Monday, March 29, 2010

Phenomenal Fontana

Following their success at the Bonelli Park US Cup, the Whole Athlete kids opened up their national-level racing season with a bang at the Fontana ProXCT/US Cup cross country race in Southern California.

An all-blue Junior boys Cat 1 podium. 1st, 3rd and 4th for the junior girls. Twelve podium placings in total. While theses pictures can't possibly do the weekend justice, they're worth a thousand words.

Cat 1 - 17/18 boys: Zach Valdez 1st, Will Curtis 2nd, Joe Yoham 3rd, Riley Predum 4th, Alec Kassin 5th

Cat 1 - 17/18 girls: Sofia Hamilton 1st, Victoria Yoham Yoham 3rd, Kate Courtney 4th

Cat 2 boys 15/16: Taylor Smith 1st

Cat 2 boys 17/18: Bobby Zidek 2nd

Cat 1 - 19-24: Will Patterson 2nd

Cat 1 - 40-44: Dario Fredrick 1st

Making the long haul...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Whole Athlete Junior Development Team Targets Fontana Pro XCT

Marin County-based Whole Athlete Cycling Team is traveling to Southern California again looking to build on their successes at the Bonelli Park US Cup, where they took 2nd through 6th in the Junior Cat 1 XC division.

In a variation on the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" chestnut, the winner of Bonelli park, Zach Valdez, has since joined the Whole Athlete team and is looking forward to his first race as a member of the squad.

The team is on something of a roll in recent weeks with Will Curtis taking his second consecutive Varsity win in the NorCal High School MTB League while Whole Athlete juniors took six of the top-10 Varsity boys spots.

Not to be outdone, on the female side of the squad, Victoria Yoham and Sofia Hamilton took 2nd and 5th in the girls Varsity and Kate Courtney won the Junior Varsity.

Fontana also marks the return to the dirt of U23 Pro rider John Bennett, who has been focusing on competing as a Category 2 road racer recently, winning the GC overall at the prestigious San Dimas Stage Race, in the process winning the time trial and placing 2nd in the circuit race.

In just its third season, the Whole Athlete junior develpment program continues to be supported by the non-profit Velo Development Foundation, and is building momentum while staying true to its core principles of fun, integrity, and a balanced integration of sports into the busy lifestyles of modern teens. Eighteen young athletes and three mentors will make the trip south in rented passenger vans, and the team is particularly excited to put their new Specialized Epics to the race test. "It's a lot of fun and highly motivating to work with such a dedicated group of young riders," says team founder and director Dario Fredrick, who was motivated enough to snag himself a win in the 40-44 Cat 1 division at Bonelli Park, his first official win in the stars and bars he picked up at Nationals in Granby, CO last summer. The team plans on repeating its trip to MTB Nationals, following an altitude acclimitization camp at Lake Tahoe, and for the first time registered this year as a UCI trade team, in order to compete at UCI World Cup Finals in New York.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

San Dimas & NorCal Success - Take Two

Less than a week after the Whole Athlete Team's success at the Bonelli Park US Cup MTB XC in San Dimas, John Bennett wins the San Dimas Road Stage Race in the Cat 2 field. Bennett took the opening stage TT, then followed up with a strong 2nd place in the stage 2 road race. Despite going down in a crash in the 3rd stage criterium, JB was able to remount and finish with the field, confirming his overall victory. Congratulations, John!!

Will Curtis takes his second consecutive Varsity win in the NorCal High School League race #2 as Tony Smith took podium spot #3. Whole Athlete juniors took six of the top-10 Varsity boys spots, while Victoria Yoham and Sofia Hamilton take 2nd and 5th in the girls Varsity and Kate Courtney wins the Junior Varsity.

NorCal High School League Race #2 - Folsom Lake
Varsity Boys:
Will Curtis 1st
Tony Smith 3rd
Alec Kassin 6th
Riley Predum 7th
Davis Bentley 8th
Colby Pastore 9th

Varsity Girls:
Victoria Yoham 2nd
Sofia Hamilton 5th

Junior Varsity Girls:
Kate Courtney 1st

Junior Varsity Boys:
Taylor Smith 3rd

Saturday, March 20, 2010

John Bennett takes opening TT stage at San Dimas Stage Race

John Bennett, racing in the Cat. 2 category, wins the opening stage uphill time trial at the San Dimas Stage Race.

In the Stage 2 Road Race, John takes 2nd place and adds another second to his GC lead.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bonelli Park US Cup XC

A small group of Whole Athlete Team riders took a road trip to SoCal to race the Bonelli Park US Cup. Our goal was to race our best in this national-level event. Six of seven Whole Athlete riders finished on the podium.

