Posted by: cdmmtb | March 14, 2013

Corona del Mar HS MTB Team Race Report: Race #2 Carving Canyons

March 10, 2013

Does Mother Nature look fairly upon high school mountain bike races?   Not always, as racers and coaches from prior seasons can attest.  And while she has acted benevolently more often than less, she doesn’t always play her cards early.

Sycamore Canyon, the venue for race #2, had a “rain cancels” clause in the permit.  And with stormy days early in the week, League Director Matt Gunnell was on pins and needles, watching the weather forecast hour by hour.   It wasn’t until Friday morning that Sunday’s outlook became clear: sunny skies with possible Santa Ana winds.

Once again, as with race #1 in Temecula, the weather would align with the wishes of 351 racers, their families, friends, coaches and race staffers.   One less thing to worry about, and all the better for racers intently focused on winning, placing, showing or just surviving their first or second race of the season.

Each CdM racer woke up Sunday morning intent on accomplishing a goal.  Would they meet or exceed their expectations?  Only time would tell.

James Pflughaupt

Race #1 saw James hitched onto a train of 4 very fast racers. For 15 miles they sliced and diced, trading the lead position. In the end, James took the win by the narrowest of margins over fellow OC riders Sean Bell and Daniel Johnson.

The question for race #2: could James pull off a repeat performance? Once again, the answer wasn’t clear until the final 50 feet of the race.   James, Sean and Daniel merged into a group of slower riders in the final turn, and for a moment it was unclear if any would emerge unscathed. In the end, (was it luck, skill or both?) James had the best position, and broke free from the group and across the finish line first.

It was the most dramatic finish of the day, and it’s clear that these three young men are equally hungry to dine from the top step of the podium.

CdM HS MTB Racer James Pflughaupt March 2013

James leading the train once again!

 

Caden Gruber

Ahh…the enigmatic Caden.  So chill off the bike and in life.   A man of few words who let his riding speak for itself on Sunday.  He must have been unhappy with his 5th place finish at race #1, because he left the gate in front and never looked back, taking the victory by just over a minute.   A convincing win to say the least.

Caden rode alone for most of his race.  Seems no one could keep up!

Caden rode alone for most of his race. Seems no one could keep up!

Jack Tucker

Jack rode to a convincing win in race #1. Was it a fluke? Did his competition just have a bad day?  Or did he have the race of a lifetime?   Well, race #2 shed some light – with yet another resounding victory, Jack is clearly the strongest rider in the field.  Barring a mechanical or crash, he is clearly the man to beat for the remainder of the season.

Jack honored the leader jersey he captured in race #1 with another runaway victory.

Jack honored the leader jersey he captured in race #1 with another runaway victory.

Alex Foster

Making his 2013 season debut, none other than The Alex Foster.  Alex is as laid back as Caden, and his languid style shows up on the bike. He attacked the race with easy grace, finishing well with seemingly little effort.   A welcome addition to the team.  Great to have you back Alex!

Alex defines "flow" with his natural style.

Alex defines “flow” with his natural style.

 

Vanessa Grainger

With fellow Sea Queens Reilly and Bianca out with injuries and illness, Vanessa lined up as the sole female rider for the team.  No pressure…except her score would weigh heavily in CdM’s overall team results for the day.    After pre-riding the course on Saturday, Vanessa felt confident she would finish the race.  And finish she did, despite a minor mechanical issue and a couple tip-over crashes.   Her performance helped push the CdM team into third place overall for the day!

 
 
 
The ever-smiling Vanessa awaits the start of her race.

The ever-smiling Vanessa awaits the start of her race.

James: 1st JV D2

Jack: 1st freshman D2

Caden: 1st Sophomore D2

Alex: 22nd Sophomore D2

Vanessa: 26th JV Girls

Total Team Points: 1894

Well done one and all!  Onto Perris!

Official League Race Report

The CdM MTB team receiving our third place award. The little team that could!

The CdM MTB team receiving our third place award. The little team that could!

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