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.

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We made it to the single track and it was time to pass to start making my way towards the front. Passing kids was sure a challenge having to go off course. I passed the majority of the kids after about 2 miles or so. After I passed those kids I was sitting in about tenth and all alone. No one to draft on, no one to pass, no one to pull me along. I was feeling good staying at a steady pace trying not to blow up. Finally after racing by myself for almost all of the first lap I finally caught up to the the 9 place rider. I turned the right hand corner after the finish line and I sprinted after that kid. Finally I caught up to him and sat on his wheel until I had enough in the tank to get ahead of him. After sitting on his wheel I passed him with about 2 miles to go for the last lap. I passed him on one of the many short up hills this course has. I was once again by myself. No one in my division to pass or sit on to make it a sprint finish. So finally I had made it to the end of my second lap and there is this little drop before the finish and I see a rider. I was so happy I was like “I am gonna catch this guy”.  So I put everything I had and we were about even until I couldn’t give it any more and he beat me by a bike length. Then I went to congratulate and I realized I had just sprinted after one of the sophomore racers. It’s ok though still made for an exciting finish. The race was over I had finished 9th in my division.

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I was happy I made it into the top ten because my points were not looking so good due to the DNF in the previous race. After cooling down and getting my body back to a good resting point my dad told me that Sebastian had won the race. He is not only my Brüstop teammate, but a really good buddy of mine and I was so happy for him because he was so ready to beat the kid who kept beating him. He had been telling me the night before his gameplan on how to win the race and he did great. Congratulations Sebastian. Also congratulations to everyone who finished the mid season challenge. This was one of my favorite races by far.