Pre Race Day:
What a weekend! At first I thought we were going to get BLASTED with rain as Sarah and I drove threw the pass. We hit everything except snow. Rain, heavy winds, hail, it was just nuking in Gunsmoke. But once we dropped into Salida we were all good and clear with weather. Now I know why people call it the banana belt of Colorado. Sarah and I arrived a little after 1pm, just in time to pre-ride the course with the kids. We all gathered as a group and rode as a group. I showed them a couple of tricks when it comes to line choice and protecting the inside lines. After a one lap warm up we hit it hard on the second lap for an opener. After our hot lap we cooled down for a bit and I sent the kids to the camp site to eat and rest up for the rest of the day. My awesome roommate Cassandra Brown made the kids cookies for the kids in order to celebrate there season kick off, and the kids and parents were very pleased. I’m not even sure if Sarah could count how many cookies she at…must have been in the dozens:) After kids were all fueled up and slowly getting ready for bed we gathered at the campfire for a little meeting. We mainly talked about tactics for wind and holding on to peoples wheel on the open and exposed sections of the trail were wind could have been a problem. We also discussed potential areas to pass that were safe and cactus free, which were very limited. I was very strict on telling the kids to get to the starting line asap after warming up in order to get a good position at the line. Having a good position coming into the impassible singletrack would make or break the race. After our little meeting I resumed wrenching on bikes that were supposedly “dialed” and race ready. To my surprise they were in need of much TLC. So my night continued on to about 11pm, while the racers where well on their way to counting sheep. Several brake alignments, bolt tightening, and tire swaps later I found myself tucked in my cocoon of a sleeping bag counting sheep.
The mourning started off cold, as it supposedly dipped down to the 30s during the night. Good thing no one had an early race that day. The Girls Varsity started going off at 10am, and were spaced out with 5 minute intervals after that. Our girls were lead out by India, who looked solid all three laps of the race. India’s competition looked strong…very strong, but India was able to pull out with an amazing 3rd place finish. Five minutes after India’s start time was Robin, who despite her early arrival at the starting line somehow got pushed back to near last at the start line. With crowds of girls lined up in front of her she had her work cut out for her. Amazingly Robin was able to give’r heck and shredded past the competition for a SOLID 2nd place. I was so amazed by how well she did because Robin was literally the last girl at the start line. Oh man was I one upset coach, wanting answers from the start line officials as to why she was put so far back. But in the end it all worked out and Robin said she had one of the best races ever. Last in the freshman category was the illusive butterfly, Sierra. I had no doubt in my mind that Sierra was going to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee out there. Her smile and grace just carried her over everything, and she never looks like she is hurting on the bike…its amazing. Sierra finished in 3rd place on the dry and dusty 2 lap race, resulting in 3 solid finishes for the girls.
First off for the guys were DCT’s Sophomore racers Conner and Henry. After hours of fixing their bikes the night before(and giving Conner a tire with traction) they seemed amped and ready to shred. Conner had a 3rd tier start, but Henry got pushed back towards the back…making it a difficult race for him. Both looked strong going threw the feed zone, but both had trouble trying to pass slower riders in the singletrack. After the racing was said and done they did great! Conner placed 5th after we had to negotiate some number discrepancies(they put him in the D1 category, but he still raced in the D2 category. Making his time 5 minutes slower)and he got to podium! Henry placed a very respectable 7th place, especially after all that hard work he had to put in passing that huge crowed of racers. Last but not least was the Boys Varsity with Steven leading DCT in what looked like a pro race. This field had some fast riders, and what looked to be some kids sponsored by Focus bikes. I don’t know what it was but everyone of these kids were FAST! Kids were battling out for position during the neutral start, and once that flag was waved for them to start it was “GAME ON”! Steven literally ran into some trouble on one of the uphill section, having a slight collision with a kid who dismounted his bike. After lap one it was a hard battle to catch up to the leaders, and lap 2 turned into a battle for 5th place. Steven told me that the last hill before the flat rode section is where he got out gunned, and he had to settle for 6th.
Overall the kids did great and all placed in top ten…what team or coach could ask for more. I know I was stoked, and everyone came out clean and crash free. The Team Points are still being tallied up; as they have to count for nearly 300 kids, but I’m confident we did well. Could not have asked for a better race to start of the season! YAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!