was passed by two riders. I got back on my bike, again, and finished the race.  I placed 20th. I wasn’t happy with this placement and felt like I rode pretty sloppy. I wish I hadn’t crashed twice, because I feel like I could have placed much better if I hadn’t. Overall, I can’t wait to keep pushing myself and ride better.  Congratulations to everyone who raced.


Granite Bay 2/23/2020 – Tobin Power

Photo by Rich Hallock

I was excited for my first MTB race ever. We pulled up to the event, and it was like all my tiredness from waking up at 5 am went away. There were tents everywhere with music playing, hundreds of people on bikes, and the cold wind blowing on me. I had put my bike in another car, so I set off to find it in the massive parking lot. Eventually I spotted my bike on top of a roof rack and got it down and registered it.

I warmed up with some teammates and did laps of the parking lot and a rocky straightaway. When 9:00 approached, we all headed down to the start line. I started from the back unfortunately, and waited for our group’s turn.

When the countdown came, I had some butterflies, but they all disappeared as soon as I put my foot down on my pedal. I sprinted forward, navigating my way through the field. I found a nice open pocket and drafted on Jacob. On the first turn, I lost him but kept in the lead pack for the straightaway. Entering the singletrack, there was a major slowdown. Me, being pretty new on clips, had to unclip and put my foot down. A few riders passed me as I slowed down a bit too much, but I was soon back with the pace. I raced head to head with Kaz and Lucas. I was on their tail the whole way up until the downhill, where Lucas dropped me.

Eventually, I started hitting some slow adults. It was a pain to pass since it was all very narrow. I think I lost a lot of time on the leaders because of this, and this was the first setback of my race. Lap 1 felt like forever, especially since I was riding it blindly. I was a bit nervous going through the giant granite rocks since I hadn’t had any previous insight on what line to take. After not really passing anyone except for slow adults and a few others of my category, I reached the beach. Making the sharp left turn out of the forest was sketchy, and I came into it way too fast. I slowed down and slid out off the track. I bounced up immediately and got back on my bike.

The beach was horrible, riding on sand and loose rock. A pounding headache and the sun beating down didn’t help either. I was completely gassed going onto the road, but that was the recovery area for the course. I took a few sips of water, and did the lap all over again. This time, I knew what I was doing slightly more. I battled with a few Berkeley kids and this one kid who was just there to race. Sadly, the beach was not any easier, nor any more forgiving. I was cautious about the turns, but it still got me. My tires slipped and I fell into a pile of rocks. I saw multiple riders pass me including Odin, so I quickly shook it off and started racing again. I was able to pass the people that passed me before, but the sandy doubletrack caused some more trouble for me. My tires kept sliding around, and at one point, it was basically all the way around. But thankfully, the race was almost over.

I powered through the last section, but I had already been passed by two people. I saw the final turn off and sprinted to the finish line. Crossing it was an amazing feeling. I had no idea how well I had done, so I just hoped I did well enough to satisfy myself. 17th, not bad for a first race where I had no clue what the course is like, and crashing twice. I’m glad I went and now I have the race experience so I can prepare better for Redding.

CCCX 2/9/2020 – Cate Flowers

First of all they really should not put the girls in the back where we have to pass almost the whole field to compete with the guys☹️ Sooo my race was a lot more tiring then I expected and a loooooot longer😂😂 I’m used to cross country races which are around 25 minutes max so it was hard for me to keep up my adrenaline for almost an hour.

When we started EVERYONE started SPRINTING and I didn’t want to be in the waaay back so I started sprinting as well which was not the best decision😂 I got into a pretty good rhythm when I finished the first half lap and I was about the same speed as this other girl in blue and orange. The course was relatively smooth and super fun because it had a bunch of twisty turns that I went around a bit fast and there wasn’t a lot of climbing. It was really sweet to see people cheering on the sides but also PRESSURE when I passed them☺️ In the third lap(?) I was feeling a little bad and I was going a looot slower then the first lap but I saw Eric and Zephyr and Todd and Helen and Tenzin along the way at some point in my race. I think I didn’t finish all the laps I was supposed to? Because a bunch of fast people finished after me and I really was not going fast😂

Anywaysss there was this one hill that I always had to walk the last foot and a different hill that I made it up!!! And there was a lot of bushes everywhere which was fun and the girl in orange and blue fell into one😬 we were pretty much the same level and kept passing each other but at the bushes I passed her and didn’t see her again.😂 Sooo my first mountain bike race was twisty and confusing but super fun!😄

CCCX 2/9/2020 – Felix Bloemraad

We arrived to the race in freezing temperatures. The organizers wouldn’t accept the form that I had filled out at home, but my hands were so cold that I could barely even sign my name on the new form they gave us. My bike was on a different car, which hadn’t arrived yet, so I tried to warm myself up as best as I could. When my bike did arrive, I pre-rode the track with Noah and Zephyr, trying to get a feel for it.

At around 9 o’clock, there was some general confusion about where the starting line was. By the time we got there, some people were already lined up, but there was an actual start line. It seemed like a long wait at the starting line, but eventually someone called us forward. In the initial sprint on the road, I managed to stay right behind Zephyr, but entering the singletrack someone in front of me crashed and I lost him. I heard some more crashes from behind me, but luckily I wasn’t slowed down too much.

The first part of the trail was pretty flat, with one small downhill, then a smaller uphill. By the end of the uphill, I got a pretty bad headache, and had to slow down a little. The rest of my first lap was pretty uneventful. By the second lap my headache was gone and I was passing some people. In my third lap, I sprinted most of the second loop, only to be told that I had one more lap. Thankfully, the course was pretty flat, and I recovered quickly. I crossed the finish line for the last time with a group of three other riders, all of us sprinting to come in first. I had run out of water on my last lap, so the first thing I did was get some more, before heading back to the starting line to cheer on Cat 1 and 2 riders.

