The St. Francis High School mountain bike team competed in the third event of the six-race SoCal league series at the Keyesville Wilderness Area near Lake Isabella, CA. A fast approaching rain storm and tough weather conditions made for an exciting weekend.
Saturday’s weather for the teams practice on the beautiful Southern Sierra course saw 75 degree temperatures and beautiful, blue skies. However, the weather forecast for Sunday was ominous and ugly, and the team knew it was going to be a race of attrition in what turned out to be a rainy and cold afternoon.
In preparation for this race, the team dialed-in its race-day nutrition plan and race warm-up in hopes of being better prepared when the riders reached the starting line. Podium finishes and solid results from all of the Golden Knight racers at Keyesville validated that our extra work was worth it.
In the Freshman Division 1 class, Golden Knight riders Austin Hamilton and Skyler Payne just missed their 3rd consecutive podiums with a very strong 6th and 8th place finishes. Philip Saulny also finished in the top 50% of the field with a very solid 16th place finish. Rounding out the Golden Knights were Remi Roth in 30th and Nathaniel Blakely in 36th.
The day’s first podium finish occurred in the Sophomore Division 1 race with Daniel Balsam narrowly missing the top-spot with a hard earned 2nd place finish and his 2nd podium result so far this year. Hunter Nalley earned another great finish in 13th, and Keenan Koch battled for 21st.
As the JV and Varsity riders approached the starting line for their afternoon race start, the clouds darkened and the wind began to howl. Within minutes of the race start, the Golden Knights were racing in the cold and rain. Working hard and never giving up, Sean Bird overcame some bike mechanicals to earn his top finish ever, a fantastic 2nd place result in the JV race. The great JV results continued to flow in with Scott Marshall working his way up from 17th place to finish in 11th. As they have done all season long, another strong finish occurred with JV riders Matt Kubly, Connor Haas, Carl Demolder, and Cameron Aubert coming in within seconds of each other in 13th, 14th, 15th, and 18th place. Battling back from a first lap crash was Steven Ayoob in 23rd place. In the Varsity race, Christian Breitschwerdt continued to improve racing to 25th and Matt Misetich came back from a first lap crash to finish in 27th.
Again, the Golden Knights came away with two impressive podium finishes, along with some excellent individual results in all categories.
The Golden Knights return to Vail Lake for the season’s 4th race on April 15th. Vail Lake was the site of the team’s best race this season at stop #1, and the team hopes to do well there again.
The Golden Knights mountain bike team are very grateful for the support that they have received from the school and administration, along with their sponsors: Design Imports, Hollandays, VCA Arden Animal Hospital, Merchants Building Maintenance, Bell Helmets, Mountain Pine Shutters, Strategic Law Partners, Nu-Hope, Kevin Martin/UBS, Stratz & Company, Financial Guaranty Insurance Brokers, City National Bank, and JoBesh International.