2012 Race #4: Boggs Mountain Classic, Cobb, April 15, 2012

Bike Dawgs Survive River Of Mud To Grab 5th Place At Boggs Mountain

The Bike Dawgs traveled to Boggs Mountain near Clear Lake to race in the Boggs Mountain Classic on April 14.  At 3600 feet, the race site had been covered with snow just two days before the race. Our riders had not only the usual Boggs impediments to deal with – soul-killing climbs, 820’ of vertical per lap, fast fire road flats and descents, sleeping in tents – they also had several slick muddy patches to contend with, including the now notorious climb up a 100 foot river of mud.

Seth got on the podium with a first place finish, as did Lauren who finished third. Also scoring for the Dawgs were Bella , Clare , Emily Laskin, Jonny , Evan  and Sam, whose combined scores earned the Dawgs a very close 5th place finish and kept us in 4th place overall for the 2012 race series.





WAVE 1: Girls

The varsity girls started things off, accelerating into the half-mile fire road start. Our girls had some trouble getting momentum at first but Annie managed to regain her drive and confidence once she hit the single track. She found places to pass along the narrow stretches, and when other riders had to dismount, she pulled off a running bike mount to gap two other racers. She was our lead rider after lap one, and ended up with her best finish of the season in 13th place. While Annie’s love of twisty singletrack makes Boggs her favorite course, Emily Lane is not such a big fan. The slick muddy patches didn’t help much, and her head-first flight over the handlebars just made matters worse. Still, she got in her fair share of passes on the uphills. Because lap times were pushing too close to the wave 2 start, Emily only got to do two laps and got a 17th place finish. Bella was our top varsity girls finisher in 9th place.
With just two girls racing in the points-heavy JV girls category, the odds were already stacked against us. To make matters worse, Clare forgot her lucky socks. In spite of that she fought a pitched battle against riders from Woodcreek, Albany and Drake throughout the entire race, employed strong mental skills to keep her cadence up, and apparently fought off mythical beasts along the trail to secure a 6th place finish. Her counterpart, Emily Laskin, was a bit intimidated by the course and was resigned to not doing well. That was all well and good until she inconveniently found herself to be actually doing well and had to make some mid-race adjustments, such as powering up the hill climbs to leave a Drake rider in the dust. Or mud. Emily grabbed 9th place, improving her position by 3 spots compared to last year.


Lauren, still sporting the sophomore girls leaders jersey, led the pack out on the fire road start. Apparently several other riders were determined to get to the hole shot first, so Lauren had to sprint for a half mile to stay in contention. When the trail widened out she and two other riders separated into a lead pack, until Lauren lost her chain late in the 1st lap. She was able to make the time back and catch 2nd place at the start of lap two, but that exertion and a 2nd lap spill put her into 3rd place which she held throughout the rest of the race, earning her fourth top three finish of the season.  Thalia, 9th after lap one, held that position to finish 9th.


The final race of wave 1 was the freshmen girls. While we thought Julia would not be attending the race, she apparently had 2nd thoughts, stepping off the plane from Hawaii late the night before and hopping in the car in the wee hours to come race. She pre-rode the course just minutes before staging, and lined up at the start wondering what she’d gotten herself into. It was tough going in lap one between skidding out on muddy roots and tackling the extended fire road climb, but she got through lap one in 8th place and held that for the rest of the race, shaking off an all-too-public face plant on the final corner to pull off a powerful sprint to the finish. Jenna woke up with a fever and “felt like crap” during the race, getting knocked off her bike on the mud river and ending up with daubs of mud war paint on her face. She soldiered on and finished the race in 16th.


WAVE 2: Sophomore and Freshmen Boys

Wave 2 started with sophomore boys, with Seth, Evan and Walker earning call-ups. Seth, 3rd overall, got to start in the front row. The half mile fire road was taken in what he characterized as a civilized pace, and he was able to shoot into the hole shot in 1st place and control the tempo. This resulted in a four man lead pack, with different riders taking the lead at different times. It then became a race of attrition, and by the end of lap 3 just Seth and San Ramon’s Alec Pasqualina remained out in front. Seth beat Alec to the final corner by half a bike length, then got boxed in trying to pass a freshmen racer, and had to sprint with all he had to keep his lead, which the results say was 4 seconds but seemed a lot closer than that. Evan started strong as well, in the 2nd pack behind the lead. Riding one of the Mike’s loaner bikes, he was at a bit of a disadvantage, but pushed himself up into 8th place after lap one, edging up to 7th after lap two. Then things started to go wrong on lap three, knocking him back 5 spots early in the lap, but he buckled down and held his position to finish 12th.  Walker had a good start and worked his way up to 14th, but started losing energy and focus, slipping to 18th after lap two. He fought hard to keep that position and did so, finishing 18th. Linot took ill shortly before the race, and did not think he was up for three laps but went out anyhow to do as much as he could. His grit and determination took over and he refused to quit, and hung on to finish 42ndin a field of 62.

Sam and Alec got called up in the freshmen race, but had decidedly different experiences. Sam hit the hole shot in 6th, and got through lap one in 10th place.  On lap two, he passed a Trojans rider, and held off a Marin Catholic rider with a well-timed late pass and a strong sprint to the finish to take 9th place, his 4th top ten finish of the season. Alec had a miserable race, dropping his chain 10 separate times to come in 36th.  Ulysses had a difficult time with the climbs, but loved the singletrack descents, grabbing his best finish of the season so far. Noah, 23rd after lap one, finished 25th.



WAVE 3 – Varsity and JV Boys

Jonny, our only varsity rider, was lucky to get a position in the 3rd row, allowing him to avoid the massive crash at the beginning of the race.  Sprinting all the uphills and conserving energy on the downhills, he was feeling tired by the second lap.  But he found a groove in the third lap, passing riders on every downhill. At the start of lap four he realized he was in 19th place and decided to keep that position.  He did that by passing as many JV riders as he could, putting as much trail friction as possible between him and 20th place.  And it worked, earning him his best finish of the season so far.

