Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Keyesville Race Report - it was WINDY! - Race #4

The St. Francis GOLDEN KNIGHTS Mountain Bike Team
“Cruise the Keys Race”, Keyesville CA – April 14, 2013

Nineteen members of the Golden Knight Mountain Bike Team made the long journey to one of the most scenic race courses in California for the Cruise the Keys race in Keyesville, near Lake Isabella. Gusty winds and a very dry course made a difficult venue even more challenging as the riders would cover more than 6 miles per lap on an undulating course. Coming off of the school’s spring break, the riders would need to find their “racing legs” to prove that they were again up to the challenge.

The first race of the day featured four Golden Knight freshmen taking on 49 other freshman riders from throughout Southern California in the largest field of the day. The freshman racers have really stepped up this season and have shown continued improvement. “I’m really proud of the freshman this year. These guys have worked hard and have improved all season long, becoming a very tough group”, said Coach Bird. All four Golden Knight freshmen finished in the top-20, with George Orloff narrowly missing a top-10 finishing in 11th. Michael Vega had his best race of the season in 13th, with Andrew Schiller close behind in 14th. Rounding out the Golden Knights was Andrew Palaski in 20th.

Four riders from St. Francis represented the Golden Knights in the Sophomore Division 1 class. All four of these hard-working young men had their best results of the season at this race. Getting closer to the podium were Nathaniel Blakeley in 8th, Skyler Payne in 9th, Owen Shain in 19th, and Alex Marshall in 20th.

St. Francis again had the largest number of riders of any team in the JV Division 1 race with 9 guys lining up for the start. Unfortunately, a bad accident 100 yards into the start of the race hampered most of the Golden Knight JV racers with bad positions and mechanical problems. Escaping in front of the pile-up was Austin Hamilton who again rode extremely well to an impressive 7th place finish. Coming from dead last after the accident was senior Matt Kubly who wore a tough game-face to fight for a respectable 23rd finish. Close behind with their season-best results were Kenny Larsen in 25th and Keenan Koch in 27th. Close behind were Will Towne in 29th, Carl Demolder in 30th, and Daniel Balsam in 34th. Rounding out the JV team were Hunter Nalley in 39th and Chris Perez with his season-best 40th. Chris Perez was also a 3rd place winner in the Felt Bicycle sponsored essay contest for the SoCal League and received recognition at the race for his essay about what the St. Francis Mountain Bike Team has meant to him.

The Golden Knight Varsity team was once again represented by junior Sean Bird and senior Scott Marshall. Sean worked hard all-day and passed two riders on the final lap to earn a solid 6th place, which moved Sean into 4th overall for the season in the Varsity class. Having his best ever result in the Varsity class was Scott Marshall with a hard-earned 18th place finish.   

Even with the horrible pile-up at the start of the JV race, The Golden Knights again showed grit, courage, and perseverance to have all 19 riders complete their race. That’s 23 straight races without a single DNF! The Golden Knights head to race # 5 in Los Olivos in three weeks for the final SoCal League race with hopes of getting all riders qualified for the State Championships in May.

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, Crescenta Valley Insurance, and Church and Larsen.  GO KNIGHTS!

Andrew Palaski

Chris Perez - Essay Contest 3rd Place Winner!!!

Our "Top Chef" Coach Marshall

Owen Shain heading into the switchbacks

Chris Perez

Carl Demolder

Hunter Nalley

Sean Bird in close quarters at the Varsity start

Matt Kubly battled back from a bad crash at the start

Sean Bird

Will Towne

Not where Matt Kubly wanted to be at the start

Michael Vega on his way to his best finish, 13th!

Nathaniel Blakely worked hard for 8th!

Scott Marshall

Sean Bird

The Keyesville venue - Beautiful!