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NICA Race Reports

Race Report – 2016 NICA State Championships at Los Olivos

2016 NICA State Championships at Los Olivos
Sunday May 22, 2016
by Conner Kredo-Brown, Senior @ Terra Linda

Welcome to Los Olivos where the 2016 California State Mountain Biking Championships were held. Where is Los Olivos? Well it is in Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County. Some of you know about States, but it may be new to others. So I’ll explain. State Championships are where all of California high school riders meet. There is SoCal and NorCal (both NorCal North conference and NorCal South conference) all competing against each other for the first time. The racing is very much the same as a season race with some exceptions. There are a lot more people racing, points don’t count to the regular season, and not everyone gets into states. So first the total number of people racing was crazy, just in my category sophomore D2 there were 85 riders. Not everyone qualifies to attend. All varsity members and all girls are automatically qualified to race. Everyone else must be part of a process. First, as a racer you must start at least 3 regular season races. Second you must finish one of your races in a specific percentage based on the amount of riders in your field. Third you have to register for states, if you qualify – before the spots fill. Well, let’s move on and talk about my race.

My race started with me being nervous about missing my call up in 40th. I had the very last call up position in a field of 85 riders. Thankfully I didn’t miss it and it made all the difference because I had to pass fewer riders and I got to stick with the front pack for […]

Race Report – 2016 NICA Race 5 at Laguna Seca

2016 NICA Race 5 at Laguna Seca
Sunday, May 8th
by Joey Rempe, Senior @ Novato HS
May 8th was a bittersweet day for me, it was the day of one of my favorite races at Laguna Seca, but it also marked the day of my final High School race (I call this race the “Mother’s Day Challenge” as it is a true test of a mother’s temper and patience). Although I qualified for the final race in Los Olivos, my school scheduled Senior Prom on the same weekend. So this was it. With just weeks left of High School, the pressure of college and class projects had been slowly squeezing both the sanity and sleep out of me. So going into this last training week and race weekend, I was feeling exhausted. Just envisioning my 15th place call up position followed by the steep terrain at Laguna Seca made me nervous. I also couldn’t get over the fact that after 3 years in the league, this was the end for me. Ah but, hey enough about me being sad and emotional and stuff! What about the race?
We traveled down to Monterey on the day before the race to pre-ride the course, it had been more than a year since I had ridden it last and I wanted to see if Hurl Hill had gotten any steeper since I had climbed it last. Right before I arrived to pre-ride the course on Saturday, the course had been blessed with a healthy sprinkle of rain and cloud cover that provided perfect, cool pre-ride weather and optimal track conditions too. Just taking a slow pre-ride lap with fellow teammates Harrison, Sebastian, and Connor; I was recalling last year’s […]

Race Report – 2016 NICA Race 4 at Five Springs Farm

2016 NICA Race 4 at Five Springs Farm
Saturday, April 23rd
by Sebastian Dow, Freshman @ San Marin HS
Time flies during race season! It has already been two weeks since race #3 at Fort Ord. Race #4 took place at Five Springs Farm in Petaluma. I had heard mixed emotions about this course from my teammates. Some liked it and some didn’t. All I knew for sure was that one lap consisted of a long climb and then a long descent (6.5 miles 800ft). Knowing this was good because my team is from Marin County and all we have here are hills, therefore courses with more climbing benefited us. I woke up on race day nervous as usual. It was nice to sleep in my own bed before race day because most of the races have been in Monterey and we have stayed in a hotel. Finally around seven thirty we made it to the race course. I didn’t know what to expect so I hopped on my bike and did a pre-ride of the course. The rain from the previous day made the dirt perfect! The course started on a paved road and connected up with a double track. This allowed for great passing everywhere throughout the course.

