March 24, 2013
Pity the poor folks who don’t reside here in SoCal. While much of the nation suffered yet another round of winter weather, the intrepid CdM team joined 340 or so other high schoolers for a warm and sunny day at the beach. Granted it was a man-made beach but hey, sand is sand right? Just ask Bianca, whose passion for the grainy stuff runs deeper with each passing day.
Sand, grass, pavement and a bit of dirt made up the most unusual mountain bike race course in the history of the SoCal league. It was exceptionally flat and exceptionally challenging too. Poor Bianca pegged the difficulty level at “puke”, topping out the climb on lap one with a technicolor jettison of her hearty breakfast. It was smoother sailing for her after that pause, and if she struggled with her nemesis (sand), she made it look mostly effortless.
Between the grinding sand, speed-sapping grass, sticky pavement and dusty singletrack, most of the racers crossed the finish line looking downright haggard. Even the strongest racers struggled – after all, when a race course is described as “flat and fast”, that means you have to go fast-er to stay in front. Lap times were blazing, as was the sun. Thank goodness for the cooling effect and wonderful backdrop provided by Lake Perris. It helped to have a carpet of grass under the team pit tents too!
The CdM squad had five racers at the event, with Reilly out with an injury and Vanessa out with an illness.
As mentioned above, Bianca didn’t fully enjoy her ‘Springtime In Perris’ experience. Despite her ups and downs, she remained steadfast and stoic, finishing her race with a smile. The girl has verve, spirit and gumption. What a trooper!
Bianca floats through the sand with her signature spin. Sweeper Julie follows, ever vigilant.
With two convincing wins under his belt so far this season, there was no reason to fear a different outcome at race #3. Except Jack was sick for most of the week leading up to the race, and competed in two road races leading up to the event. Would lingering illness and tired legs be his undoing? It was a bit unnerving at the start, as Jack wasn’t the first racer off the start line and out of the infield area. But when he pedaled off the beach and through the chute on lap one, he was once again comfortably in the lead, a gap he maintained for the second and final lap.
Jack spinning madly through the sand. Photo Courtesy Phil Beckman.
Just like Jack, Alex started the day with a handicap – a sore back from an earlier training ride. As always, Alex’s slacker style saw him through three tough laps in the heat of the day. Even though the course didn’t play to his bike-handling skills, he still managed a respectable finish.
Is Alex stretching his sore back or checking out the beach babes? Yes. Photo courtesy Phil Beckman.
Another nail-biter was set to unfold in the Sophomore Boys race. After taking his first ever win at the last race, Caden was looking to add another check in the win column. Finishing first might even put him in the coveted leader’s jersey. Alas, the mostly flat and easy course wasn’t ideal for Caden, who usually gaps his competition on short power climbs and technical trail sections. Nevertheless, he rode hard and finished on the podium with a very respectable third place.
Caden kicks some asphalt along the bike paths of Lake Perris. Photo courtesy Phil Beckman.
One more sandy showdown was scheduled for the Sea Kings and Queens: the JV boys race, featuring the unbeaten and seemingly unbeatable James P. James has won race #1 & 2 of the 2013 season, but not by much – just a few seconds in fact. James’ craftiness as a bike racer, honed by scores of tactical road bike races, has served him well. In both earlier races this year, he has entered the last corner of the race course in a close pack, and emerged from traffic free and clear.
The Perris course didn’t offer a tight last turn, relying instead on a sandy ramp onto a long stretch of uphill grass to check the racer’s speed through the finish line chute. So a win here would likely be a pure power play to see who saved the most for the final sprint. Once again James delivered, riding a very smart race to a clean finish.
James leading the train at the race start. he finished in the same position. Photo courtesy Phil Beckman.
James: 1st JV D2/1st overall after 3 races
Caden: 3rd Sophomore D2/2nd overall after 3 races
Alex: 20th Sophomore D2/26th overall after 3 races
Jack: 1st Freshman D2/1st overall for the season after 3 races
Bianca: 18th Freshman Girls D2/16th overall after 3 races
Total Team Points: 1801/Curently in 3rd place overall!
Well done one and all! On to Keyesville!
Official League Race Report