(South Conference) -Race Report: Fun At The Fort East Garrison, CA
By Greg Fisher
Full Results (link here)
Fort Ord played host to thousands of young Americans in the thirty years it operated at the nation’s primary training facility for the US Army. Young men and women were molded on those shores, brought together to be forged anew, emerging stronger and more focused than when they went in. Twenty years later, the Army is long gone, but young people are still finding their outer limits on these shores.
In sight of the ocean, 198 racers tore across scrub-and-oak coastal hills on a dry, sandy course, climbing 800 feet in five miles in the first race of the newly-formed Southern Conference of the Northern California High School Cycling League. While the as-yet-to-be-formed Eastern and Western Conferences are still a few years off, the momentum of high school mountain biking is undeniable. That fact was carried along by the roar of tread through scrub and oak, long after the thunder of combat boots had faded.
Varsity Girls ready to rock
photo by Dain Zafke
1. Madison Giger (Salinas)
2. Quincee Chandler (Salinas)
3. Zohe Slack (Albany)
4. Emily Cerna (Salinas)
5. Carina Bilodeau (San Ramon Valley)
Varsity Girls got the groundbreaking done early in the first heat of the day. Madison Giger took first place, biding her time while waiting for her moment to strike. She ‘’took it easier in the beginning, riding together and sitting behind Zohe Slack for a while. I tried passing her and did. But she's good on the flats so she passed me again. In the last turn to the finish line, I went wide for the pass. Zohe's handlebar got caught on my shorts when she tried to pass me back, she went down. It was a bummer that she went down right at the end. But I was confident going into the sprint and was ready to win the sprint if it came down to that. We all put our best effort into it and we all had fun."
Eyes of the tiger
photo by Dain Zafke
1. Jacob Albrecht (Santa Cruz Comp)
2. Sean Bennett (El Cerrito)
3. Tom Foxx (Santa Cruz Comp)
4. Chance Tiner (Santa Cruz Comp)
5. Alec Pasqualina (San Ramon Valley)
The fullness of the day shone down on the Varsity Boys field and it was under this clear blue sky that Jacob Albrecht took the win. Crossing the finish line, he gave credit where credit was due. “I had a good time riding with Sean, my Whole Athlete teammate. He was super strong out there today." Additionally, and like many of the racers out there, this was Jacob’s “first race of the season, so it shows that I did some good early season training." Well begun is indeed half done. Congrats Sean.
Junior Varsity Girls
1. Chantel Duliba (Salinas)
2. Marie-Claire Schillinger (Miramonte)
3. Maggie Ortenblad (Independent)
4. Victoria Ortega (Miramonte)
5. Mia Thacker (Santa Cruz Mountains Comp)
As the dust from the Varsity Girls began to settle, the JV Girls approached the start line with a look of confidence and determination, ready to race. Chantel Duliba, whose petition to move up from sophomore to JV was recently approved, brought home the win with some incredibly fast lap times. According to the top-step athlete, "I felt great out there and thank you dad for my bike" The rest of the JV Girls were keeping an eye on the prize as they turned over some impressive first and second lap times.
Junior Varsity Boys D1
1. Dale McHaney (Salinas)
2. Andrew McHaney (Salinas)
3. Jake Auby (Monte Vista)
4. Alex Ratcliff-Jones (Berkeley)
5. Ian Pettley (Salinas)
The heat started to pick up in the afternoon welcoming the JV D1 Boys to the first race of the season in what is one of our largest categories. Racers shot off the start line and it was immediately apparent that these seasoned riders were ready for a battle royale. The McHaney household must be eating, sleeping and training right, as brothers Dale and Andrew climbed to the top two spots on the podium! Berkeley High fourth place finisher, and first time podium haunch, Alex Ratcliffe Jones was seen dancing in his team's pit zone, so we assume he was also pretty happy with his finish.
Junior Varsity Boys D2
1. Soren Andersen (Santa Cruz Comp)
2. Steffen Andersen (Santa Cruz Comp)
3. Gabe Multer (Santa Cruz Mountains Comp)
4. Ray Karam (Albany)
5. Julian Poree (Santa Cruz Comp)
31 riders lined up for the JV D2 race, and watched as their D1 counterparts absolutely smoked off the line. The nervous energy was palpable, as yet again two brothers were wondering who would be the first into the swoopy Fort Ord singletrack. After a few laps it was apparent that Soren and and Steffen Andersen were going to have to sprint one another at the finish line, and that's exactly what happened. Clearly this was a good race for all the Santa Cruz boys. Congratulations to Soren for taking the win!
