Dario Fredrick is the director of the Whole Athlete Development Team. A veteran cyclist and current 40+ XC National Champion himself, Dario coaches, trains and travels with the young riders, inspired and motivated by their exuberance and talent. With tremendous support from Specialized, the Whole Athlete Program has the resources and talent to develop some of the country's best young cyclists.
Athletic History: 25 years MTB and road cycling, with some dabbling in swimming & triathlon in the middle
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MTB Marathon National ChampionshipsSeptember 17, 2012
MTB Marathon National Championships
Sept 15, 2012 - Bend, OR
Course: 54 miles, 6000+ feet of climbing
Cat 1 40-44 - 1st
Take 54 miles of dirt, add over 6000 feet of climbing, and do it at race pace above 5000 ft. elevation and you get the 2012 Marathon National Championships. This amazing course in Bend, OR was truly worthy: almost entirely singletrack, a healthy dose of climbing, plenty of sand, dust, and sprinkled with occasional technical rock challenges.
I knew one of my strongest challengers would be Rob McGee (Blackstar Racing), who was 2nd at XC Nationals this year, and of course I couldn't count out local racers or strong riders from Colorado or Idaho. After all, the entire course would be at elevation...
We started out briskly on a sandy fire road and when we hit the first gradual climb a few miles in, I went to the front hoping to create some separation prior to the first singletrack. As I got into a strong rhythm, only Rob could follow, and by the top it was just the two of us with a small gap. I railed the descent, slip-sliding on the sandy corners, but carrying as much speed as possible, then hit it hard up the next climb just prior to the singletrack. I was able to partially unhitch Rob but knew that I needed to conserve a bit for the next 50 miles of racing and the 2000 ft climb that was to come shortly thereafter.
As I entered the singletrack, I passed more and more riders from younger age groups, challenged by the tremendous amount of dust obscuring the trail. When I could look back, I saw Rob not giving up and working to close the gap to me. That motivated me to push and flow with greater speed on the windy, fast trails. As we hit the main climb, a long, gradual ascent that went from 5000 to nearly 7000 feet, I tried to settle into a strong rhythm I knew I could maintain, but hard enough to keep the pressure on. About halfway up, I could see Rob starting to close the gap to me. I knew he must be putting in a big effort to do it, so with about 800 vertical feet of climbing left, I pushed it to the edge of what I could sustain. As I neared the top, I could see that my gap had opened significantly, but knew I needed to keep the highest pace I could for the rest of the race to consolidate my lead. We were barely a third of the way into the race as I hit the twisty, fast singletrack descent down from the highest point on the course.
Passing more and more riders, I could feel my body was responding well as I asked for more. My legs were feeling the fatigue of going hard up all the first sections of climbing, but the power was there so I kept on the gas. After a long, fast fire road descent, I entered the second of three separate course loops and got back into a singletrack flow. The trails were sandy and challenging but I stayed focused, eating and drinking wherever possible.
As I came to the feed zone passing near the start/ finish, I got a big bottle from Abby (thank you!) and entered the final 12-mile, completely singletrack loop with a feeling of sky-high motivation. I knew this section well and immediately got into the flow. I never assumed my gap to Rob or any of the others was secure, so I kept on the gas with the assumption that they were chasing hard behind. I felt almost like I was floating at times, in a pure singletrack flow-state. I kept my focus sharp and had a clean run all the way up through the final 800 feet of climbing, which featured a handful of technical uphill rock challenges.
I wrung myself dry, squeezing out every last drop of power until I entered the uphill finish chute, looked back one last time and saw nothing but daylight. I could hear the announcer booming my name across the speakers and felt a massive sense of accomplishment as I crossed the line, arms up, completely spent and completely stoked.
Mendocino Madness XCAugust 27, 2012
Mendocino Madness XC
Aug 25, 2012 - Mendocino, CA
Course: 4 x 10 mile laps, 7200 ft of climbing
Pro - 1st
After my last race in Missoula the week after XC Nationals, I shifted my focus toward Marathon Nationals coming up next month. The Mendo race was the perfect lead up event at 40 miles and 7200 ft of climbing. Basically, two climbs and two descents - all sweet singletrack, with brief, flat fire road connectors in between.
