2017 Race #2 Laguna Seca

(From Coach Steve, Sun Mar 5, 2017) We do a lot of riding. It takes a long time to build up the endurance to finish – and even more – to excel in a XC mountain biking race. So sometimes we get caught up in grinding out the miles to get our legs and lungs ready. But just like every sport, there is another component to mountain biking and that’s the mental game.
The mental part of the game is framing your obstacles as learning opportunities and not dwelling in frustration. It can be hard to watch another rider make a tough section but you can’t compare yourself to anyone other than yourself. Viewing each obstacle as a chance to challenge yourself and get better is just as important as giving yourself credit for failing at it. Learning to fail and get back up and try again is your fastest way to improve. I’ve covered the practice of “cleaning” an obstacle before — the habit of trying and retrying something until you’ve mastered it. Technical mountain biking can be likened to figuring out a puzzle. It can be any number of reasons that something is hard for you:
  • Do you see the line through the obstacle?
  • Are you applying enough power?
  • Do you have your timing down?
  • Can you lift your front wheel?
  • Are you shifting your weight at the right time?
  • Do you have traction?
  • What is your attitude toward the challenge?
Mastering your mental game will help you get in the right frame of mind to answer those questions

2017 Race #1 Fort Ord

2016 Race 1 Fort Ord

2014 Race #3: Return to East Garrison

JV Boys FinishThe Dawgs traveled back to East Garrison in Fort Ord for race three of the five race Norcal series. For this incarnation the course direction was reversed, and it became apparent even in the pre-ride that no one thought much of the new layout.

As Walker put it, “There was no real flow.” Never one to mince words, Julia summed it up nicely: “The uphills were boring and stupid and their only purpose was to lead up to pathetic downhills that slowed me down more than sped me up.”


The day started out with Varsity girls. Lauren got off to a bad start when a Redwood rider lost control in the sand and went over right in front of her. After disentangling herself, she hopped back on the bike but already the rest of the field was completely out of view. Meanwhile Julia was contending with the sandy corners and flow-less course on her own. Eventually the two joined up and worked together and, as usual finished together, coming in 10th and 11th.


In the Freshman Girls race, Jillian started off strong and mounted several attacks to move up in the race. Emily did not feel good about her first lap but pulled it together and started picking off the riders in front of her. Eventually the two girls rode together, until Emily got a gap on the lap 2 climb, and they finished 14th and 15th, both personal bests.

_JCO3357The Freshman Boys went out next. All of the racers either had call-ups or priority staging, so they started from a good place. Ryan came in 10th. Gustavo managed the maze-like and unpredictable course well through lap one, but went down on a turn in lap two, complete with a dropped chain, then had to fight his way back, passing several riders to grab another top-20 finish at 18th. Will came in 25th. Dylan Haldeman got a personal best on the tough, unrewarding course, pushing through a last lap low to power through the final hill section and pass about 5 riders to come in 28th.

Jake passEvery one of the JV Boys will tell you he had a bad day; a combination of fatigue, being uninspired by the course, and even confused by the feed zone’s unusual mid-lap position. Walker fought back after a slow start to get 16th. Ulysses felt like giving up but instead just hurried to get the pain over with, passing a lot of other riders who were even worse off to get 23rd. Jake was next in 29th. Evan had a tough time getting mentally into the race, commenting that the mid-lap feed zone made it difficult to get a sense of where you were in the course. He came in 30th. Similarly Linot had a tough time escaping all the senior year spring semester distractions on his mind – but it was his legs that ultimately gave out in lap 3. Never one to quit, he soldiered on through lap two and came in 34th.

Varsity BoysIn the Varsity Boys race, Seth got gapped right before the “climb” on lap one, and took a while to get sorted out into a proper chase group. After dipping back to 15th in lap 2, he stepped things up and eked out a 10th place finish by turning in the 5th fastest final lap of the day. Sam Weinstein also fought off fatigue and the inevitable midseason motivational slump to fight his way up from 15th to finish in 13th, with all manner of attacks and cramps and course boredom falling in between.