Will Curtis battled Zack Valdez right down to the finishing sprint, taking a close second. Riley Predum, Roman Brockley and Colby Pastore rounded out the podium, while Davis Bentley followed in 6th place despite breaking his chain twice!

Will Patterson raced his first Cat 1, 19-24 race at Bonelli and showed that this year he means business by taking a convincing win.

Inspired by the kids' performances, even team director Dario Fredrick got out there and took the top spot in the 40-44 Cat 1 race.

Bonelli Park US Cup XC Results
Junior 17/18 Cat 1
Will Curtis: 2nd
Riley Predum: 3rd
Roman Brockley: 4th
Colby Pastore: 5th
Davis Bentley: 6th

19-24 Cat 1
Will Patterson: 1st

40-44 Cat 1
Dario Fredrick: 1st

Monday, March 8, 2010

WA Juniors on Top at NorCal Opener

Will Curtis

The Whole Athlete juniors were out in force at the NorCal High School MTB League opener in Monterey this weekend. Taking top honors in three divisions and five of the top-10 spots in the boys varsity, the WA kids are off to a strong start in what promises to be an exciting season!

Check out the video by Max Houtzager.

Top-10 Results:

Boys Varsity
Will Curtis 1st
Alec Kassin 4th
Alex Stevenson 6th
Riley Predum 7th
Nick Newcomb 9th
Will Patterson 10th

Girls Varsity
Victoria Yoham 4th
Sofia Hamilton 5th

Junior Varsity
Taylor Smith 1st

Girls Freshman
Kate Courtney 1st

Nick Newcomb & Riley Predum

Davis Bentley

Will Patterson

Will Curtis, Bryan Duke & Tony Smith

Will Curtis & Tony Smith

First race of the season

MTB Challenge #3
03/07/10 - Folsom Lake, CA
4 Laps - 28 miles
Category Pro
Placing 2nd

With all the juniors racing in the NorCal High School Race #1 in Monterey the same day, they inspired me to get out there myself. The first race of the season is always interesting. There is an uncertainty of how the body will respond to a race-level effort. Even though I might have good training in the legs, racing is always a notch above training in both focus and intensity.

Since this was a non-USAC sanctioned race, we could choose our category to race. And since the pros were allowed to line up at the front -- and there was some good competition, including Jason Moeschler (WTB) and Clint Claassen (25+ National Champ) -- I decided to race pro.

The course was a non-traditional MTB XC course, with almost no climbing. They mentioned that they ran the course reverse direction (counter-clockwise) from races past, which ensured that you could pedal virtually the whole time. However, to make up for the lack of vertical was endless twisting, smooth, tacky singletrack, with the occasional granite tech challenge and mud-bog crossing. Fun, fast and flippin' fantastic. This was such a momentum course that I stayed in the big ring (40T) and kept my fork locked out the whole time. My WTB Nano Raptors performed flawlessly, fast-rolling with just enough side knob to hook up in the fast, sandy corners.

The start was fast and flat, and we quickly began to jockey for position. I was happy to let at least one or two guys get in front and pull, which Claassen seemed willing to do. Soon after we were a group of five and pulled away on the first of four laps. I had pre-ridden the course just prior to the race, so I noted that there was actually one small climb on the course toward the end of the lap. I went into it first and realized I could stretch out our group if I went hard, so I held back, made a mental note and conserved for the later laps.

On lap two, I went to the front just prior to the "climb" and Moeschler was on my wheel. I hit the climb a bit harder and the two of us started to gain a gap. We railed the back side and Moeschler took the front heading into the third lap and got on the gas. The two of us immediately started putting time on the other three. It was a pleasure to ride such a smooth and powerful wheel. Moeschler's technical skills are apparent when following him and it comes as no surprise that he's won the Pro Downieville all-mountain before.

Jason was really killing it, and we worked our way through lapped traffic. I briefly got stuck behind and lapped rider and couldn't quite close the gap to my breakaway companion up the climb. At that point I needed to ride the best pace I could for the last lap whether I was able to rejoin Moeschler or not, but the key was to avoid blowing up. All the short, punchy efforts began to take their toll after 90 min and it's easy to blow a gasket and lose everything at that point.

I was starting to feel the familiar late-race fatigue of XC racing again, and just focused on riding as smoothly and as fast as I could on the last lap. Making my way through traffic, I finally reached the end of what seemed like an endless lap and rolled through the finish alone for 2nd. Claassen came in a minute or so after to round out the podium. A very satisfying effort and a super-fun course.