Stacey earned himself a top 20 call-up, and got to the hole shot in around 25th place on lap one. But he had a hard race, with the congested trails and his fork stuck in the locked position, falling into the mid 30s early but hanging on and even coming back a couple of spots to finish 34th. Ross had a big crash at the start, but fed off the crowd’s encouragement to get back on the bike and race anyhow. Still, he was able to finish only two of his three laps before having to pull himself. Michael had a frustrating race, with his seatpost clamp falling apart at the starting line. He tried riding the whole course out of the saddle, but it was not possible, and he pulled himself after lap 1. Jake was 43rd after lap one, edged up to 36th after two, and finished 38th.

2012 Race #2: Central Coast Classic, East Garrison, March 18, 2012

Central Coast Classic 3/18/12
Coach’s Report

After four days of waiting, the race results – with the first mention of team results – finally came in on the Thursday after the race. The Bike Dawgs took 5th place, with 3721 points, behind Salinas, Redwood, Drake, and the Trojans. This puts us in 4th place overall. This is exactly where we were last season. The big difference is that last season we were 4th place and 754 points behind 1st. Now we’re 4th place and only 148 points behind 1st. So anything can happen at this point.

It was a challenging race, from the 40 degree temperatures and the wind-driven hail at the girl’s start to the ever-deepening mud pits on the south side of the course that the boys got the worst of.  By mid-day all of nearby Mount Toro was dusted with snow. As I said last time, you are not regular people. Regular people don’t even go outside in that kind of weather.



While several of our racers didn’t have their best races, there were still some standout performances. Emily Lane turned in a great race.  She was sick, and feeling miserable at staging, and decided just to go really hard – so if she had to DNF she’d know she went down swinging. I guess she forgot to stop going really hard, because she moved up an incredible 7 places to finish 11th in the very competitive varsity girls category. Annie, who also didn’t have the brightest outlook at the start, came to life on lap 4 and managed to move up a spot to 13th. Emily Laskin had an 8th place finish in the JV girls category, up from 11th place last race, and is a shining example of how race visualization and a positive mental outlook can pay off.


For standout boys, Evan leapt up 18 places to finish 10th in the crowded sophomore D1 category, shedding some light on the key to doing well on this course with his excellent handling skills and ability to pump speed through the corners. Walker jumped to a 17th place finish from 31st at Granite Bay. Linot edged up 8 places in a race-long clash with two other riders. Stacey had one of his best races, making effective use of the double track to pass other riders, and moving up 9 spots to take a hard-earned 24th place in the 70-rider JV category. Ulysses focused on pacing himself and came in 7 places ahead of his last race, crossing the finish line with one of the biggest smiles I’ve seen in awhile.


We also had some consistency. Bella (8th – varsity) and Nicole (4th – JV) had strong races, coming in very nearly exactly where they came in at Granite Bay. Both Bella and Nicole were passed mid-race by hometown Salinas riders, and managed to fight back and re-gain those positions by the end of the race. Alec Bell matched his Granite Bay placement with a big sprint on his final lap, making some key passes then holding off a Redwood rider to grab 18th place in freshmen boys.


A few riders had tough first laps, but stepped up their efforts to finish strong. Lauren survived an early crash, which took her from a few seconds out of 1st back to 3rd, and had to battle through with twisted handlebars and spotty shifting to maintain that position. Jenna did some nifty passing to grab 11th place in freshmen girls. Seth (8th – soph boys) and Sam (10th – frosh boys) lost ground in the start but buckled down early and held position and made some gains for strong finishes. Seth gives some credit for his lap 2 surge, where he methodically picked off 4 riders, in part to Dave Curtis’ trailside cheerleading. Keep it up Dave. In varsity boys, Jonny went out strong, pulling off an epic 8-rider pass on the long uphill, but had some tough luck on his 4th lap (of 5) and got 31st. Noah Kravetz, who seems to prefer ice and snow over sticky mud, came in 21st for freshmen boys.


And anyone who thinks they had a really bad day owes an apology to Julia, who had a scary crash in her first lap that took her bike, and therefore her, out of the race for good. Luckily she was not badly hurt, and is determined to come back strong in the next race.


Our scorers for the day were Nicole, Bella, Lauren, Emily Lane, Emily Laskin, Annie, Seth and Evan/Sam (who had the same score). Nicole and Lauren got on the podium, with Lauren taking possession of the leader’s jersey for sophomore girls. Our scorer average was 454.6, down from 477.6 last race. But our team average went up, from 390.6 to 397.9, which is a good sign for the future.


Some more stats:

Most enthusiastic finish: Ulysses Lopez

Most improved girl: Emily Lane (18 places)

Most improved boy: Evan Prahm (7 places)

Fastest lap by a girl: Isabella Breen (0:23:40)

Fastest lap by a boy: Jonathan Kaufman (0:19:51)

Most opponents defeated, girl: Nicole McGovern (22)

Most opponents defeated, boy: Seth Francis (60)

Largest percentage of field defeated, girl: Lauren Schulman (88.2%)

Largest percentage of field defeated, boy: Seth Francis (89.6%)

Most consistent lap times, girl: Emily Laskin (5 seconds apart)

Most consistent lap times, boy: Evan Prahm (7 seconds apart)

Most riders passed between laps, girl: Emily Lane (3)

Most riders passed between laps, boy: Evan Prahm (6)

Biggest time gain between laps, girl: Emily Lane (3rd lap 44 seconds faster than 2nd)

Biggest time gain between laps, boy: Linot Vierke (3rd lap 52 seconds faster than 2nd)

Photos courtesy Ian Billings/El Cerrito

Race #6: California State Championships, Los Olivos, CA, May 15, 2011

On  the weekend of May 14, 2011, 19 of our 21 riders made the long trek down to Los Olivos to square off against our NorCal and SoCal rivals in the California State Championships. We’d earned a berth in the championships by placing 4th overall for division 1 in the NorCal league.

We arrived at the venue on Saturday afternoon. The parking, pit and staging areas were situated in a large, flat valley, with Firestone vineyards to the west and a series of low, rolling hills to the east. The race course was laid out in these hills. The start twisted through the pit area before heading off north on a long straightaway, through a creek bed with water running in it, then climbed gradually till it veered east into the hills. There were a couple of short steep climbs that forced a number of riders off their bikes, but other than that it was pretty straightforward. The single track course worked its way up the northern hill to the eastern perimeter road, before snaking its way back down again. From there it headed east on a fire road climb, which gave way to a single track climb, then wound down once again to the valley floor, finishing with a very long flat run back to the pit area, with another dip through the creek bed, then on past the finish line.