Local speedster Brian Astell (Marin) showed up and I knew he would be a strong competitor given his ability and intimate knowledge of the course. We started out briefly on a flat fire road that quickly turned to singletrack and into the first of the two climbs. I let Brian take the lead since he knew the trails and I wasn't able to pre-ride the course. He set a strong pace up the first, all singletrack 800 ft. climb and we quickly established a gap. Once we started to level out and descend, I realized that being right on his wheel made it difficult to see the lines given how narrow the trail was. I made a couple of mistakes and the gap opened a bit to Brian, so I tried to bridge back up but found myself lacking the smoothness I needed by trying too hard to push it to bridge back up to him. I realized I needed to figure out the course before I could ride the descents fast, so I just focused on my own lines and effort.
After a couple of brief wrong turns that gave up more time, I got to the second climb, a 1000 ft. gain with a 100 yard, 20-25% segment in the middle. I settled into a strong but sustainable pace, knowing I had a lot of racing ahead of me. I could see Brian up ahead on the steeper pitch, so the climb was playing into my favor. I focused on smoothness on the second descent and started to find the flow. By the end of the lap one I was told I was one minute back, so I focused on closing that gap on lap two.
I started having some serious fun on the descent this time, flying through the redwoods "Return of the Jedi" style. I was feeling good on the climbs and by the middle of the second climb on lap two, caught Brian. He seemed to be slowing so I was able to pass and continue on at my pace, and when I got to the top of the super-steep section I realized I had opened up a gap. I just kept my pace steady and strong, and focused on smoothness and flow on the descents, continuing to open up the gap.
Lap three was my best yet, and I felt I had learned the course well, completely in my own zone. As I entered lap four, I focused on finishing strong on the climbs and smoothness on the descents. At the very top of the last pitch on the final climb, my legs told me "that's it", so I guess I metered out my effort just right. I flowed down the final descent and rolled in, stoked with a solid effort and super fun ride.
In a 20+ year period of racing bikes I've experienced a lot of different courses and venues, and the Mendocino Madness course was simply one of the best. The singletrack was so good that I would go there just to ride, let alone race it. And the organizers did an amazing job of making it happen, with a great venue in the redwoods, awesome food and a really cool vibe. I highly recommend the event.
Misoula XCTJuly 20, 2012
July 14, 2012 - Missoula, MT
Cat 1 combined
What a blast! One of the best XC courses I've ever ridden -- good climbing, lots of singletrack, physically challenging and a great venue.
I raced the Cat 1 combined race rather than Masters to challenge myself with the younger guys. They started the Cat 1 Juniors 15 seconds in front of us, so I knew there would be some passing to do. As we headed up the first climb of four laps, I got into a rhythm I knew I could sustain. A Cannondale rider in my group passed me but only gained a few bike lengths. Shortly after, a Hammer Nutrition rider did the same, but I could tell that both of them were slower on the singletrack, so I let them go too hard in a few sections while I maintained a steadier pace and reeled them in on the more technical parts. I passed them both before the main descent and put some time between us by the bottom and start of lap 2.
In the lead in my race, I was passing juniors throughout the course. I kept my effort pinned so that I could maximize my lead and not need to take risks on the descent. Fortunately, I was having so much fun on the descents that I think I was faster than if I tried to go fast!
I felt great, having recovered well from Nationals. I could really push hard and the short race (1 hour, 11 min) meant I could really keep the effort high without fading. I worked my way up to the second place junior but did not try to pass him on the last descent. He was riding it well and I didn't want to do anything that would impede his progress. I found out at the finish that Casey was riding in 1st in the juniors, and had a solid lead of about 30-40 sec. I came through with the Cat 1 win, making it two for two for Whole Athlete-Specialized on the day!
Great job to all the WA riders out there.
