Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Whole Athlete-Specialized Team Springs into Action

The Whole Athlete-Specialized Team has sprung into action this Spring, with impressive performances across disciplines and across the state over the weekend, sweeping the podium at the Fontana ProXCT Junior cross country race, taking the overall victory in the Cat 3 San Dimas Stage Race, and earning three wins and seven podiums in the NorCal High School MTB race in Monterey.

Junior Mountain Bike Racing - Fontana ProXCT - Fontana, CA

Following up on their dominant performance in the first round at Bonelli Park two weeks prior, Keegan Swenson and Tony Smith went 1-2 again in the junior cross country race at Fontana, with Max Houtzager rounding out the top three. Bobby Zidek took a strong 6th in his first Cat 1 season. Team Director Dario Fredrick also took the win in the Cat 1 40-44 race.

NorCal High School League Race #2 - Fort Ord

At the high school level, it was the ladies' turn to top the Varsity podium, with Sofia Hamilton and Kate Courtney going 1-2, Mackinzie Stanley 4th and Victoria Yoham in 6th -- while once again in Junior Varsity, Lucas Newcomb and Jonny Kaufman went 1-2 and Josie Nordrum took the win in Junior Varsity Girls. In total, WA-S Team riders took eight top-10 finishes.

Amateur Road Racing - San Dimas Stage Race - San Dimas, CA

Nick Newcomb takes the overall win in the Cat 3 San Dimas Stage Race, after setting the fastest time in the Stage 1 time trial. The team (Alec Kassin, Cody Tapley & Kick Kinney) worked tirelessly to defend the leader's jersey throughout the second and third stages against constant attacks from their GC competition. It was truly a team success as they displayed an impressive degree of dedication and cohesion.

Check out all the team's 2011 top-10 race results here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Keyesville Classic

Junior racer Tony Smith on his way to a strong 3rd place among the pros in the cross country race, against the likes of Adam Craig and Tinker Juarez.

Will Patterson finishes 4th overall in the all-mountain stage race, with a 7th in the cross country, 3rd in the short track and 10th in the downhill.

All-Mountain Pro Men:

1. Jim Heweit
2. Adam Craig
3. Tinker Juarez
4. Will Patterson
5. Scott Chapin

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Whole Athlete-Specialized Team Golden Across California

The Whole Athlete-Specialized Team again showed its range of development across the Golden State this weekend. On road and dirt, the team earned multiple top results in high school, collegiate, amateur and even professional events, netting six wins, ten top-3 finishes and 20 top-10s!

NorCal Varsity Podium: Max Houtzager 1st, Taylor Smith 4th

NorCal High School League Race #1 - Folsom Lake

At the high school level, the team took three wins in four of the categories entered, with Max Houtzager earning the Varsity win, Lucas Newcomb and Jonny Kaufman going 1-2 in Junior Varsity and Josie Nordrum winning the Girls Junior Varsity. In total, Team riders took ten top-10 finishes.

NorCal Junior Varsity Girls: Josie Nordrum 1st

Collegiate Road Racing - Crockett, CA

Will Patterson took a well-deserved solo victory in the UC Berkeley Crockett Road Race.

Amateur Road Racing - Madera Stage Race - Madera, CA

Alec Kassin finished the three-stage Madera Stage Race in 5th overall in the highly-competitive Cat 3 field with tremendous support from his teammates. Nick Newcomb and Alec Kassin both earned top-10 finishes on individual stages as well. U23 Road Team Coach, Peter Nicholson lead by example, with a 3rd place finish in the Masters 35+ road stage.

Keegan Swenson & Tony Smith top the junior podium

Junior Mountain Bike Racing - Bonelli Park ProXCT - San Dimas, CA

In the first big National-level mountain bike event of the season, Keegan Swenson and Tony Smith went 1-2 in the junior cross country race at Bonelli Park. Team Director Dario Fredrick also took the win in the Cat 1 40-44 race. Later that same day, U23 rider Zach Valdez earned an impressive 10th place among a national-class field in his first-ever professional Short Track race.

