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 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.