US MTB XC National ChampionshipsJuly 11, 2012
July 7, 2012 - Sun Valley, ID
Cat 1 40-44
Although this is my fourth consecutive year racing MTB XC Nationals, this year was very, very different from the prior three. The biggest difference was dealing with the uncertainty of coming back to race form in time from the broken ribs and other injuries I sustained only a few months ago. After the injuries, my original goal was really just to be fit enough to lead our team elevation camp, whether I was strong enough to race Nationals or not. I decided I would not commit to racing until I knew I could be at the level I needed to be competitive, which given the relatively short timeline would not be apparent until the final weeks leading into the race.
After the first two weeks of the team camp, and good sensations in those first two races of the season for me, I was ready to give Nationals my best shot. When we pre-rode the newly designed amateur course, I was really pleased with the massive main climb that ascended over 2200 feet up to 8000 ft. in elevation. The descents were a blast, with a combination of smooth, flowing trails and somewhat more technical, pedaling sections. The main climb was divided into an initial fire road segment for the first quarter, then steady, gradual singletrack to the top.
Our race started out relatively smoothly, as took the hole shot, leading the start loop around the venue to avoid any mishaps. We then made our way south along the bike path toward the main climb - Cold Springs Rd. - and as soon as we made the turn and the road tilted up, I went to the front to push the pace. Others seemed content to follow, and as the climb hit the first two steep pitches I pushed harder. I could hear only one rider behind me still, so I really pushed the second steep pitch and kept the pressure on as the fire road section of the climb continued. As it got quiet behind me, I knew I had to gain as much time prior to when the climb turned to singletrack so that I could ride my own rhythm. I turned the corner onto the singletrack part of the climb and allowed myself to look back, noticing that I had established a reasonable gap. I recovered briefly then settled into as hard an effort I knew I could sustain until the top, having pre-ridden the climb three times the week prior.
As I crested the top of the climb feeling strong and satisfied that I gave a solid effort, Wayne Gorry handed me a bottle (thanks, Wayne!) and reminded me that I had a big gap and to just descend smoothly. I got into the flow, and knew immediately that all systems were go. I exited the eight mile segment of mostly descending singletrack and hit the final climb of our course, wringing out any last drop of power I had left in my legs.
As I crested the final hilltop, ready to descend the switchback-filled River Run trail to the finish, I mentally focused on being smooth, safe and conservative, not needing to take risks on the loose lower section of the descent. As I came to the final technical rock waterfall drop, I set up for the smooth line, shifted my weight back and rolled down it for the last time. Rounding the corner into the finish area, I heard announcer Larry Longo blasting my name over the PA, and the emotions and relief came over me as I crossed the line, arms up, so thankful to have come back from a broken body to a National Title.
Galena Grinder XCJuly 3, 2012
Ketchum, ID - June 30, 2012
Cat 1 40-49
Result: 1st (3rd pro/cat 1 combined)
Teammates: Zach Valdez (Pro), Matt McCourtney (Cat1 30-39)
When you hold a MTB race in a Nordic ski area, you know you're in for some good trails. But I had no idea how incredible the Galena course would be until I pre-rode it the day before the race. The course included a combination of short to long, challenging climbs, including the "grinder" which gained 1000 feet in one shot with three barely-rideable steep, loose pitches near the top; smooth, flowing trails, switchbacks, fast fire road connectors, all in the most beautiful setting imaginable, amid lush, green high mountains, meadows and streams.
The organizers started the Cat 1s and Pros together, so I made sure to line up at the front. Zach took off like he was shot from a cannon, and there was no way any of us - including the handful of pros - could hold his wheel. I was content to tempo with the next fastest guys, biding my time on the flattish opening stretch until the road kicked upward. As we started to climb, I realized that my legs were responding well on this day. I also knew that it was a long and challenging course, and I needed to meter my effort to be good in the last third of the race which held the toughest climb of the day.
As we finished the first loop of a three-leaf clover shaped course, I was sitting in second with Zach at least a minute up the road. A pro rider was catching up to me from behind and latched onto my wheel as we headed into the second segment of the course. He was working hard to stay with me and didn't want to pull through, but I knew that my pace was not even close to Zach's, so there was no risk of towing him up to challenge Zach's lead.
