Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Nolan's first USAC Race!

In his ripe old age of 7, my son Nolan completed his first official USAC XC Mountain bike race at Big-M ski/mtb trails in the Manistee National forest. In addition to completing the race, he was also able to stand on the 3rd step of the podium! I'm sure getting that first taste of the podium will make him hungry for more, as he already has his sights on the Stony Creek TT this weekend.

Leading up to the race, he was very excited and looking forward to going "up North" for a quick weekend get away, and a chance for him to not only do his first "Big People" race, but also ride his bike in a trail that he has never been on before. As we lined up he made sure I was ready and behind him. The whistle blew and we took off. He was setting a good pace through the first part of the fast single track and then he discovered sand. A small crash from locking up the brakes and he was up and ready for the next challenge. We made sure to yield to all the other racers by allowing them to pass. And I was impressed with Nolan for always listening for other racers coming up behind him, and then looking for the best option to get out of their way. And after most of the riders passed, he would yell out encouragement to them, like "your doing good", "keep going", or my favorite, "these hills hurt". I think we can all learn a little trail etiquette from a 7 year old. I was also impressed with his desire to try and clean all the climbs. He did very well and a few of them I could not believe he actually made it to the top! He descended very well also. Always looking for the best line and making sure his speed was in control.

As we made our way down the last hill and into the final straight, the crowd was full of cheer. And like a true racer, he found some more energy deep inside from the response of the crowd and managed to make a big push for the line sprinting all the way home. Way to go buddy!

As for my race, I give myself a C. I put out better times than last year (except for the last lap in which I crashed near the finish and then coasted home). But I felt a little flat of the climbs and flats. My bike handling is rasor sharp right now, so I hope as I get stronger, my results will improve. This is a quick base 3 for me as I ramp up for CX season. But I really need to work on my power and riding near my threshold. I finished 8th out of 9th.

Notables and congrats --

Tom and Shawn -- You guys just keep getting better and better. See you both at the big boy starting line soon.
JB -- Looking rock solid. You look like your on par with your CX training.
Brain -- Taking 4th on someone else's bike. But at least it was a good bike (Way to go plastic!)
Brad -- The human hamster. Thanks for handing it to me on the last lap.
Mike Wizzz.... -- 1st in elite! Look forward to seeing you tear up the CX courses again this year.


zenbicyclist said...

As a father of an 8 year old, congradulations!

jbhancock said...

Awesome write-up...congrats to Nolan for such a great ride!

SingleTrackMinded said...

That's awesome...Go Nolan!

Todd Shorkey said...

Great job Nolan!! It sounds like you did an awesome job... good luck at your next race!

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