Keegan Swenson

Tony Smith

Zach Valdez

Will Curtis

Team Director Dario Fredrick on the podium

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whole Athlete-Specialized Team on Top

Tony Smith
photos: Nick Gaetano & Rob Evans

A few WA-S riders decided to test their legs at the Lake Sonoma Mountain Bike Cross Country race in Northern California over the weekend. Despite the recent heavy rain turning the dirt into sloppy mud, the team prevailed finishing 1-2 in the Pro race with Tony Smith & Dario Fredrick, and 1-2 in the Expert Open category as well with Taylor Smith & Bobby Zidek. For more details about the race, check out the race report below.

Dario Fredrick

Bobby Zidek

Taylor Smith

Meanwhile, in other Whole Athlete-Specialized riders were making waves of their own. Junior National Champion Keegan Swenson took 2nd in the Pro Open category at the Red Rock Rampage in St. George, UT, while on the road Will Patterson took 3rd at the UCSC collegiate criterium and Cody Tapley 4th in the Cat 3 Merco Criterium on his 19th Birthday.

Keegan Swenson

Cody Tapley

Great job to all! Next stop: Bonelli Park ProXCT. Let the games begin...


Lake Sonoma MTB XC - Race Report
Pro Category
4 x 5 mile laps
Teammates: Tony Smith & Riley Predum
Results: Tony 1st, Dario 2nd, Riley 10th (broken bike!)

One word to describe this race: Mudfest. A full on bike-wrecking, leg-sapping, tire-sliding, sloppy, splashing mud bath with plenty of creek crossings thrown in for good measure. It was a survival race, both for body and bike. And believe it or not, it was a blast! Especially racing our there with the boys in blue and red.

A few fast puppies showed up, including Kris Sneddon (Kona), Jim Hewett (Summit), Kevin Smallman (Cannondale) and a handful of other local speedsters. We started fast up the steep, paved hill that funnels left into a singletrack, led by Sneddon, Hewett, a couple of Marin riders, Tony, then me and Riley. We blasted down into the first mud bog and chaos ensued. It was like slip 'n slide but on bikes. I backed off slightly and let the carnage happen while I took my time to figure out the tech sections and avoid crashing into rocks or flatting. I knew the course would open up soon to allow safe passing and I could tell that most of the guys in front of me were in waaay over their heads in terms of effort. Sure enough, just a few minutes later on the first lap it was just Tony and me chasing Sneddon and Hewett. By the end of the first lap, we were gaining, and then Sneddon flatted. So we charged ahead to track down Hewett who appeared to be paying for his early efforts.

We rode a super-smooth lap two without all the traffic and mayhem in front of us, and began ripping the rolling singletrack. We soon caught Hewett, and I realized he was slowing a bit on the tech stuff, so I passed him, putting Jim in a Whole Athlete sandwich. I would open up small gaps on the descents and technical sections, and Hewett would claw his way back. Tony patiently sat his wheel and saved what energy he could just behind him. Team tactics are not that common in MTB racing, but it's times like this that road experience can pay off.

On lap three, I think Hewett's efforts finally caught up with him and he crashed twice in the muddiest section, the second time breaking his brake lever off. Tony yelled up to me to let me know and we regrouped and rode a smooth, fast lap three together. We also agreed that with a fast tire change, Sneddon could easily hunt us down, while Smallman pacing himself well, could claw his way back also. We needed to keep the pace up and stay focused, as it took tremendous effort to ride the mud, both uphill and down.

On the final lap, and after nearly flawless functioning thus far, my bike started to protest and for some reason, the drivetrain didn't seem to like being continuously massaged with mud and grass. I had to dismount a few times and got back going again. Tony would pull away, riding super-strong and smoothly, and I would put in big efforts to get back up to him. On the third time, I realized that I couldn't quite close the gap without risking self-implosion. So I settled into a solid pace I could hold to avoid a complete meltdown and get caught from behind. In fact, Smallman was starting to close down on us, and I could even see Sneddon gaining back there too.

Tony took the well-deserved win, and I followed in second to take a Whole Athlete-Specialized one-two. I was happy to get in my first race of the season, and actually only my first race since Nationals last year. Riley unfortunately broke his derailluer hanger (yet again), but amazingly got a bike change from Taylor's dad and still finished the race in 10th. Way to stick it out, Riley. Meanwhile in the expert race, Taylor and Bobby were busy rocking their competitors world, going 1-2 as well! A solid day for the team.