Last Sunday the eight season of Southern California mountain biking kicked off at Lake Perris. The league boasts close to one thousand riders this year. Not only has the league grown but Team Gold has also gained another high school racer, Ryan Lay. Our small but mighty team had been working hard everyday to prep for the season since early December, and we were all excited for the season to begin.
I arrived at the venue shortly before Ryan took off in the D2 sophomore race. The weather was perfect: not too much wind and not blistering hot. Ryan started in the back of the pack but quickly weaved his way to the front of the field. Unfortunately he took a spill after the downhill single track which cost him a few precious seconds. He quickly recovered, however, and finished out the race very strong.
Going into the race I had the second call up based on points from last season. The start this year was different from last time. We were staged and then lead out onto the main road where we stopped briefly and then took off. A train quickly formed and stayed together for most of the only climb on the course. Close to the top I broke away and had opened a gap by the end of the single track decent. I led for the rest of the race and walked away with my first ever SoCal win.
David Stringfellow, our JV rider, took off during the heat of the day. He unfortunately lost his water bottle during staging and had to race the first lap before getting a replacement. Nonetheless, he fought hard and came away with a solid 12th place finish.
After months of blood, sweat, and gears it was great to finally race and see my teammates race. I am very blessed to be a part of this program and I can’t wait to see what is in store for Team Gold this season.
Ryan cranking away on his first lap.
David looking good on the trail that connects the fire road descent to the beach.
So stoked to take home the leader jersey! The top of the podium was an unreal experience.