Shots and Socks

Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of shots you don’t take.” This is a principle by which I try to live. In February, NICA put out a 48 hour challenge on their Instagram page: to design rad socks. They had partnered with Defeet International to put on the contest and recruited the people at Seven Designs to judge. I squeaked in my design just under the deadline but I managed to create some socks that I though were both cool and represented NICA’s goals as an organization. After searching through Instagram under #NICAsockgame, however, I realized I had some tough competition. Lots of registered NICA riders from all over the country had entered some super cool designs. They announced the winners the next day and unfortunately I didn’t win, but I had a great time working on my socks….and taking a shot.


IMG_0846I went for multiple bands around the socks with bike related elements similar to southwestern patterns. I also incorporated the three core principals NICA tries to promote among their athletes as well as their slogan.

As seen on TV

A lot of people don’t quite take me seriously when I talk about high school mountain biking. They understand it’s not road cycling and that there are races but that’s about it. High school mountain biking is actually one of the fastest growing sports in the country. There are leagues scattered across the country and last weekend California held its state race at Los Olivos, north of Santa Barbara.  Close to 800 riders raced on Sunday, and I finished 11th in the Freshman D2 Category despite a heavy nose bleed from a cold I had been fighting. The sheer amount of people was humbling, and it was definitely an awesome experience being there.  The local news station did a broadcast about the race and the link can be found below. (I’m on the right in the screen shot behind the newscaster.)

League Finals and Base Miles

League finals wrapped up the 2015 SoCal season. There was definitely a learning curve during my freshman season, and I took away lots of ideas and experiences that will help me get a head start jumping into my Sophomore year.

1. Base miles are important. Unfortunately I made the mistake of playing soccer during the winter and therefore I went into the season with zero base miles.  Fortunately, I have now got soccer out of my system and I will have 100% more base miles than the previous season.

2. Consistency is Key.  Watching one of the varsity riders from Ramona throughout the season taught me another valuable lesson. This specific rider never finished in the first or second spots but was consistently in the top five. Going into the last race he carried the leader jersey because his consistent podiums lead him to be ranked first in overall points.

3. Bike Maintenance is super important with mountain biking. My coach has been trying to hammer that into my brain for years. This season really reinforced that idea.  I threw a chain twice during races, and my other teammate threw a chain just as much as I did. I think we both will work really hard next year to make sure our bikes are in the best shape for each race next year.

4. That’s just racing. Finally, I realize that you can work as hard as possible and everything can come shattering down around you.  Just like in “Of Mice And Men” one simple unfortunate mishap can destroy all that you have worked for. My teammate was poised to take the win in the Sophomore category at our third race and landed a three inch drywall screw in his tire. He went from second, challenging first, to pushing his bike dead last… but I guess that’s just racing.

Ethan Series Finish  012                Ethan Series Podium  012

   I finished 7th overall in Frosh Boys D2

New Jersey, but not the state!

Last fall the Southern California High School Mountain Biking League had a contest to design the 2015 season jersey.  It was open to all registered SoCal riders, and I decided to enter.  My concept for the jersey was to do an abstract and high energy design.  I ended up winning the contest and now have the very gratifying experience of seeing my jersey for sale at all SoCal races.  My original drawing is below, and a photo of me with Armin Rahm (the owner of ICE sportswear and contest sponsor)  and Anna Mendoza (the designer who took my concept drawing to finished product) follows.