Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Kicking off the SoCal High school MTB Race Season!

I totally get it now, at least I think I do. On Saturday, when I saw Morgan charging up the beach towards the feed zone in 1st place in her middle school mountain bike race I was so excited I almost jumped out of my skin. I screamed and ran and failed to get a bottle of water to her and lots my sanity for a second I was so excited for her to be doing so well. I think I get why/how parents get so intense at sporting events, it's such a rush to see a kid you care about succeeding, almost better than the feeling of succeeding yourself! The Laguna Beach Interscholastic MTB team, the group of middle and high school kids I help coach, had a phenomenal weekend in Lake Perris at their first race of the year, and Larissa spent the weekend trying to reign in the excitement in the feed zone, you know, so I wouldn't break the rules (too much haha).
Highlights from the weekend included:
I'm pointing at is my fire road to get up and over Saddleback
Maybe one of the best last minute decisions I've ever made, riding from home to Lake Perris on Saturday morning! The idea came to me on Friday at school when coach said to do Steady State intervals Sat morning before heading to the race. I thought, heck, why not just do my intervals ON THE WAY to the race, threw a route together on Strava and it ended up being significantly less miles than driving!

Down there is the maze of freeways Google maps wanted me to take... screw that

The route took me up Maple Springs (which is basically the road I live on), down Bedford fire-road and then all the way across Cajalco Rd. I didn't really think ahead much, aside from finding a Mexican restaurant to grab a breakfast burrito from en route, and was plesantly suprised by how AMAZING Cajalco rd was! It wound up and around and through the area between Riverside and San Diego Counties with a nice shoulder, no stop lights or signs and rad views of Lake Mathews! It just kept going and going in all it's awesome glory ALL THE WAY to Perris! No turns! AND THEN... a dude in a van loaded down with bikes headed to the race pulled up next to me on Cajalco and the high school kid in the passenger seat asked if I wanted a Breakfast burrito! WHAT?! Is this real life?! YES I WANT A BREAKFAST BURRITO! How even did they KNOW!
Happiest girl EVER right there. 

So I got to the race in 3.5 hours, did a lap with the kids, and right when I thought I would faint breakfast burrito man shows up WITH ORANGE JUICE AND A BURRITO! What a day! I cannot express the surprise, joy, and gratitude I feel for this generous human. He didn't even know who I am (I had thought he knew I was Larissa, you know, because who else would be RIDING to a high school mtb race from home?! )

Brady's secret to success: licorice and jelly sandwich. 
On Saturday, during the middle school races I got to watch Morgan dominate, her brother Dylan rode like a pro to take 2nd, and Brady put the pieces of training together perfectly to pull off a win as well. Our other middle schoolers had a great time, racing in stacked fields, and finished strong with smiles on their faces.

NICA races are like a family reunion. I also got to spend quality with with Roger, my homie who also happens to hook a sister up with the best rubber in the buisness, and Nikki (two weekends in a row!) who was so thoughtful and brought coffee and an amazing scone! It was seriously like my birthday, how did I get so lucky to have such great friends and strangers in my life!

Sometimes I just get into people's cars in parking lots, not to go anywhere... 
Thanks for the snacks Nikki!!!!!

Pre-race team pow wow. These kids are a great combo of hilarious and hard working/rad. It's so much fun to watch them grow, learn, challenge themselves and have a great time along the way!

Coaching can be challenging because I'm always torn between giving the kids a heavy workload with challenging workouts vs just having fun on bikes and learning skills/gaining strength through riding. I think coach Mike and I have struck a pretty good balance this year, and it was fun to see the hard work pay off. I love how these kids aren't crazy stupid serious, they still have fun, but are willing to push themselves/ get out of their comfort zones when they train and race. 

The girlies of the team!
We wrapped up the day with a beautiful sunset, riding around with empty disposable water bottles in our bikes to make all the noise, and team pizza.

And Sunday the three high schoolers raced! Freshman charger Brandon won his first race of the season by using the most amazing combination of strength and strategy in the windiest race of the weekend, making it 4 podium finishes for Laguna!!! Dylan and Tasha did great in their challenging races as well, making it another fun day of spectating, coaching, and cheering my lungs out.

And that's a wrap, race #1 is in the books, and now we are onto preparing for Victory at Vail, the second NICA race of the year! Gonna make the kiddos work hard tomorrow!!!


  1. Great job coach! And it was great to meet you as well! (Vince Venolia, Haro Bikes)

  2. I am sure that you guys did great in this challenging race! It was a difficult competition, but you easily dealt with it!

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