The course was generally disliked by all, with the exception of Jonny and Emily Laskin. The kids thought it was boring, and the almost constant hard washboard surface was teeth-jarring and unpleasant. Plus, other than the two climbs in the middle of the course, there were no places to pass. By race day, though, it had improved somewhat. Some light rain came through early in the morning, softening and flattening out the trail.

Our first racer of the day was Bella, in a JV field of 25 riders. She got a seeded start, and rounded the first corner in the front third of the pack, heading off towards the creek bed and out of view. When we next saw her she was fording the creek once again to complete lap one, in 7th place but just a short distance behind the 5th and 6th place riders. When she came around again for the finish, she’d moved up to 5th, finishing just 8 seconds behind 4th and 15 seconds out of 3rd, earning another trip to the podium.

For the sophomore girls, our five riders didn’t have particularly great starts. They came through in the middle to rear of the pack, which meant that their work was cut out for them, with the limited opportunities for passing and the potential for pile-ups on the first set of climbs. But when they came through after lap one, Emily Lane had somehow worked her way up to 4th, followed by Annie in 5th, then we saw Clare in 11th, Emily Laskin in 16th, and Linnea in 18th. And on the second lap, nearly everyone moved up, with Annie finishing 3rd, Emily Lane in 5th, Clare and Emily Laskin in 12th and 13th, and Linnea in 17th.

For the freshman girls, Nicole had a pretty good start, but she had a bit more competition with the SoCal leader thrown into the mix, and her TL rival decided to sprint the start, getting way out in front early. Thalia and Lauren came through in the middle of the pack, and they all headed out into the distance. After lap one, they came back through with Nicole in 5th, just a short distance behind 4th, then Lauren was 12th and Thalia 14th. But they kept at it on lap two, with Nicole passing a Nevada Union rider to take 4th, and Lauren and Thalia moving up into 11th and 12th.

The next wave began with our sophomore boys. Max had a seeded start and had a decent position going into the straightaway in front of the field of 48 riders. Ross, Jake and Michael were though next, in the middle of the pack, off on their first of three laps. After lap one, Max was in 17th, Ross in 21st, Jake in 35th and Michael in 43rd. Somewhere on lap two Ross developed trouble with his rear derailleur. Max finished lap two in 11th, having moved up an impressive 6 spots, Jake moved up to 32nd, Michael was pulled for time at 42nd, and Ross limped on his gearless bike, done for the day. Max finished the race in 9th, having passed a Tam and Redwood rider to get there, and Jake moved up four positions to finish 28th.

For freshman boys, Seth got a seeded start and was up near the front of the pack heading into the straightaway, somewhere in the front 15 out of 60 riders. Evan, Linot and Walker came through near the middle, but shortly after passing through, a San Ramon rider slid out beside Walker, causing him to go down. He was not hurt, and dusted himself off and got back on the bike, but by that point he was dead last. Seth came through to finish lap one in 9th, with San Ramon’s Shane Trento right on his tail. Evan and Linot were 32nd and 38th, Walker had done some passing and moved himself up nine spots to 51st. Out on lap two, Seth was overtaken by Shane, but managed to pass two strong riders from Drake and Salinas to finish 8th. Evan and Linot each moved up a spot to 31st and 37th, and Walker had yet another fall that pushed him back to 52nd.

For JV boys, Jonny was once again taking on Drake’s Lucas Newcomb and Tam’s Skyler Taylor, along with the SoCal leader Joel Turner. His story follows this entry, below, and I don’t want to give away the ending. Our other JV rider, Stacey, got out in the middle of the pack of 48, got through lap one in 30th, riding just in front of a pair of Berkeley High riders. He was still with them on lap two, though they’d moved slightly ahead, and he rounded out lap 3 to finish 32nd. And that was the end of our race day.

We got five riders on the podium, and, using SoCal rules, our top seven riders scored. Those were, in descending order of points scored, Jonny, Bella, Annie, Nicole, Emily Lane, Seth and Max. They combined for a total of 3266 points, enough to earn us 3rd place, putting the team on the podium for the first time this season, at the State Championship when it really counted. Way to go, everyone! It was a great team effort, we had a lot of depth back there in the ranks, and our awesome team spirit and camaraderie really propelled the Bike Dawgs up to the front.

Congratulations on your 3rd place finish, on all your personal achievements both in this race and all the previous races, and on a really fun and rewarding season.  I look forward to riding with you all next season!

Coach Jon

Race #6: California State Championships, Los Olivos, CA, May 15, 2011

Rider: Jonny Kaufman
JV Boys D1 (~48)
Result: 2nd

Coming into this race, I was less nervous than I had expected.  I was actually extremely excited to go out there and give it all I had.  Overall, almost everyone I talked to did not like the course one bit.  However, I really enjoyed the fast descents with all of the braking bumps.  This course was designed for a skilled rider and I expected it to be incredibly strenuous on my body throughout the race.  Knowing this, the night before, I loosened up my suspension and tuned my bike.  I got a good night’s rest and hydrated thoroughly.  The day of, I slept in and ate substantially up to my race.  I was feeling great and I was ready to go out and ride!
Having a front row position and a neutral start really helped me get in lead of the pack.  I was the first rider to the single-track and I pushed the first climb.  I then pedaled my way down the first and very fun descent, and then threw in some surges on the fire road, maintaining my position.  On the second climb, however, Lucas and Skylar Taylor (Tam) passed me.  I maintained a strong pace behind them and we started to gap from the fourth place So-Cal leader.  Coming through the finish he caught up, and us four pushed it through as the announcers discussed our tight positioning.
On the beginning of the second lap, I followed Lucas as we headed to the first climb once again.   He started to gain a little space on me, as well as Skylar, who passed right after one of the switchbacks.  I pushed the downhill as fast as I could, which didn’t make up much time on them.  As I made it on the fire road, I saw them about 200 feet ahead of me and there was nobody in my sight behind me.  I threw in a strong pace on the next climb and caught right back up to Skylar’s tail. Lucas led us down the final descent of that lap and we headed through the finish as a tight pack once again.
I pulled in front at the beginning of the last lap, and rode with confidence up to the steep climb.  This is where they once again passed, and gained on me.  I struggled to keep up but my legs were not on my side.  All alone, once again, I shredded the downhill and rode the best I could up the fire road and final climb.  I threw in another strong descent and surged my way on the flat single-track towards the finishing area.  Coming around the second to last turn, I saw Skylar running with his bike and could not believe it.  I sprinted around the last turn and straight away and finished in 2nd place! I was thrilled!
Afterwards, I congratulated Lucas and checked up on Skylar, making sure he was okay after his upsetting fall.  I was stoked on my finish and was really happy for Lucas also.  Coming into this race with a positive attitude really paid off for me, and I definitely learned that a race is never over until it is completely over.  Standing on the podium felt great, and I cannot wait until Nationals.  Great job to Lucas and everyone else out there!