Starting the penultimate climb, I dropped my temporary race companion, but gained another as a strong local pro caught me and hit it up a steep section. Since I was racing for the Cat 1 placing, I didn't panic but used him as motivation and a gauge of my race fitness. When we hit the "grinder" I passed him back as he was walking his bike and I was able to ride the steepest pitches, taking all the top-end power and concentration I had.
Topping out well above 8000 feet, I started the main descent in the last few miles of the course. With Nationals XC the following weekend, I rode super-conservatively, taking no risks at all. Sure enough, the local pro caught back up to me and I let him by to follow his well-established lines down the fast trails. We chatted it up a bit as we raced toward the finish, and he had some nice things to say about the juniors and welcomed our team to Ketchum and the event.
As we hit the last couple of short climbs, I conceded some ground to him, pushing the hardest pace I could, content to consolidate my lead in the Cat 1 race and 3rd among the pros. We flowed through the trees and down the final switchbacks to the finish area and I rolled through the finish of my second race of the season. This may be the last time I get to race XC in the stars and stripes, so I made sure to enjoy it thoroughly.
Next stop, the National Championship XC race!
A huge congrats to all the Whole Athletes on the day! We won every category entered with Zach (pro), Matt (cat 1 30-39), Marcus (junior 15-18) and Josie (junior women) all earning victories as well. So inspiring and motivating...
MTB Marathon National ChampionshipsSeptember 19, 2011
MTB Marathon National Championships
09/17/11 - Bend, OR
As if cross country mountain bike races weren't hard enough, throw in double the distance and twice the duration and voila', you get marathon racing. Having never done a marathon race before, I figured why not just start with Nationals? OK, maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, but since I had to miss Marathon Worlds this year in my mom's hometown in Italy, US Nationals in beautiful Bend, OR was the next best thing.
The course wound its way from Bend along the Deschutes River through the National Forest up toward Mt. Bachelor, gradually climbing the whole way out up to 5300 ft, then gradually descending most of the way back along twisty, sandy singletrack, filled with occasional rocks, berms, jumps and trees.
We had the biggest field in the race, with three current and former cross country national champions. Our race started out fairly mellow with a five mile stretch on pavement. Once we entered the dirt, I made sure to be at the front, knowing a funneling steep pitch with a run up was ahead. I took the run up first, and over the top already had a gap. Since there was 50 miles of racing ahead, I made no attempt to consolidate my lead, but rather just rode steady awaiting the field to catch up. Sure enough, a small group reconnected and eventual second place finished from Colorado, Ross Delaplane (Feedback Sports) hit it hard up the first significant hill. I latched onto his wheel and wondered how much of this hard pace he could sustain. On the next pitch another rider pushed the pace, so I surfed the moves as it whittled down the front end of the field into a small group of six. On the next rise, it was my turn and at the top it was just me and 45+ XC National Champ Don Myrah (Ibis). We shared a couple pulls, then I took the hole shot into the first section of singleatrack and turned it up to full speed. I immediately got a gap and steadily opened it up as I pushed a moderately hard, but steady pace along the undulating trail.
By the feed zone about 20 miles into the race, I had a 45 second gap. I knew there was a lot of racing ahead, so I just worked to keep my effort steady and smooth without going too hard. Once I hit the furthest point out on the course, it turned to a smooth, straight fire road for a few miles and I kept my effort steady. I looked back along the straight road and saw a rider coming up. Could it be Myrah? I certainly was not going easy, so he seemed to be on a resurgent phase in his race. Sure enough, he bridged to me just before a small climb, so I pushed it hard up the rise, knowing he had to have made a fairly hard effort to get across the gap. I immediately opened a small gap back up again, grabbed another bottle in the next feed zone, and hit the singletrack with all the focus and speed I could muster. I knew that I had to have a perfect ride back to get a safe margin before the road stretch at the end.
I rode the trails as fast as my tires would allow, focusing on smoothness and flow, allowing the bike to carry maximum momentum wherever possible. I felt the flow and never let up, constantly giving myself positive self-talk and motivation despite the fatigue that crept in by the third hour of racing. Exiting the trails, I hit the pavement section for the last six miles of the race. I finished my fourth bottle of water, sucked down a GU and put my head down draining what was left in the tank. The course alternated between fire road, singletrack and pavement along the highway for the last few miles and I wondered more than once if the course would ever end. I looked back a few times to ensure I was in the clear and saw no one, but still never let up my pace.
