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2018 LaGrange Mountain Bike Race Report by Adam Pressman

June 11th, 2018

I must have been absent the day they handed out MTB skills. For whatever reason, getting the MTB around corners, especially steep corners, is a skill I’ve never acquired.  Even when I think I’m going fast, I’m actually going slow.  It’s like the laws of physics have teamed up with my brain to create a diabolical didactic infused with an alternate reality where things just aren’t as they are, but they seem to be.

Accepting this alternate reality for what it is, and what it isn’t, I found myself in Weaverville at the LaGrange Mountain Bike Race, trying to convince myself that honing my (nonexistent) MTB skills would be a good idea, especially since I abandoned good common sense and entered Downieville, which is scheduled for early August.

Jake is there along with a bunch of high school MTBers, and there is a solid showing of Redding and Eureka folks, along with guys from places like SF.  It’s all very chill and light – way more chill than the wattage/testosterone measuring parade that is the staging area of a road race.

We start at a park, and have a neutral roll through downtown to the area near the high school where we briefly stop before the gun goes off.  I grab wheels for shelter from the concrete cross/headwind for the brief time before the first singletrack.

I’m like 20th going into the singletrack. We congo line up and down little bumps, and everyone’s together.  Eventually, the ups start to create widening gaps as riders fade, but the narrow singletrack prevents passing.  I get around a couple guys and try to get to the next guy.  I get closer, but then it gets more technical, and I fall back, a process which repeats itself again and again.  I have the following conversation with myself:

Me: dude, we are crushing this!  Those others are stuck in traffic! Ha! Sucks to be them!

Myself: check yourself, you just about clipped that tree!  Don’t crash us!

Me: I got this.  We’re flying.  Don’t be a party pooper.

Myself: You just about clacked that rock with your pedal!  Pay attention, this isn’t ZWIFT.

Me: You’re wrecking my concentration with your whining.  Leave me alone, I haven’t hit anyth …

Myself: Dude, you just hit a tree!

Me: I told you your whining would wreck my concentration.  Now there are a bunch of guys right behind us!

Myself: I’m closing my eyes, I can’t watch anymore.

Me: don’t close your eyes! I won’t be able to see!

Once safely (-ish) out of the singletrack, we do the first climb out onto a ridge and are greeted with a sideways gale.  Back to singletrack along a steep sidehill, followed by short hike-a-bike which I totally screw up and watch Jake and others go away.  Down a zipper of switchbacks, into more cool single track, onto a winding climb back to the ridge and a bomber downhill to more singletrack which I recall from years ago.  It’s fun, super fun.  There are two guys ahead, one of which is hammering a ‘cross bike (I don’t know how he didn’t flat a zillion times).

Me: This singletrack is awesome.  We’re gonna catch those guys, and find a place to pass!

Myself: Ok, just be careful. Remember, you almost killed us earlier.

Me: That could’ve happen to anyone. No blood, no foul.  How the heck are they staying away from us, we’re ripping!

Myself: We are clearly not as fast as you think.

Me: Whatever.  There’s nobody behind us, so even if we don’t catch ‘em, we aren’t going to lose any places.

Myself: I agree.  We’re almost there.  Bring this thing in, and let’s just chill in the park a bit.

The singletrack goes longer than I remember, but finally, we hit the main road, and I anticipate trucking the last ¼ mile downhill to the finish line.  Wrong.  A course marshall points towards a scrabbly, scruffy burned area with a zigzag of lines over rocky ups and downs.  Whatever.  I’m almost there and nobody is behind.

Me: What was that?  I hear someone behind.

Myself: I heard it too.  There’s definitely someone there.

Andy: Adam, I’m right behind you!

Me: Arrrgggghhh!  Great. We will have to deploy our non-existent sprint when we exit the singletrack.

Myself:  there’s no way to pass, this singletrack is too narrow.  Just don’t jack it up in the last few bits and we’re in.

The single track ends about 10 feet from the finish line.  I have enough left to hold my spot, figuring I was someplace in the mid-pack.  Andy and I bump fists and gasp for air.  I acknowledge he was definitely faster through the end, and that only the narrowness of the trail and my girth allowed me (and myself) to get third place in the pre-AARP category.

Jake grabbed third in his category.  Steve Wilson also took third in his category.  Both were well ahead of me.

It was a really fun race.  I’m glad it’s back, and I hope they do it again next year.  The trails are really fun.  Really fun. (Did I mention it was fun?)

Thanks all of y’all for all the rides and the smiles, and thanks Owens for all the support.