Race #5, Boggs Mountain Classic, Cobb, California, May 1, 2011

We pulled into the Boggs campground at noon on Saturday under tall pines and beautiful sunny skies to find our epic campsite nestled in a far corner of the camping area, right alongside the starting fire road of the race course. David Horton, Dave Curtis and Armando Quintero had all arrived on Friday to scout out the premium spot, and had set up all the team tents as well.

We set up our tents and unpacked our bikes and were out on the course within an hour. It was a smooth course, narrow in spots, a lot like B17 trail in Tamarancho with a little bit of JT Howell thrown in and even some China Camp similarities. Nothing too technical, although you had to maintain a focused line to get the best path through what few rocks there were. Also, all the climbing was bunched up in the middle, starting with an extended fire road climb that we could tell would be a real challenge the next day when the temperature was slated to be 10º hotter. This gave way to single track climbing, with a few false peaks to get your hopes up, finally giving way to a mostly single track downhill to the finish, with very few opportunities for passing along the way. There were a few sharp turns in the mix, where a fire road descent led into a blind hole shot, usually with a sudden uphill. Also, one twisty S-turn near the end that caused a few problems. Everyone I talked to had a great pre-ride and for the most part enjoyed the course.

I’m of course a bit biased, but I must say we had the best camp of all. No motor homes for one thing, with all their noise and smelly exhaust. We had an awesome dinner from Scoma’s, with penne and meat sauce or pesto, salad, tons of fresh French bread, and some delicious spicy prawns thrown in to top it off. There were even kids from other teams lined up in our food line. In retrospect, maybe the s’mores were a mistake for the racers, especially the 4th or 5th one…

Before dinner though, we had an amazing show of dedication to bike maintenance when nearly every kid was out there at the bike stands, cleaning, lubing and checking over each others’ bikes, and dialing in the perfect tire pressure. It’s no coincidence that on race day we had almost no mechanical issues.

Race day dawned sunny and warm, and our breakfast crew turned out a batch of breakfast burritos which are some sort of Bogg’s tradition. Although maybe not a great one for the riders, as it was probably a big deviation from everyone’s traditional race day fare, and as things turned out, some of them were left out on the trail.

This was our first race since the prologue where every one of our riders was present. And at 9:45 all our girls headed out to staging. Because of missed races, a lot of the girls did not have high enough overall rankings to be seeded, so start positions were not great. I watched the girls’ start from the trail above our camp, and when they flew by us at the ¼ mile mark, Bella was well back in the pack of JV girls, maybe 12th, and our sophomore girls had a bad start, with Clare the front runner somewhere around 10th and everyone else bringing up the rear. The one exception was the freshmen girls start, in which Nicole, who’d been fretting about that long fire road start all morning (and the night before?) got out of the saddle and hammered past every single rider, surging in front of the formidable Amanda Winne just as she passed our cheering section. I’m told she held onto that lead for half a lap, all the way to the first fire road climb.

While the girls were out navigating the wilderness, we got the sophomore and freshmen boys ready to roll, then hiked up to the trail head once more to check up on the girls. Bella was through first, in a pack of three JV girls, battling it out for 6th place. Next through was Annie, who had managed to work her way up to 2nd place, and was 30 seconds behind the 1st place rider from El Cerrito. Then we had Emily Lane, riding sick and pumped full of Theraflu, solidly in 5th place with Clare just three seconds back in 6th. Emily Laskin came through a bit later in 11th, chasing down a group of three Drake girls. At about the same time, Nicole came by, the 2nd place freshman girl, well ahead of the 3rd place rider. Thalia was next in 7th place, trying to close a 30 second gap between her and the Woodcreek rider in front of her. Then came Lauren, in 11th with another Woodcreek rider on her tail. Linnea never appeared – we soon found out she had pulled herself out of the race with knee pain.

We got the Wave 2 boys out to staging and headed over to watch the girls’ finish. Most of the lap one results held for the final lap, with Bella coming in 7th. She did cop to taking a wrong turn out on the course, which slowed her down a bit but not enough to lose a position. The first place sophomore girl came through, and we waited for Annie to appear, which she did, about a minute later, with a scraped up and bleeding right leg. She’d hit a tree, I believe in the tight S-turn on the final single track descent. Then Emily Lane came through alone in 5th place. Our next finisher was Nicole, taking 2nd in freshmen for the very first time, with a huge lead of over two minutes over her nemesis from TL. Clare followed a minute or so later, the 6th place sophomore. Emily Laskin came through in 12th place for sophomores, then we had our final two freshmen – Thalia, who’d passed that Woodcreek rider to take 6th, edging her out by 10 seconds, and Lauren, in 12th place.

The sophomore boys roared passed camp at 11:41, with Max leading our guys but pretty far back in the large pack. Frosh boys were next with Seth up in the front ten, having benefited from a seeded start, with Walker, Evan and Linot powering by in the middle of the pack. The always-grinning Rew pedaled by later, back there with the sweep – but not for long.

While the JV boys were getting themselves ready to go, we headed up to the trail once again to see how our Soph/Frosh boys were doing. The lead pack of Soph boys went past on lap one of three, and it was awhile before we saw our first rider, Max, in 13th place but looking strong and accelerating by to grab 11th place right there in front of us. Ross came by next in 18th, followed by Michael in 25th. We didn’t see Jake, but soon discovered he’d had a bad asthma attack on the fire road uphill and was on oxygen up in the EMT tent.

