Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Vail Lake #2 Race Report

Victory at Vail Race, Temecula CA – April 15, 2012

The St. Francis High School mountain bike team competed in the fourth event of the six-race SoCal league series at Vail Lake in Temecula, CA on April 15th. Great weather and perfect trail conditions made for an exciting race.

Rain showers on Friday and Saturday cleared the dusty trails at the Vail Lake course to create a very tacky and fast track. To make the course even more challenging, the SoCal league added a ½ mile pavement start and additional single-track climbing. The new course would really benefit strong, technical riders.

In the Freshman Division 1 class, Golden Knight riders Austin Hamilton and Skyler Payne again showed their great form on the course with a solid 5th and 6th place respectively. Austin’s 5th place was his third podium finish of the year. Philip Saulny just missed a top-10 finish with a strong 11th place. Working hard and continuing to improve were Remi Roth in 16th, Nathaniel Blakely in 19th, and Nick Bedford in 25th.

Daniel Balsam continued to impress the Sophomore Division 1 class, battling with the leaders for all 3 laps and finishing with a strong 3rd place finish, earning him his 3rd podium finish of the year. Hunter Nalley fought hard all day for a respectable 16th, and Will Towne had his best finish of the year finishing in 20th.

The weather and racing heated up at in the afternoon for the JV and Varsity riders. The biggest battles and heartache occurred during the JV race. While battling for the lead on the 2nd of their 3 lap race, JV racer Sean Bird crashed hard after a mechanical problem with his bike. Sean fixed his bike on course and like all of our tough Golden Knights do, completed the race to finish in 25th. Scott Marshall worked hard for a 10th place finish, his second top-10 of the year. Close behind Marshall was Connor Haas with a very strong race and 13th place. Matt Kubly worked hard for 15th, while Carl Demolder worked through leg cramps to soldier on for 20th. Like Bird, Cameron Aubert’s strong race was sidetracked with a crash. Cameron disappointingly watched riders race by as he got back on and finished in a very respectable 21st. In the Varsity race, Christian Breitschwerdt worked hard for 24th. Matt Misetich came back from two week break off of the bike due to injuries and persevered for 26th.

After a tough day of racing, some of the Golden Knights seemed disappointed with the outcome of their races. Coach Bird emphasized to them that racing is comprised of many different emotions and moments – all of which will help build character and strength.

The Golden Knights head to the mountains for their final league race in Lake Arrowhead on May 6th, and then will compete against the NorCal league at the State Championships in Los Olivos on May 20th.

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.


Remi Roth showing excellent descending form!

Scott Marshall at speed on his way to a solid 10th place.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Got Trail Work?

On Saturday, April 7th, sixteen members of the St. Francis High School Mountain Bike Team joined 50 other high school mountain bikers for a hard day of trail work on a segment of trail in the Angeles National Forest that had been damaged during the Station Fire.

Under the guidance of local trail advocates Banner Moffatt and Stephen Messer of Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA), the students were broken up into groups to perform specific tasks such as brush clearing, trail widening, and relocation of parts of the trail system so that the trails would be safer for cyclists and hikers.

The work was performed on a common trail behind JPL called “Upper Brown”. The students used their mountain bikes to ride the 6 miles to the trail work area, with some students and coaches using trailers to tow up the hand tools that would be required for the work. Despite temperatures reaching 90 degrees, the students put in almost 8 hours of hard work.

The St. Francis High School Mountain Bike Team is in its fourth season of competition in the SoCal High School Mountain Bike League, and performs trail maintenance projects at least three times during its race season.

Even though these students will be racing hard against each other next weekend at the league’s upcoming race, they should true comarardierie and worked hard to help make a difference on a popular trail that had not been used in a couple of years.

Daniel, Austin, Sean and Matt work to clear a slide.

(L to R) Austin Hamilton, Scott Marshall, Nick Bedford, Philip Saulny, Nathaniel Blakely, Sean Bird, Matt Kubly, Chris Sercel, Coach Nick Gualtieri, Will Towne.