In the end Seth, Lauren, Julia, Sam, Walker, Ryan, Ulysses and Emily scored for the team, compiling 3857 points for a 5th place finish that left the team in 5th overall, a mere 3 points behind Tam. The Dawgs travel to a brand new course in the Petaluma hills on April 5, where there’s some real climbing in store for them.

Bike Dawgs 2014 Race #2, Granite Bay

Bike Dawgs_Granite Bay-4IMG_9457The 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.

Bike Dawgs_Granite Bay-10In 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.

Click here for more race photos.

Bike Dawgs Take 4th Place In 2014 Season Opener

Pit Area

February 26, 2014

The Bike Dawgs race team traveled to Monterey last weekend for their NorCal North Division season opener. They faced over 350 riders from 25 Northern California teams on the fast, twisty single track at Fort Ord’s East Garrison race course.

With a team made up of equal parts seasoned varsity/JV riders and untested freshmen, the Dawgs turned in epic performances over the course of the day, beating out much larger Division I teams to take 4th place on the strength of six top-10 finishes.

Lauren JJ

Julia and Lauren enjoying their race



Lauren Schulman and Julia Jackson Clark started off the day, grabbing 9th and 10th place in the girl’s 20-mile varsity race, and were the first contributors to the team’s eight allotted scoring finishes. Lauren and JJ rode together all four laps – so close together that they were not sure who crossed the finish line first.


Seth finish

Seth outsprints the competition at the finish



In the 25-mile boys’ varsity race, Seth Francis narrowly beat out a top Drake rider in a finish sprint for 7th place, with teammate Sam Weinstein close on their heels in 9th. Seth and Sam worked together for most of the race and each credited the other for helping him get through it.




Walker endures the pain cave.

Walker endures the pain cave.



Walker Busby churned out his 20 miles for a 10th place finish in JV. Walker did not have the luxury of working with a teammate, and was alone with his thoughts for the latter half of the race.
He was followed by fellow scorers Evan Prahm and Ulysses Lopez – who nabbed his first ever scoring finish.





With a jammed chain, Emily literally sprints to the finish

Ryan Start

Ryan fights for position in the Frosh boys start



Freshman Ryan Nelson-Flack turned in an 8th place finish in his first high school race to round out the Dawgs’ scoring.

Other highlights were freshman Emily Butler overcoming some final lap mechanical difficulty with a gutsy run to grab her 17th place finish, and Gustavo Tagliari coming in 15th in a competitive field of freshman riders.





The Bike Dawgs will continue their five-race Norcal series on March 8, when they travel to Granite Bay.

Sam sets the pace at the end of lap two

Sam sets the pace at the end of lap two


Evan finds some late race power to slide up a few spots


Uly digs in for a lap 2 surge

Will - wiped

Will takes a well-earned rest after his first race

2013 Race #5 – Boggs Mountain

The Bike Dawgs traveled to Boggs Mountain last weekend to compete against over 50 teams from all over Northern California in the NorCal mountain bike championship race.

Senior Annie Brow had the race of her career, storming through the rolling singletrack and grueling fire road climbs to take 3rd place in the Varsity Girls race, and securing a 3rd place overall finish for all of Northern California – the highest Varsity Girls’ placement yet in the seven-year history of mountain biking at SRHS. Sophomore Sam Weinstein also ended the day on the podium for the fifth time this season, coming in 4th in the race and securing 3rd place overall in the JV Boys category. Those results – plus strong finishes by Isabella Breen, Emily Laskin, Seth Francis, Walker Busby, Evan Prahm and Jake Becker – gave the Dawgs a 4th place team finish for the day and secured 5th place overall out of all high schools from Salinas north to the Oregon border.

Other strong overall finishers for the 2013 race series were Lauren Schulman, 10th place Varsity Girls; Seth Francis, 10th place Varsity Boys; Emily Laskin, 9th place JV girls; Walker Busby, 11th place JV boys; and Evan Prahm 16th Place JV boys.