As I rolled into the finishing venue, I heard the announcer call out my name and knew I had earned the title. Crossing the line with my arms up was a nice reward, then I stopped and slumped over my bike catching my breath. Dang that was hard, but the title made all the suffering worth it.
Skyline XC - Sierra CupJune 13, 2011
Skyline XC - Sierra Cup
Skyline Park, Napa, CA
Whole Athlete-Specialized Teammates: Will Curtis & Nick Newcomb (U23); Tony Smith, Max Houtzager, Eliel Anttila & Bobby Zidek (Junior); Sofia Hamilton, Kate Courtney, Mackinzie Stanley & Victoria Yoham (Junior)
Cat. 1 40+ (Pro and Cat 1 mass start)
Course: 3 x 9 mile laps
Result: 1st overall
When I think about the mountain bike races I most look forward to, there seems to be a recurring theme: super-challenging, lots of climbing, and highly technical. Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, but despite the punishing nature of the Skyline course, I relished the challenge. More than anything, having so many of my young teammates racing out there too was incredibly motivating. Our entire junior girls team showed up, along with four junior boys and two U23s. To be racing alongside them is like a de-ageing process. There is so much positive energy to go around and they really know how to put it out there in a race.
The race started out with all the pros and Cat 1 riders together, and I made sure to have a good spot at the front on the startline. Mark Weir (WTB-Cannondale) shot off the line and I followed his wheel until we hit the first climb. I immediately went to the front and settled into a hard but sustainable pace, knowing the climb was fairly long and with three tough laps ahead. As I ramped up the effort, the others seemed content to follow and by the top I had gained a small, five-second gap to the next four riders, two of whom were teammates Tony Smith and Will Curtis. Tony came across on the next section and I was stoked to have his company, so I started pulling even harder to increase our gap together.
We hit the first descent and my Stumpjumper 29er hardtail just ate up the rocky, technical terrain. By the start of the 2nd lap we had a 20-30 second gap to the next rider, so we regulated a bit up the climb to have something left in the tank for the final lap. Tony and I navigated our way through the lapped rider traffic on the mostly singletrack course, and seemed to be riding like a tandem around the course. On the last lap, I ramped it up on the climb, unloading the tank. We railed the final technical sections down last of the rocky drops, through the final switchbacks and singletrack flowing sections. We crossed the line side by side, hands together, arms up. Although the photo finish had my tire by a hair's width, since we were racing in separate categories, we actually both took the win!
Great job to everyone out there. It was an impressive showing by the entire WA-S team.
Whole Athlete-Specialized Juniors Wrap Up Successful High School SeasonMay 17, 2011
California State Titles and eight podium appearances at the NICA State
Championship Race in Los Olivos this weekend punctuated the Whole
Athlete-Specialized Team Juniors' success throughout the 2011 High
Lucas Newcomb (Drake High School) and Josie Nordrum (Redwood High
School) each took their respective Junior Varsity State Titles after
sweeping the entire NorCal series. "Mr. Consistency" Jonny Kaufman (San
Rafael High School) earned a well-deserved 2nd place behind Newcomb in
JV, while Taylor Smith (Marin Catholic High School) had his best ride of
the Spring to take 2nd in an extremely competitive Varsity field. Max
Houtzager (Redwood High School) also landed on the Varsity podium with a
solid 4th place. On the Varsity Girls side, Sofia Hamilton (Drake High
School), Kate Courtney (Branson High School) and Mackinzie Stanley
(Drake High School) rounded out the super-competitive ladies' podium
with 3rd, 4th and 5th places respectively.
the six NorCal and State High School races this season, Whole
Athlete-Specialized juniors earned 15 wins and 46 podium placings!
Congratulations to all the riders who competed at the State Championship
event, and for completing an outstanding season of High School racing.
