Proud Papa moment..... My son who has been riding singletrack since the age of 3 expressed an interest in racing mountain bikes. Work schedule got in the way last race season, this year though we are making it happen. Now with one race behind him in his own words my son's Race Report.
Singletrack Cycles West Side Mountain Bike Series - Dash Point – Race Report
Even though this is my first mountain bike race, I know for a fact I’m going to continue the series. As for the picture, that is me. It might not look like it, but I was excited and not worrying about anything. I would have been worried using my first choice bike. The bike, which has been used for training, has been ghost shifting and I would have been worried about that happening during a climb. Instead, I used a different bike, a green Kona Explosif. As for what I’m wearing, I’m dressed in a under armor shirt, bike shorts with waterproof pants on top, my jersey and winter gloves. I would suggest racing because of two reasons: one because you get to make new friends and meet new people and two because it’s a lot of fun to race on well-made trails.
This is near the start of the race and I’m hot on the other kid’s tails but soon I am dropped because of traffic on the trail. I felt great because I was flying on the trail and keeping a steady pace and had primitive knowledge of the trail and where the worst of the technical stuff was. I never caught the names of those two kids but let’s call the one in front blue shirt and one in middle red shirt just so I don’t cause confusion. I learned that the blue shirt made first, the red shirt made third. As for me, I made fourth place but got a lot of encouragement on the trail. A helpful tip: if you’re going to race be sure to train before the series so you have a lot of strength, endurance and ALWAYS ride the trail/ track at least three times before race so you know what you’re going to be going through.
My legs started hurting near this point in time. I never go down easy so I started counting my pedals, every full turn is one, two, three, etc. Doing this helps to keep your mind relaxed and body loose so you aren’t as tense as a tree and have a clouded mind. Also stick to a water bottle because a camel back will weigh you down like I found out here. Tip #2: before the race check how much water you have and prior knowledge of your tools so if something happens you can fix it and be back before the trail misses you.
My dad and I only rode half of the trail system the day before so this was an unfamiliar area. Bridges are easy to handle, keep your head up and eyes at the end of the bridge. My legs weren’t burning but close to it. Obviously, I was out of shape because my dad has been working long hours so we don’t get out as often but now my dad and I ride Saturday or Sunday and my mom will soon be taking me with her to ride trails around our house. Tips #3: know your trail. You don’t want to be the one kid that doesn’t know what the trail is like or where some of the technical stuff is. Also keep listening for sounds of other riders and eyes open for the trail and animals. I didn’t encounter any animals except a bird and a chipmunk.
This was where a TOUGH climb was. Behind me there were people already on their second lap, even though you didn’t need to do the second lap. I never lost confidence or thought of not continuing because this was a great workout and it was just plain fun. This trail was more climbing then I bargained for so by the end of the day I was DEAD, seemed like I had no strength so I sat around and ate a Stinger waffle and waited for the medals to go out.
Don’t have much to say here, I was tired, didn’t know how far I was to the finish line and my water was leaking a little. I never thought I would be so tired but tomorrow I’m going to feel it for sure.
Here I was happy for some downhill even if it was a very small downhill because I was basically dead. But I kept going because it was fun just to be out and about seeing new people. Tip#4: always have faith in your abilities and do your best. You’re out enjoying the great outdoors and having fun with tons of new people.
In my mind, I was happy to be almost finished. I still had a little while to go and needed to keep pedaling. Never think you won’t make it to the finish line, I kept myself from thinking that by thinking of past rides. I knew I would make it and I am proud of myself for completing it.
The end! I finished with some speed and in my mind, a big smile on my face. I did it and had fun the entire way. The entire thing was amazing and a lot of fun just to be out on the trail and seeing new people. I will complete the series because it was a really good experience and I look forward to racing with all of the people in my division again. I hope to do better in the future though, now I know what to work on. Although I came in fourth place, I still had an amazing time seeing all the other racers and seeing what their strengths and weaknesses are. Glad to know that I’m not the only one with weak points.
Photo Credit: Erik aka Dad