The Bike Dawgs turned in a strong showing at Granite Bay on March 8, narrowly missing the podium with a 4th place finish. The Granite Bay course, with its roots, rocks, rock gardens and occasional mud garden, is a much more physically demanding course than the East Garrison course of race one.
The day began with the 3-lap varsity girls’ race. Lauren Schulman and Julia Jackson-Clark worked together, switching off the lead in a balanced attack to ride down a pair of opponents and come in virtually tied, but with Lauren ahead just enough to grab 9th to Julia’s 10th.
Freshmen girls Emily Butler and Jillian Johns were close behind in their 2-lap race. Both were initially intimidated by the course, but rose to the challenge and were soon clearing obstacles that had stopped them dead in the pre-ride. Emily surged in lap two to move up a position and grab 16th place, her new personal best. Jillian did the same, after an extended back and forth with another rider, she also attacked in lap 2 to hang on 22nd, tying her personal best.
Wave 2 was the freshmen boys, with Ryan Nelson-Flack leading the charge. He survived a slow start on the sandy beach, held his ground, and started moving up in lap two to take 13th. Gustavo Tagliari was close behind in 15th. Will Tanaka survived early muscle pain to take 23rd, and Dylan Haldeman fought back for 33rd after being forced off the trail and tumbling down a hill in lap 1.
In the 3 lap JV Boys race, Walker Busby, knowing the course did not play to his strengths, strategized by letting loose on the downhills and surging more on the uphills, and succeed by matching his race 1 placement of 10th place. Evan Prahm fought off his final lap fatigue by sticking to the wheel of the JV D2 leader, once again taking 19th place. Ulysses Lopez also eked out a last minute surge to take 27th, with Linot Vierke close behind in 29th.
Varsity rider Seth Francis had a strong start but was separated from the lead pack when a Drake rider stalled in front of him on the rocky climb. He hung with the second group for the rest of the race, battling for 5th till one rider broke away. In a four-way battle for 6th, he attacked on the final hill and gapped the rest of the group, and rode in uncontested in 6th place, his best varsity finish yet. Sam Weinstein by contrast did not have a good start, falling off the lead groups into the mid-teens. He held his position there, and from lap two onward methodically picked off rider after rider till he had moved all the way up to 9th, matching his placement from race 1.
Team scorers for the day were Seth Francis, Lauren Schulman, Sam Weinstein, Julia Jackson-Clark, Walker Busby, Evan Prahm, Ryan Nelson-Flack and Gustavo Tagliari. Their 3857 points came to just 29 fewer than Woodcreek and the 3rd place podium.