Seth was the first freshman to go by, in 8th place, 10 seconds behind a Salinas rider and just 4 seconds in front of a Redwood rider.  Next we had Walker, officially in 21st but battling it out with a Branson and a San Ramon rider for 19th place. Evan and Linot were next, riding together in 28th and 29th, and Rew had moved up a couple of spots into 45th (of 47).

We headed over to the finish line to watch the sophomores complete lap two and the freshmen finish. Always one to put on a good show, Max managed to pass from 10th into 9th place right in front of us, smiling and giving the “hang loose” sign to all his admirers. Ross came by in 19th, and Michael had fallen much farther back with some mechanical trouble.

The freshman finishers started to come in, and Seth had held onto 8th, still bracketed by the same riders. Apparently all three had been held up on the trail by some D2 sophomores who would not let them pass on the single track, allowing the 4th though 6th place riders to open up a big gap. Walker, it turned out, had won his battle for 19th and slid up another spot to take 18th. Linot and Evan had managed to stay together, in 28th and 29th but now with Linot slightly out in front. Rew also moved up a couple of spots to finish 43rd.

For the sophomore finish, Max once again gave us a show by taking 8th place in a photo finish. Ross held on to 19th and Michael had to drop out with mechanical trouble.

By the time the JV boys took off it had topped 70º, and the dust was everywhere. Jonny sped by at the head of the pack, and held onto that lead all the way through lap one, flying by in a pack of three with Lucas Newcomb and a new kid from Tam in tow (Jonny’s full race report will follow). Stacey was in the middle of a pack of about 13 riders battling for 22nd while trying to not get pushed back to 35th, and Danny followed in 41st.

When they came by again after lap two, things had opened up a bit, with Jonny in 3rd, just 20 seconds out of 2nd but a long way in front of 4th. Stacey had stayed in the middle front of that group and was alone in 27th, and Danny was still in 41st.

On the 3rd and final lap, the field had opened up even more, with Jonny an easy 3rd, Stacey in 29th, and Danny edging out a challenger at the very end to take 40th.

In the end we got Jonny, Annie, Emily Lane and Nicole up on the podium. We also had a little surprise with the overall awards, where those four plus Thalia (5th overall) and Seth (9th overall) got awards. Our league volunteers got awards as well, for volunteering at four or more races. It was nice for them to get some recognition, and I’m pretty sure our team had the most people out there. Also, it was great to see all the “I Ride for Vanessa Hauswald” stickers on our team bikes.

Our team score was 3706 (scorers listed below), enough to get us 4th place and to push us up into 4th place overall, which is very respectable given that 19 of our 21 kids are freshmen and sophomores, so while there were, as always, a few disappointments, overall the team had a really good day, and certainly everyone on the team put in a monumental effort.

Dawgs scorers, Boggs Mountain Classic, May 1, 2011

PLC NAME (Plate #) TIME PTS 1 2 3 CAT
3 Jonathan Kaufman 1:21:43 506 0:26:15 0:27:15 0:28:13 JV Boys D1
2 Annie Brow 1:15:44 485 0:37:14 0:38:30 Soph Girls
2 Nicole McGovern 1:16:55 485 0:37:00 0:39:55 Frosh Girls
7 Isabella Breen 1:14:24 473 0:36:46 0:37:38 JV Girls
5 Emily Lane 1:19:40 444 0:39:52 0:39:48 Soph Girls
8 Seth Francis 1:03:21 441 0:31:02 0:32:19 Frosh Boys D1
8 Max Zelikovsky 1:37:06 441 0:31:38 0:32:08 0:33:20 Soph Boys D1
6 Clare Brosnan (tie) 1:21:23 431 0:39:55 0:41:28 Soph Girls
6 Thalia Torres (tie) 1:27:13 431 0:42:45 0:44:28 Frosh Girls
3706 score


Race #4: Laguna Seca Grand Prix, Monterey, CA, April 10, 2011

The race weekend got off to kind of a shaky start as soon as we arrived for the pre-ride. We stepped out of the car into chilly 40 mph winds, which made it difficult to even find a place to lean the bikes while we changed. And we were parked right where our pit would be the next day, with all those tents that could soon turn into sails.

We got our two pre-ride laps in despite having to lean so far into the wind just to stay on course. It was a very fast course, with several extended single-track descents, some of them extremely narrow – just six or eight inches wide. There were a number of off-camber washboard corners in those descents, and I was a little concerned for some of our less-experienced girl riders who aren’t really big fans of excessive speed. Then, there were some climbs for a change, including a fairly steep one near the end of the course, that was sure to force a few people to get off and walk. I was interested to see how our team would do on this course, as it had a little something for everyone.

It was a bit testosterone heavy at the team dinner, as all the Lady Dawgs had apparently abandoned us for a better offer. It turned out to be their loss, as they missed an amazing ukulele version of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” that Max dedicated to Ross, which had us all laughing pretty hard and triggered a massive restaurant-wide singalong for the “I Love You Baby” part.

Race day dawned sunny and relatively wind free, which was nice, but the mood soured a bit when we learned that Annie had woken up feeling miserable and with a high fever and would not be able to ride, so fully half of our girls would be missing. Since there were some pretty high scorers in that group, it was already clear that our hopes to pass Redwood and San Ramon and move into 3rd place were pretty much doomed, and we would instead be battling to hang on to 5th.

But what can you do? In the pit of my despair, the Breen-Quintero ladies showed up with a latte with my name on it, which improved my outlook immeasurably.  A couple of gulps into that I looked around at the 18 eager and dedicated riders who were there (well, some didn’t look so eager, to be honest), and who were ready to race their best races ever, and realized that’s what really mattered, and it was time to get down to business. So we did.

We began with JV Girls. Bella rocketed out of the start, and quickly got ahead of the pack, played a bit of cat and mouse with the 3rd place rider, and finished 4th, not far behind 3rd, earning her first trip to the podium in the JV category.

Emily Lane led our Sophomore Girls out, and went on to use her strong climbing skills and stamina to push for a 2nd place finish, just 23 seconds behind the 1st place place finisher, who she’d been gaining on the whole second lap .

