Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Vail Lake - Race #1

The St. Francis GOLDEN KNIGHTS Mountain Bike Team

Vail Lake Challenge, Temecula CA – February 24, 2013

The St. Francis High School Mountain Bike Team competed in the opening round of the 5th season of the SoCal League High School Mountain Bike Series at Vail Lake in Temecula, CA on February 24th. Perfect weather conditions and a fast race course made for an exciting day of racing.

The Golden Knights were well represented with 21 riders showing up for race day – the largest number of Golden Knights ever for any single race. Since December 1st, the team has trained hard to prepare for the start of this race season where they will compete against other high school students from across Southern California.

In a deep Freshman Division 1 class of 40 riders, the Golden Knights were represented by four new riders who did not have any prior race experience and have worked extremely hard to prepare themselves for their first season of racing. Andrew Schiller rode a very consistent race and was the first Golden Knight home in 8th place. Andrew Palaski and George Orloff finished together in 18th and 19th position, and Michael Vega finished strong in 24th.   

Five riders from St. Francis represented the Golden Knights in the Sophomore Division 1 class. Nathaniel Blakeley worked hard in the off-season to improve his overall fitness and was rewarded with a hard earned 10th place. Skyler Payne crashed on the first lap, but battled back to earn 14th, with Remi Roth close behind in 15th. In their first-ever mountain bike races, Owen Shain came in 23rd and Alex Marshall finished in 26th.

The JV Division 1 race saw the largest field of the day with 54 riders. The Golden Knights were a significant contributor with 10 riders lining up for the afternoon race start. Austin Hamilton almost had the Golden Knights first podium of the day and finished in a well-earned 7th place. Daniel Balsam narrowly missed a top-10 and finished in 11th. Michael Togneri and Matt Kubly raced side by side and finished together in 19th and 20th. (Matt is one of the team’s senior leaders and is competing in his 4th season). Will Towne and Hunter Nalley finished in 26th and 27th, with Keenan Koch close behind in 35th. Carl Demolder repaired a broken chain on the 2nd lap and worked hard to finish in 45th. First year riders Kenny Larsen and Chris Perez finished in 46th and 48th.

St. Francis junior Sean Bird and senior Scott Marshall represented the Golden Knights in the 4-lap Varsity race. The race started with a blistering pace that saw Bird hang on to the lead group for the first lap. As the race progressed, Bird settled in and finished in a very respectable 8th place. Scott Marshall had the endurance required for the longer distance of the Varsity class and worked hard for 25th.

“Since our very first race 5 years ago, every Golden Knight has finished every race, including this one. Our riders worked through broken bikes and tired bodies to persevere. This is an incredible accomplishment in this difficult sport and something that I am extremely proud of”, said Head Coach Lee Bird.

The Golden Knights head to race # 2 in Riverside in two weeks, looking to improve on their solid results with hopes of some podium finishes. 

The Golden Knights mountain bike team is 100% volunteer managed and coached and is very grateful for all of the support they have received from the parents, alumni, and their generous sponsors, including: Design Imports, Hollandays, Merchants Building Maintenance, Mountain Pine Shutters, Strategic Law Partners, Nu-Hope, Kevin Martin/UBS, Stratz & Company, Financial Guaranty Insurance Brokers, Lucas Horsfall Murphy & Pindroh, Lantern CycleWorks, Montrose Bike Shop, and Crescenta Valley Insurance.  


Camp Fire on Saturday Night
Team Dinner
Team Warmup

Nathaniel Blakely
Andrew Palaski
Chris Perez
Remi Roth
Sean Bird
Skyler Payne battled back from a hard crash
Matt Kubly with proud dad (and coach) Rod Kubly

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