CCCX 2/9/2020 – Violet Reed

I slept most of the way to Fort Ord so when we got to the race parking I was still half asleep. It was about 38 degrees if I remember correctly, so it was really cold. I warmed up for about 20 minutes before the race and then pulled up to the starting line. I was a little nervous because I was sick but other than I felt good.

You could tell it was a little bit disorganized because there wasn’t a actual marked starting line and there was lots of different people telling the riders lots what to do. I was up in the very front until someone told me that the girls started in the far back.

That might sound fine but it meant the the girls were put behind the 45(?) and older and the little kids. Which means I can’t complete with the guys my age which is the bulk of the competition for me. I really didn’t like that.

The race start was fine overall until I started to be challenged by one of the girls. She passed me going into the first turn and then I got stuck behind a little kid and their dad who WOULD NOT let me pass.

With some effort I passed them and could still see the girl(her names Maddy by the way). I kept hitting traffic with over protective fathers and their kids who wouldn’t let me pass to save my life, so I lost sight of Maddy which made me frustrated.

The starting half lap and first lap went just like that, passing little kids around every turn.
The second lap thinned out a lot. This is where I started to feel the effects of being sick. I was coughing and sneezing a lot which didn’t feel good. What did feel good was knowing I was maintaining a second place position in my first unofficial race.

Halfway through the second lap Elizabeth caught up to me for second but she disappeared very soon after. I knew that with Elizabeth catching me other girls would be close so I sped up.

Hearing cowbells and teammates cheering me on was a huge motivator to keep going and after my second lap I had to keep reminding myself that there was only one lap left. The last lap was really hard.

It was getting windier which was picking up dust that was going into my eyes and lungs. I started to develop back pain which made my back ache going up hills. Halfway through the last lap to see who was behind me and it was another girl which really spooked me.

I sprinted for a hot minute to get some distance. That’s when I heard cowbells. I switched into my largest gear and sprinted the last 30 seconds of the race to the finish line. It took up all of my energy. But when I crossed the finish line I felt so accomplished. I knew I came in second and it was all worth it in the end.

I got a medal and a sick t-shirt(which I learned I shouldn’t have gotten but who cares). All the other girls were super nice and it was a really good first race.

CCCX 2/9/2020 – Tristan Schonfeldt-Aultman

Photo by Paul Gilbert-Snyder

I was very anxious and intimidated by the CCCX race. It was my first race and I was not feeling prepared to race against such fast people. I began to feel better after warming up, but the thought never left my mind. Am I good enough?

After we all lined up at the start, each group of riders shot off as the whistle blew. When my group left, we all started going really fast. We tried to get ahead of one another before the entrance to the single track. When I got to the single track I was behind Jens and continued to follow him for a while.

However, when a sandy turn appeared around a corner I did not slow down in time and slid out. I quickly got back on my bike and continued ridding, but three people had passed me. Soon later, I fell again when I followed someone through a grassy corner which exited into a sandpit.

By the end of the first lap Finn was right behind me, and stayed there for a long time, encouraging me. When I reached for my water bottle, it was not there. I knew then that it had fallen out when I had fell. My spirits dropped a little, and I considered what it would feel like to ride the rest of the race without water, but luckily Finns parents had seen that I lost my water bottle and gave me another one. This made me so happy, and I was prepared to push on.

After Finn had passed me and I rode into a bush and fell again after a turn, there was a big gap between me and anyone else. I thought I only had one lap left, but I actually had two left. I had used most of my energy for that second to last lap and ended up going slow on the last lap. Ridding this fast for so long was completely new to me. It was much different than cross country, but it felt easier and more fun.

Suddenly out of the blue, somebody appeared behind me and passed me. This was the last part of the race and I was determined to get in front of him before the finish line. I kept following him at a distance, but right as the end was approaching I passed him at the top of an uphill slope. I sprinted to the finish line and finished in 7th place, I was happy with the outcome of the race. I look very forward to racing again.

CCCX 2/9/2020 – Doug Diego

Photo by Paul Gilbert-Snyder

I’ll go first this year and kick off the riders stories, as the coaches only get to do the practice races. I arrived at Fort Ord to see many riders with their fresh race plates riding excitedly around. For close to half the team this was their first race ever. It was not my first ride at Fort Ord, but it was my first race there.

I found a few riders and did a pre-ride with them. The course didn’t have much climbing. It was a fast ride with lots of flowing single track. Riding in Tilden, we don’t get much of this. We’re used to hills and fire roads.

The first start was casually organized. The riders just lined up where they thought the start was at about the time listed in the race flyer. About 10 minutes after the scheduled start time, the race official came out and organized everyone. Shortly after, they were off. I rode around the course to watch riders go by and cheer them on.

I did my warm up with other riders from the team. Our race start was just as confusing as the first, but we were eventually organized and sent off. At the start, I kept John in my sight hoping to keep pace with him. I kept up with him for almost 2 laps before falling back from his group.

With the pressure off, I still rode hard, but enjoyed it a bit more. It was fun to see many riders from the team when we passed at intersections. It was also nice to have a crowd cheering me on. Each time I rode past someone I knew I tried to work on my race face smile, but I suspect I’ll crack up when I see those photos.

I finished feeling good about my race, and excited for all of my teammates. Overall the team did great. Many completed their first race. Many made it on the podium. I saw a lot of accomplished racers out there today. I hope all had as much fun as I did.