Clare was 9th, losing a lot of ground when another rider forced her off her bike early in the 1st lap, and Linnea came in 11th, still trying to overcome the knee pain that’s been hounding her.

Then Thalia, our lone Freshman girl, staved off her loneliness by simply finishing her race faster. She had a Nevada Union girl right on her tail when she finished lap 1, but managed to open up a 4 minute gap on lap 2 (due to superior conditioning, no doubt), earning herself a trip to the podium for 5th place.

For the Wave 2 start I hiked up to top of the first climb and waited for the Soph and Frosh boys to appear around the corner. After which I walked along the ridge, where you could see the whole back side of the course, and the packs of riders in various spots along it as they worked their way up and down the rolling hills through the tall grass. It was a stunning view from up there (insert photo of stunning vista here). I ended up over near the end of the course, at the top of the last steep climb, where I could watch the most difficult part of the course.

Now, the Sophomore boys will be the first to admit that they’re not fans of climbing, but they got the job done anyhow, with Ross and Max leading our guys in 14th and 15th place. That’s a 5-place leap for Ross (and he definitely earned it, as he’s logged more rides and pushed himself more than anyone else in that group).

We were happy to have EJ back racing, who came in 21st, and Jake also improved, moving up 3 spots to 23rd. Michael was enjoying his ride but had to (got to?) skip his 3rd lap to make way for the Varsity start.


The Freshman boys, who are a bit odd in that they claim to enjoy climbing, climbed well, with Seth moving up to 7th place (you can read his own report below), Walker jumping up 8 spots to 13th, and Linot and Evan not far back in 20th and 22nd. Rew was doing great but got pulled before lap 3 to make way for the Varsity start. Apparently the laps were taking everyone longer then the league had anticipated.



In the JV Boys race, Jonny did what Jonny always does, which is go on a crazy fast and exciting ride, which ultimately puts him on the podium. In this case, in 2nd place. (Jonny’s report follows further down the blog). Stacey also stepped up with a 19th place finish (bee-free this race, although there were plenty of them out there), and Danny moved up 6 spots to take 37th.

In the end, almost everyone who rode the race improved. And they didn’t just improve in a vacuum – for every spot they moved up, other riders on other teams were pushed back to make way for them. We proved that we had  depth, and even with two of our regular podium riders missing, others stepped up to fill in the gaps, and we put the same number of riders on the podium as in our last two races – four.

Congratulations and thanks to our Race 4 scorers listed below (with podium finishers in bold):

2 Jonathan Kaufman (230) 3 0:57:22 515 48
2 Emily Lane (413) 2 0:50:57 485 14
4 Isabella Breen (128) 3 1:14:56 482 17
7 Seth Francis (820) 3 1:06:49 448 51
5 Thalia Torres (715) 2 0:59:12 444 15
13 Walker Busby (821) 3 1:11:35 408 51
14 Ross van der Wal (524) 3 1:10:08 402 39
19 Stacey Longtin-Horton (229) 3 1:06:06 400 48

Which brings us to team results. San Ramon and Redwood were just too much to take on shorthanded, and the virtual three-way tie for 3rd we’d had after race 3 evaporated. Redwood took 3rd place by a 131-point margin, and San Ramon was 4th, beating us by 36 points. We took 5th, and remained in 5th place overall, with a fairly big gap to overcome if we want to improve on that number. We can still catch San Ramon, but we’ll need full participation to do it. So… GO DAWGS!

Coach Jon

Race #4: Laguna Seca Grand Prix, Monterey, CA, April 10, 2011

Rider: Seth Francis
Freshman Boys D1 (51)
Result: 7th

At staging, Evan, Linot, Walker and I lined up early to get good starting positions. When call-ups started I was 10th overall, but the lanes were 4 wide, so I ended up being the only seeded rider in the 3rd row. When the rest of the field moved up I was happy to see I was still next to Evan and Linot, and Walker wasn’t far behind.

At the start, the top 8 separated immediately from the rest of the pack, and I sprinted madly to close the gap, and worked my way up to 6th by the top of the first climb. A couple of Drake riders passed me on the first downhill, but I passed one of them on the next uphill and then passed another rider later on to re-gain 6th. I slid out on the sandy turn right before the last uphill and lost control and jammed my knee into the stem, which kind of hurt. I was also surprised by how difficult the last steep uphill was at race pace.

By the start of the 2nd lap, I’d lost sight of the 5th place rider, and Shane Trento, a San Ramon rider, was matching my pace, riding close behind. Shane and I had opened a gap between us and whoever was in 8th, which we were able to maintain throughout the rest of the race. For the whole 2nd lap, I kept trying to open a gap in front of Shane, but wasn’t able to keep one, between all the D2 Sophomore boys I’d have to slow down to pass and Shane’s determination to stay with me. At the top of the last steep climb, the coach yelled out that I was in 6th, and just 20 seconds back from 5th, and I realized I’d had the 5th place rider in view for that whole last climb.

I kept him in sight for the start of lap 3, but he lost me on the first downhill and that was the last I saw him. While I was chasing 5th, I managed to build a gap in front of Shane, but he caught back up to me on the cliff-hugging washboard section later on. We stayed close until the top of the climb past the mandatory dismount, at which point he made his move and his tire kicked a stick up into my rear derailleur at the same time, which was a double slap in the face. I was conflicted whether to stop and take it out or keep going and not be able to shift, but I kept going and eventually got it out by trying to shift over and over. At that point I was on the downhill, but Shane was slowly opening up more of a gap as he’s a bigger kid and I just couldn’t descend as fast as him. I chased him up the following hills, gaining on him slowly, but didn’t have enough left in me to close the gap. On the final uphill, Shane got through in time to take the clean line but by the time I got there a couple of other slower riders were in the way so I had to take the bumpy left side, which slowed me down and tired me out even more. At the top, I tried to close the gap before the final descent and got closer but he had too much of a lead, and in the end I came in 7th, 14 seconds behind Shane and 31 seconds behind 5th. Even though I lost the battle with Shane, I felt that I’d done all I could and was happy with the 7th place finish.