I came into this race wearing the leader jersey and I intended on keeping it. You receive a leader jersey when you are leading your division in points. First place gets you 500 points, second gives you 490 etc. My main competition was Sean and he is from Granite Bay. He is a very strong rider and would be tough to beat. My coach and I devised a plan that would hopefully bring me to victory. I […]

Race Report – 2016 NICA Race 3 at Fort Ord

2016 NICA Race 3 at Fort Ord
Saturday, April 9th
by Kyle Hammer, Freshman @ Marin Catholic HS
Race three of the NorCal series here we go back to Fort Ord. This is one of my favorite courses that the NorCal league puts on. It all started out that Saturday morning, the nerves kicked in and the butterflies have already unleashed themselves and I haven’t even left the hotel yet. Finally we made it to Fort Ord and it was time to pre-ride for one last time. The course was about the same as the first time we raced here. An uphill sprint to a tiny single track where passing was limited. There were a lot more little pitch climbs that I knew I could blow up on and was very cautious of my heart rate. Finally I had finished my final pre-lap and now the clock was winding down to start of my race. Finally 10:55 rolled around and my heart was racing. I didn’t have a call up this race because I had crashed out in the previous race which resulted in a DNF (did not finish). I had general staging which put about 8 rows back on, which meant there were about 40 kids in front of me. Then they called the final call ups and we lined up game faces on and it was time. As the lady counted down “5…4…3…2…1 GO” we were off. The D2 freshman boys were on the race course. I made it up the first hill with my heart racing and the nerves starting to go away.

We made it to the single track and it was time to pass to start making my way towards the front. Passing kids […]

Race Report – 2016 NICA Race 2 at Granite Bay

2016 NICA Race 2 at Granite Bay
Saturday, March 19th
by Joey Rempe, Senior @ Novato HS
Ahhh yes, nothing like waking up earlier than usual on a weekend to drive to a NICA race! I woke up and stumbled out of bed far later than the time I had set my alarm to the previous night. In a groggy daze, I wondered whether I had packed all my essential riding stuff; smelly gloves, smelly helmet, muddy shoes, scratched glasses, and old bottles. I was really happy to have stayed late the previous night at Brustop, replacing a destroyed bottom bracket and spending some quality time with my fussy drivetrain (huge shout out to Aaron and Kevin for getting me dialed). As long as my bike is functioning properly, I know the ride is going to be great. Let’s go racing!

Granite Bay was calling my name and I couldn’t wait to get out there and shred! Granite Bay has always been a favorite for me. The terrain is more steep and technical than our first race at Fort Ord which makes the racing a little slower, but more challenging. The course is diverse throughout offering up rock gardens, sharp turns, flowey descents, and sand. The course also always feels great to race since it’s so well traveled. Just riding it, you can feel the thousands of race laps that have gone into it, honing the perfect tacky lines that weave in and out of the trees. Lots of shade, lots of flow, lots of fun!

I had secured a solid 13th place finish in the Junior Varsity (JV) D2 division at the Fort Ord opener race two weeks prior which gave me a 13th place call-up. I rolled […]

Race Report – 2016 NICA Race 1 at Fort Ord

2016 NICA Race 1 at Fort Ord
Sunday, March 6th
by Harrison Jantze, Senior @ Redwood HS

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and just like that the first race of the season was underway. For as long as I have raced with the NorCal league race number one has always been Fun at the Fort, located at Fort Ord in the beautiful Salinas, or is it Monteray, California. This year however, this race was special too me. Last year I had come out a little too strong and cramped up in the last lap and was determined to not tell the same story this year. The first race is always an interesting one because there are so many aspects at play. There’s new competition to scope out, new kids to help as they attempt their first ever race, and it’s the first chance you get to put all the hard work that you’ve been putting in to the test. Which brings me to 12:45, precisely. The time I mounted my bike to begin my warm up. I had my music in and my pre-race playlist going, nothing like a strange mix Sublime, ODESZA, Nirvana, and a couple other bands to really get you in the mood. By 1:20 I was at the start line with just five more minutes to go. As Vanessa started her countdown I took one last deep breath and before I knew it we were off.

The entire JV field shot up the first hill, later I found out that there was a crash off the line, but that’s neither here nor there. The first lap may have been one of the most painful experiences of my life. As I desperately tried to […]