Salinas High girls working on their strategy
photo by Dain Zafke
1. Jenelle Doolittle (Monte Vista)
2. Geneva Burkhardt (Kirby Santa Cruz)
3. Jessie Wilson (Independent)
4. Arianna McGlynn (Tri-Valley Comp)
5. Alice Koltchev (Kirby Santa Cruz)
As they prepared to duke it out on the rolling slopes of Ford, Alice Koltchev and Geneva Burkhardt had no idea they would both end up on the podium representing Kirby Santa Cruz (formerly named Georgiana Bruce Kirby High School), but that's exactly what happened at this season opener. It was Jenelle Doolittle, however, who rode away with the win and showed the rest of the Monte Vista High School student body just how great it is to be a star on the mountain bike team.
Sophomore Boys D1
1. Tyler O’Neal (El Cerrito)
2. Sandy Floren (Berkeley)
3. Kyle Petersen (Kirby Santa Cruz)
4. Jeffrey Chamberlin (Monte Vista)
5. Hudson Courtwright (Independent)
Nerves at the start of the race can be overwhelming for some, but not for East Bay crusher Tyler O'Neal who did not let a crash at the start deter him from taking the win from this very competitive category. "I crashed at the start and was last on the up the hill, but felt good and somehow came across in first place" Sandy Floren, representing Berkeley High School, also turned over some smooth laps and brought home a second place medal for his efforts.
Sophomore Boys D2
1. Porter Wesson (Santa Cruz Mountains Comp)
2. Dylan O’Connor (Santa Cruz Mountains Comp)
3. Ryan Simonovich (Santa Cruz Mountains Comp)
4. Travis Ristow (Woodside)
5. Jason Tang (Albany)
Sometimes the race finds you, as discovered by Division Two Sophomore Boys field winner Porter Wesson today. "People kept telling me I would do good, but my teammates Dylan and Ryan were right behind me for a while so it was tough. But towards the end of the first lap, I looked back and didn't see anyone. I thought "cool"... that was the best part of the race for me." Looking back and seeing nothing but a full 60 second gap would certainly qualify as a top moment in one’s race day. It would seem that Santa Cruz Mountains Composite is getting in their base miles!
Start line-And they're off!
photo by Dain Zafke
1. Emily Forsberg (Santa Cruz Comp)
2. Rebecca Warwick (Salinas)
3. Samantha Pfingsten (San Ramon Valley)
4. Quincey Linder (Salinas)
5. Katrina Saad (San Ramon Valley)
Lining up for the start of a NorCal League race can be nothing short of seriously intimidating, but if you are a freshman and this is your first race, that feeling can be overwhelming. Not for these girls! They took that nervous energy and turned it into pedal power as they mashed up and over the course in true athletic form.The pride we have for the grit and tenacity of our freshman girls, was palpable throughout this particular heat. A great race by all, and a special congratulations goes out to Emily Forsberg for her first place finish.
Freshman Boys D1
1. Burke Kennedy (Salinas)
2. Michael Hegglin (Monte Vista)
3. Levi Jago (Salinas)
4. Lars Enstrom (Monte Vista)
5. Nicolas Theunissen (Berkeley)
Silence fell over the start of this race, as racers readied themselves for their first experience on a NorCal League course. But it was Burke Kennedy's lucky day as he was able to make a statement by powering through this five mile course to take the win. Look for some epic racing from this, our second largest, NorCal League category.
Freshman Boys D2
1. Oliver Lawrence (Monterey Bay Composite)
2. John Bray (Santa Cruz Composite)
3. Dante Calcagno (Santa Cruz Composite)
4. Ethan Janssen (San Francisco Comp)
5. Tyler Pattulio (Independent)
A few Freshman D2 athletes had raced mountain bikes before, but for the majority, this was the first time they had donned a number plate and a timing chip. This didn't deter Oliver Lawrence from mashing the pedals for a hot 19-minute first lap. As the rest of the field swooped under the finish line with mustaches made of dirt and sweat, the fact that these kids are the future of cycling was glaringly apparent. Congratulations to Mr. Lawrence for his first W in his first NorCal League race!
It was a strong start to what promises to be a bold new chapter in the saga of Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing. There’s much more to come in the next couple of months, including a return to Fort Ord before the two conferences unite for the second half of the season.
As always, many thanks to the volunteers, parents, sponsorsand coaches who make this all happen. While we wouldn’t have a race without strong young athletes like the ones we saw today, we wouldn’t have a League without all of you working and supporting us behind the scenes.
2013 NorCal Race Schedule
Race 2 (North) March 10, 2013 Folsom
Race 2 (South) March 10, 2013 East Garrison
Race 3 (combined) March 24, 2013 Granite Bay
Race 4 (combined) April 7, 2013 Laguna Seca
Race 5 (combined) April 28, 2013 Boggs
State Championships May 19, 2013 Stafford
Contact: Vanessa Hauswald