Race #4: Laguna Seca Grand Prix, Monterey, CA, April 10, 2011

Rider: Jonny Kaufman
JV Boys D1 (48)
Result: 2nd

Coming into this race I felt confident with getting a top 5 finish; however, I was a little nervous because I just came off of a minor sore throat and cold towards the beginning of the weekend.  I felt much better on the day of the pre-ride though, and I liked how the track was much more challenging than others in the past races.  That night I ate a lot of carbs and went to bed at an early hour.  While doing my warm up surges with Lucas up and down a nearby hill, I heard the announcer say the JV was now only doing 3 laps instead of 4, and that the start time was delayed by 15 minutes.  Knowing this, we went back to our tents for a bit, and then continued to warm up again.  We made it to the staging about 5 minutes before call-ups and we both got good positions in the front row.

The start went off quick, but I pushed up the hill and got ahead of everybody before the single track.  Lucas followed me through the descent, and about 10 others closely followed us.  As we made it to the mandatory dismount at the bottom of the downhill, my clip seemed stuck and I struggled to get off.  Luckily, I hurried, got back on my bike, and headed off towards the climbing in first place.  However, Lucas had a little more difficulty and landed in about seventh.  After climbing all the way up the single track, Lucas caught up to me and I drafted him along the final fire road.

As we passed through the finish of our first lap, I pulled ahead of Lucas on the uphill, and once again, led the descent.  After realizing how tired my legs were, I figured that I was holding him up so I allowed him to pass at a good point.  He let go on the downhill while I stayed back a bit and regained my energy.  About 5 other rides were following me as we made it to the bottom.  I had an excellent dismount and got back on my bike faster than ever, which helped me get closer to Lucas.  I surged up one little hill and came up right on his tail.  After much more climbing, Lucas attacked on the final steep hill.  He got about 15 seconds ahead of me and then bolted down the road.  I followed him and was about 30 seconds back coming through the finish of our second lap.

I surged up the road and pushed up the short single track climb.  Lucas was in my sight, only about 5-10 seconds ahead of me.  Coming into the descent; however, my legs were not on my side, and I was unable to keep my speed going.  Lucas now was about 30 or 40 seconds ahead.  Thinking I was all alone by now, I looked back and saw that a kid from Cowboy’s racing in my division was right behind me.  I tried to lose him on the downhill but I couldn’t do so.  After the dismount, Lucas was completely out of my sight and I was in the lead of the Cowboy’s kid by a mere 15 feet.  I knew this would be a race for second place.  I threw in a strong attack on the final steep hill and gained about 30 second on him! This relieved me, but the race was not over.  Being paranoid of losing second place in the final stretch, I pushed as hard as I could on the last road and threw in a strong sprint at the end.  I got second place!  I was soon informed that Lucas came in about 50 seconds before me, and I came in about 40 seconds before third.

I was extremely happy with my result.  My goal of another top 2 finish was reached, and I was also happy for Lucas.  You had a great race man!  And congrats for everyone else out there.



Race #3, East Garrison, March 27, 2011

Race 3 Report

We all showed up on Saturday for the pre-ride, expecting a soggy course, and were pleasantly surprised that it was pretty dry despite three weeks of steady rain. It was a short course – 4 ½ miles by Brooks’ odometer – and was pretty easy as well. Not technical at all, and just one sustained climb. Nothing our talented and seasoned riders couldn’t handle.

Race day started early for the setup crew, offloading David’s truck at 7:00 a.m. onto the damp, empty field. When we were done we had pretty much the swankiest pit I’ve seen yet. David brought in a new tent, so it was almost as if you were going indoors when you entered the pit. We even had a new changing area with shelves for the team bags, which opened up a lot of space.

We’d gathered all the girls bikes before setting out, so Brooks and his helpers went quickly to work to get them all tuned and race-ready by the time the Lady Dawgs showed up to hop on the trainers.

Wave 1: Girls

The racing began with the JV Girls category, a new category for us  as Bella moved up just the week before this race. It’s a very competitive category, and Bella was up for the challenge, despite being the lone Bike Dawg in the line up, stoically awaiting the countdown. At 10:05 she was off, through the first two corners and disappeared over the first hill, about mid-way in the pack.

Sophomore Girls followed at 10:10, with Annie Brow leading the charge, facing down her Salinas challenger on that team’s home turf.  Emily Lane, Emily Laskin, Clare and Linnea (on her first race back from a knee injury) rounded out our field.

Next came the Freshman Girls, with Nicole enjoying another seeded start, and Lauren and Thalia lined up close behind. At 10:15 we counted them down from 10, they cruised off through the first two turns of the neutral start, then gunned it up the hill and out of view.

Steve got the Soph and Frosh boys onto their trainers and I set off for the finish line to watch the lap placements. First to appear was Bella, in 8th place on her first of three laps, not far behind the pack of 3rd – 7th place riders, which was great considering her new category and that she’d been floating around the Sea of Cortez drinking non-alcoholic margaritas for two weeks.

Then we saw Annie, on the first of two laps for the sophomores, a mere 6 seconds behind the first place girl from Salinas, but looking very confident and determined. Emily Lane was not far back, holding off a Drake rider about 30 seconds behind. Next came Clare in 8th, Emily Laskin in 11th, and Linnea in 15th.

Nicole was our first freshman girl to go by on lap one, in 3rd place but just 34 seconds behind 2nd place, the closest she’s gotten to date. Lauren came by in 7th and Thalia in 10th.

The JV Girls came by after lap two with Bella holding onto 8th place. Then Annie and her Salinas challenger rounded the final corner, neck and neck, but Annie out-sprinted her opponent and won by a bike length. Emily Lane took 4th, having increased her lead by 45 seconds. Clare moved up a spot, coming in 7th, Emily Laskin moved up 3 spots to come in 8th, and Linnea moved up a spot to 14th in spite of that pesky knee giving her some trouble. The freshman girls finished next, with Nicole managing to hold onto a solid 3rd despite her chain coming off on the final lap, Lauren taking 8th, and Thalia fighting her way back up to 9th. Next Bella came in, having had to do an extra lap in the JV category, still a solid 8th place.