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June 11th, 2018 12:05:17

2018 Ridin’ High at the Ranch Race Report by Jake Mikesell

June 06th, 2018

This weekend I raced in Susanville Ca at “Ridin High at the Ranch” Mountain Bike Race. At the start it looked like there were many people in my category which fueled me to push even harder. It seemed like I kept climbing up and up and up some more for the first 15 miles. The climbs were wet and muddy which really was taxing on the muscles. But as soon as I hit the downhill I was gone. All I could hear was Jed Pope yelling at me to put my dropper down and pedal! After passing many people on the downhill, I came screaming across the finish line beat to the core. The race officials started calling out the winners of each class and they called my name for first place in the Cat 2 Men’s 19-29. I was thrilled and marched my tired body to the top of the podium showing off OUR colors. Only one other person actually finished the race but a win is a win. I would like to thank John and Owens Healthcare for the extensive support and the rest of the Owens team for always believing in me and pushing me to my full potential. I would not be the cyclist I am today if it was not for you guys! I am looking forward to many more upcoming races and especially the Lost and Found next weekend.

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June 06th, 2018 12:12:18

2018 Lost & Found Race Report by Jake Mikesell

June 06th, 2018

Many of you know and also suffered through the fantastic Lost and Found 2018 at Lake Davis, California over the weekend. I have to admit; it was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my entire life. Mentally frustrating, physically demanding, and emotionally a day of accomplishment.

The nervous journey to beautiful Graeagle Ca started on Friday, June 1st as “Club Jed”, which consisted of Jed, Adam, Steve Wilson, and myself motored towards the race. Upon arrival around 6:30 pm, we dumped the trailer at the RV park and decided to go to the race course and get our number plates. We made it just in the nick of time which saved stress and time for the crazy morning to come.

June 2nd Race day. The age categorical five-minute staggered start put a damper on our ability to work together as a team. The countdown; five, four, three, two, one, and we’re off! Out the gates the Men’s 30 and under category was starting off with some spunk so we zipped down the road section to the first dirt climb. Pacing myself for a long and tiring day, I let many of my competitors zoom by me. Immediately following the first descent comes another climb about the same size. Still pacing myself, the flats traveling through the valley had come. Around mile 23 I saw a familiar face leaning into my side, Jed Pope yelling at me “Let’s Go kid!” so I hopped on, and we took off. Barely surviving on this vehicle tire track rutted dusty bottle graveyard of a road with a pack of 20 some odd guys Jed and I were “good living.” Shortly after everyone gathered themselves, a guy in our pack crashed which slowed and broke off of our group, so Jed and I were all on our own.

Hitting the pavement and descending into beautiful Antelope Lake was a sight to see. We left the dust bowl and headed into the dazzling groves of Aspen trees, fresh air, and blue sky for miles. By this time, we are about halfway through the ride and Jed, and I are feeling good-ish. We started climbing slow and steady mentally preparing ourselves for a ten mile, 2,500 feet of elevation climb. Nearing the top Jed and I had picked up many stragglers who had leached onto us, so Jed takes a swig of his pickle juice and decides to “drop the hammer” leaving our competitors in the dust. Finally reaching the top only led us to head down the mountain.

Skating down the sandy slopes of the Antelope Lake descent put a gap in between us and our rivals. Blazing through many of the aid stations only stopping for a brief moment to grab some delicious, mouthwatering bacon and pound half of a Coca-Cola was the extent of our stops. The pain-inducing pavement in massive pace lines was ahead for a while. Battling the wind and many others who were not wanting to pull the pack was frustrating. Back on the dirt and grinding out the climbs once again.

After many miles of Jed and I riding solo drafting off of each other on an unforgiving washboard road seemed never-ending. Finally, the smooth quiet but hot pavement again which was a familiar sight for us to capitalize on our competition. Hiding from the wind in another massive pace line seemed to be a go-to for the road. In the distance, I remember seeing a red tent and it was mistaken for the end of the race by myself and many others. Jed and I made a NASCAR pit stop to grab water and painfully hopped back on the bikes to continue the last five miles of the race. Slowly grinding past many helpless victims of the Lost and Found with facial expressions of pain as they fiercely rubbed out their legs for cramps hoping a fix was in sight. Barreling down which seemed to be the final leg of the course and remembering one final road climb was heartbreaking. But powering through like always Jed and I finally saw the finish line in sight. As we cruised across the finish line with severe leg cramps, we turned to each other and fist bumped, a memory that I will never forget. Congratulated by many others but especially Paul and Michelle Lennon. Dirt from head to toe, we hobbled over to Lake Davis to lay and relax in the water which was refreshing.

We congratulate all finishers from Owens Healthcare Cycling Team and our guest Steve Wilson. Here are the finishing times: Jed Pope coming in at 6:53:45. Jake Mikesell at 6:58:45. Adam Pressman at 7:26:00. Steve Wilson at 8:21:18. Jonz Norrine and Bill Reuss at 8:21:39.Everyone who participated in this event would agree that it is no joke and just being able to finish is an honor. We would not be as successful as we were if it was not for the extensive support from John Friesen and Owens Healthcare.

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June 06th, 2018 12:11:04