Rockhopper ClassicMay 9, 2011
Many races call themselves "Classic" these days, but few share the history of the Rockhopper. The race began in the 1980s, not long before I first put a leg over a mountain bike myself. Of course, this was before suspension, before clipless pedals, before carbon fiber anything. In 1991 I did my first mountain bike race ever, and indeed it was the Specialized Rockhopper. It was such a popular, cool event, Specialized even named a bike after it...Fast forward 20 years later, and after more than a decade-long hiatus the Rockhopper is back, the return of a true classic. What better way to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of my first MTB race with the actual event I started with.
We lined up en mass for the signletrack-fest that lay ahead. We would take in three 10-mile laps with plenty of vertical and howling wind to challenge us, and as I looked around I could see a number of strong local pros, including fresh off the Spring ProXCTs Kevin Smallman (InCycle), Clint Claassen (Mad Cat) and Anthony Sinyard (Specialized), as well as Sonoma Country strongman Michael Hosey (Marin) and SoCal cross racer extraordinaire Brent Prenzlow (Celo Pacific). Tough competition, to say the least.
We started out way too fast for a 30 mile race, but logic be damned, I felt compelled to stick with the fastest guys. Sinyard was killing it up the first couple of short climbs, then lost it on a tricky corner at the bottom of the first steep descent and cracked his wheel. Smallman took over on the next climb and Prenzlow and Hosey slotted in, driving an entirely unsustainable pace up the next short climb. Didn't these guys know that we had three laps of this ahead? I hung on in fourth wheel, wondering what kind of carnage this would create among us come lap three.
Then Smallman pulls over with a mechanical and we're down to three. I take over the pace from there up the next, more sustained section of singletrack climbing, and when we opened out onto a brief fireroad connector, Hosey pulls through and I realize we're down to just the two of us. He drills it up the next section of climbing, standing on big gears. I try to stay seated, spinning to save the legs for the next two-plus laps ahead. I pull through for the descent and lead the remainder of the first lap, keeping a strong but sustainable pace.
We begin lap two and Hosey pulls through, driving it hard with a hurricane tailwind behind us. I let him lead the first shorter climbs of the lap to see what all that big gear riding on lap one did to his climbing speed. Fortunately for me, it seemed to have had a tenderizing affect, so when we hit the most sustained section of climbing, I took over the front to climb at my pace. Nearing the top of the climb, things got a lot quieter behind me and I notice that Hosey has dropped off the pace a bit. He's about ten bike-lengths back, so I keep up a solid pace without digging too deep knowing the final lap is still to come.
I roll through the start/finish alone with a ripping tailwind, entering the final round. This is it. This is where it all comes down. I know that Prenzlow and Claassen had ridden a much more sensible pace on lap one, so they would be hunting me down from behind. Hosey could get a second wind and catch back on if I were to fade. I needed to give it everything and ride a strong, smooth last lap. Rhythm and speed, using the gears, I surprisingly still had legs for the climbs and unloaded the tank. Railing the descents, no mistakes, smooth is fast. I topped out at the high point of the course, looked back and seemed to have a good gap, but it's never over until you cross the line. So I rode the last few miles like a cheetah-inspired gazelle. Descending down to the finish, I round the final corners then cross the line, arms up. A happy anniversary indeed. After 20 years, this Rockhopper title is one to remember.
Congrats to the Whole Athlete-Specialized Juniors for riding like champs. Max Houtzager wins the Junior men, while Sofia Hamilton and Josie Nordrum go 1-2 in the Junior Women!
Grasshopper - Geysers-Pine Flat ReportMay 4, 2011
Among Northern California's cycling cognoscenti, "Grasshopper" evokes a variety of images and emotions ranging from mud-covered legs to heat-soaked, salt-encrusted jerseys, from fear and loathing to respect and joy. It's the "Adventure Series" that promises true adventure each time, and today's 70 mile edition which included two Giro-like, heinously steep (and long) climbs - Geysers and Pine Flat - was no exception. We were in for a treat in the heat, taking in two of the toughest climbs in Sonoma County, finishing atop Pine Flat which peaks out at over 22% in the most unforgiving final mile of a climb you could conceivably put yourself through, but only after warming up up with a mere 7000 feet of climbing first. Like my friend Adam says, what it lacks in shallowness it makes up for in length. It's long but it's steep. Mad scientist of cycling routes and master of Hopper ceremonies Miguel Crawford thus concocted an itinerary worthy of being dubbed the Somona County Climbing Championship.