Wave 2: Sophomore and Freshman Boys

We’d had a number of our team parents down monitoring the starts, led by Jeannette, and they did a great job maintaining order with the 200 boys lined up for Wave 2. At 10:40 the Sophomore Boys took off, and the Freshman Boys followed at 10:50.

For the Sophomores, who had to do three laps, we saw Max pass by after lap one in 9th place, Ross in 15th, Jake in 25th and Michael in 31st.  After two, Max had dropped to 13th, Ross to 17th, Jake to 26th and Michael to 35th. And after the third and final lap, Max had held onto 13th, Ross took 19th, Jake 27th and Michael 35th.

The Freshman Boys did two laps. Seth was first to pass by on lap 1, 8th place in a pack of about 8 boys, then we saw Walker and Linot in 19th and 20th, Evan in 40th trying to ride out the pain of an early chain ring-to-the-thigh crash, and a smiling Rew in 53rd but easily holding off four other challengers. When they came around for the finish, Seth was in 9th, Walker in 21st, Linot in 25th, Evan moved up two spots to 38th and Rew moved up 2 spots to 51st.

Wave 3: Varsity and JV Boys

Our JV Boys were led by Jonny, once again going up against Drake’s golden boy, Lucas Newcomb. Stacey and Danny were lined up right behind him, all ready to take on this biggest of fields with 57 riders. At 1:10 they were off, cranking up the hill on their first of 4 laps.

After lap one Jonny was right with Lucas, and a pack of 6 other riders just 3 seconds in back of them. Then we saw Stacey in 22nd, and Danny in 39th. After lap two Jonny was still right there with Lucas, but they’d dropped the pack by more than 30 seconds. Stacey was holding on to 2nd, but Danny never came by, having had his tire slashed by another rider’s chain ring in a fall.

After three, Jonny had dropped a bit behind Lucas, but was an incredible 90 seconds in front of 3rd place. Stacey’s 3rd lap was marred by a bee flying into his helmet and stinging him on his head. Several racers managed to pass him as he went about removing said bee from helmet, and he dropped to 29th.  The race ended with Jonny in 2nd, 1:36 in front of 3rd place, and with Stacey clawing his way up to 28th.

When it was all over and done with we put four riders on the podium: Jonny, 2nd Place D1 JV Boys, Annie 1st and Emily Lane 4th Place Sophomore Girls, and Nicole 3rd Place Freshman Girls.

We had hoped to take 3rd place for Team, but were edged out by San Ramon Valley by a mere 8 points (3642 to 3634, a 0.2% difference) and got 4th.  Our team scorers were as follows:

NAME (Plate #) Category PLC TIME PTS
Jonathan Kaufman (230) JV Boys D1 2 1:08:11 515
Annie Brow (406) Soph Girls 1 0:43:22 500
Nicole McGovern (711) Frosh Girls 3 0:47:25 471
Emily Lane (413) Soph Girls 4 0:45:37 457
Seth Francis (820) Frosh Boys D1 9 0:39:59 434
Isabella Breen (128) JV Girls 8 1:07:50 431
Clare Brosnan (405) Soph Girls 7 0:49:00 418
Max Zelikovsky (525) Soph Boys D1 13 1:00:17 408


Race #2, Granite Bay Challenge, Granite Bay, CA, March 13, 2011

Race 2 results are posted here:
Rider Results, Race #2
Team Results, Race #2


The Bike Dawgs came in 5th, with a score of 3588. That’s just 8 points shy of 4th place (San Ramon), and only 62 points shy of 3rd (Redwood).  When you consider that we were short 5 riders, had three mechanical problems that resulted in a DNF and lengthy delays, and another DNF  due to a crash, it’s pretty clear that we have what it takes to catch  San Ramon, and possibly even Redwood. So that’s a decent goal for us.

Looking over the numbers, what impresses me most is that almost every  one of you who finished the race and didn’t have mechanical problems  improved measurably. This is really apparent when you look at the  percentage of riders in your category that you beat from one race to  the next. Here are some of the biggest gainers:

Clare Brosnan  +40% (from 10th out of 11 to 8th out 15, quite a leap).
Lauren Schulman +17% from 7th out of 10 to 9th out 17).
Danny Karpman +16% (in a field of 58 boys, that’s 9 people)
Stacy Longtin-Horton 15% (same field –  58 boys, 9 people)

Even riders who seemed to remain in the same place were actually making improvements. Jonny  Kaufman had 30 more JV boys gunning for him this time around, and  still hung on to a solid 2nd. Same with Nicole McGovern, who was looking at some daunting gaps after her 3rd place finish in the first  race, but managed to cut the 2nd place gap from 4 minutes down to just 90 seconds, and the seemingly impossible 13 minute 1st place gap in  half. And then there was Annie Brow, in 2nd place after lap 1, who  poured it on in the 2nd lap, overtook the leader, and won by over 30  seconds.

And it’s not all about lap times and placement. Walker Busby had the  unique joy of changing his first flat ever in the middle of a bike  race. Max Zelikovsky faced down a broken, mangled chain, pulled out  his chain breaker and put it back together… only to find that it was too short to wrap around the drivetrain. Linot Vierke had his rear  wheel knocked off in a crash, the rim and brake rotor bent, and had to  run with his bike along the narrow trail till he found a spot to put  it back together. From the look of things today, Ross van der Wal left  50% of the skin off his right leg out there on the course.

For team scoring, the league takes our top 8 scores, no more than 6 of  which can be a particular gender. In our case, we got by with girl  power. Our 8 scorers were:

1. Jonny Kaufman – 2nd place out of 58 riders, JV Boys
2. Annie Brow – 1st place out of 15 riders, Soph Girls
3. Nicole McGovern –  3rd place out of 17 riders, Frosh Girls
4. Emily Lane – 4th place out of 15 riders, Soph Girls
5. Thalia Torres – 6th place out of 17 riders, Frosh Girls
6. Seth Francis – 12th place out of 55 riders, Frosh Boys
7. Clare Brosnan – 8th place out of 15 riders, Soph Girls
8. Lauren Schulman – 9th place out of 17 riders, Frosh Girls

The fact that 5 of them are first-year riders is pretty inspiring.  Congratulations to them, and congratulations to you all. I’ve been out  there on the trails with you, and suffered beside you at spin, and I
an say with certainty that no one works harder than you.