The Bike Dawgs will compete one final time this season in the State Championship race at Stafford Lake in Novato on May 20th.

Jake Becker sprints through the dust on the starting fire road in the D1 Sophomore Boys race

2013 Race #3 – Granite Bay All-League Race

The SRHS Bike Dawgs traveled to Granite Bay on March 24 to compete against high school teams from all over Northern California in the first all-conference race of the 2013 season, racing 14-28 miles on the scenic single track skirting Folsom Lake. The races went off in three waves, starting with girls in the morning, moving on to sophomore and freshmen boys at noon, and ending with the fast-paced JV and Varsity Boys races in the afternoon. It was a tough day for the small Dawgs race team, with a key rider missing and crashes that left two riders unable to finish the race.

When the dust cleared, only one Dawgs rider reached the podium: sophomore Sam Weinstein, 4th place for JV Boys. Other team scorers were Annie Brow and Emily Lane for Varsity Girls, Julia Jackson-Clark and Emily Laskin for JV Girls, Seth Francis for Varsity Boys, Walker Busby for JV Boys and Jake Becker for Sophomore Boys. Those riders’ combined scores gave the Dawgs a 10th place team finish in Division 1 racing for the day, but left them within easy striking distance of 6th place for the series.


Sam Weinstein edges out a Nevada Union rider in the JV Boys race.

2013 Season Race #2 – Folsom Prison “Race Behind Bars”

The SRHS Bike Dawgs traveled to Folsom Prison on March 10 to compete against high school teams from all over Northern California in the first-ever high school “Race Behind Bars,” racing 12-24 miles on public and prison lands made up of fire break roads, sweeping single track on abandoned flume channels and through oak woodlands. The races went off in three waves, starting with Varsity Girls in the morning and ending with the marathon 24-mile Varsity Boys race in the afternoon. It was a good course for the varied talents of the small Dawgs team, with enough vertical ascent that our strong climbers could excel, and plenty of level straightaway for the sprinters to dominate as well.

At the end of the day, four Dawgs reached the podium: senior Isabella Breen, 5th place for Varsity Girls; sophomore Julia Jackson-Clark, 5th place for JV Girls; sophomore Sam Weinstein, 3rd place for JV Boys; and sophomore Jake Becker, 4th place for Sophomore Boys. Other team scorers were Annie Brow and Lauren Schulman for Varsity Girls, Seth Francis for Varsity Boys, and Walker Busby for JV Boys. Those riders’ combined scores gave the Dawgs a 3rd place team finish in Division 1 racing for the day. Combining that result with their 3rd place finish at Granite Bay two weeks before, the SR Bike Dawgs finished out the North Conference series in 3rd place out of all schools from Marin County north to the Oregon border.


Bike Dawgs take the podium twice at Folsom

2013 Race #1 – Granite Bay

The SRHS Bike Dawgs traveled to Folsom Lake last Sunday to compete against high school teams from all over Northern California in the Granite Bay Challenge, racing 12-24 miles on a course made up of twisting single-track, wide double track and rolling cross-country terrain. The races went off in three waves, starting with Varsity Girls in the morning and ending with the grueling 24-mile Varsity Boys race in the afternoon. In between, all of the Dawgs riders put in outstanding efforts, from sophomore Reed Caron, riding in his first race ever, to veteran senior Michael Magner, who turned in the best finish of his four year career.

At the end of the day, five Dawgs reached the podium: Seniors Annie Brow, 4th place, and Isabella Breen, 5th place, for Varsity Girls; sophomore Julia Jackson-Clark, 3rd place for JV Girls; sophomore Sam Weinstein, 3rd place for JV Boys; and sophomore Jake Becker, 5th place for Sophomore Boys. Other team scorers were Lauren Schulman for Varsity Girls, Emily Laskin for JV girls, and Seth Francis for Varsity Boys. Those scores contributed to a strong finish for the Dawgs, earning them a 4th Place team finish out of all the North Conference Division 1 schools from Marin County north to the Oregon border.

Lauren finishing her race in front of staged Sophomore Boys