About 100 or so of us rolled out of Healdsburg ready to meet our maker in the form of gravity, asphalt and dirt. Only somewhat familiar with the route, I had done each of the two climbs one time before, but on separate occasions of course. The pace was mostly cordial for the first 30 minutes and I spotted most of the usual suspects patrolling the front. However, one notable addition to this Hopper field was Liquigas-Cannondale pro, Ted King. Recently returning to the US from a full Euro Classics campaign, Ted was in town preparing for the impending Tour of California. I guess an unusually cruel adventure to us mere mortals is a training-worthy route for a world class pro.
As we approached the base of the Geysers climb, the front end of the field sharpened to a fine point. This was my cue to get up there. We soon hit the first dirt section where the road - if you want to call it that - was washed out to a narrow singletrack. I laughed as someone behind me yelled "hole" to warn others and we navigated at high speed through the technical, pockmarked stretch that had clearly been a mud bog only days before. Then the road tilted up and the games began in earnest. Dr. Todd "Watch me blow the field apart" Weitzenberg decided there would be no waiting game, no warming up, no whiners as he whipped up the pace and wailed at the front, out of the saddle up the first of many silly-steep pitches of the day. I followed, Ted came along, as did about eight or ten other brave souls. It seemed early to be going this hard, but I figured it had to mellow out at some point...the top of Pine Flat weighing heavily on my mind.
Ted went directly to the front and pulled. Hard. And just stayed there pulling until it put the group down to about eight. He mentioned "when in doubt, lead it out" as he explained that it was safer that way. My legs didn't feel so safe, but I knew the front end was where I needed to be. The early part of the climb undulated quite a bit, and a few others ventured forth to pull as well. But any time the pace would slacken, Ted would make it "safer" for us. Very thoughtful of him...
Our front group was now down to five but I didn't dare glance back at the carnage behind, for fear of my legs turning to stone. We worked together cooperatively up the relatively steady and gradual section of the climb, knowing that right around the corner was the fear-inspiring, steep badness that defines the Geysers climb. We soon turned onto the smooth asphalt that marks the beginning of true vertical suffering and Ted went right to work, accelerating away. I chose instinct over intelligence, recklessness over reason and went after him. What the heck was I thinking? Didn't I know what lay ahead?
Ted and I immediately opened a gap on the others, as we were grinding away up the unrelentingly steep road. I was fully redlined when the elastic began to stretch. A few bike lengths opened up, then a few more. Not wanting to blow the motor, I had to stick with my pace. I felt there was still gas in the tank so I kept the the pedal down. After about ten minutes, I realized we were finally coming to the top of this savage steepness. I looked back and the others were out of sight. Ted was not too far ahead and I yelled up to him, hoping he was interested in some company. Not needing my help, but perhaps someone to share the view with, we regrouped just over the top and he went right back to his safety dance. I was immediately put into difficulty once again, wondering what the heck I was thinking, or if I was in for a nuclear meltdown on Pine Flat.
We descended like stones, and I was barely able to stay with my travel companion downhill as we navigated the washed out sections of road, high-speed stretches of gravel, and general vertical-ness of the Geyser's backside. Il Falco flies again, this time in the form of Ted King. We finally climbed the last part of the Geysers and shortly after, stopped to bring water on board thanks to Jim Keane's well-placed feed station. Then dropping to the bottom of the descent, I caught back up and we vaulted through the vineyards at high velocity. I ate and drank, praying for something left in my legs, knowing, anticipating, dreading what was next. We then made that fateful left turn onto the biggest badass of the day. Pine Flat.
Ted's safety dance went on like a song that just wouldn't end, and he just pulled and pulled at a ridiculous pace. It was like motorpacing for days as I kept reading the Italian phrase on the back of his shorts telling me to decorate my house. I guess I know where to get furniture next time I'm in Italy...Pulling me from images of modern living room elegance back to suffering and pain, Ted turns to me and mentions to just say so if I want to pull. I found this quite humorous, and just complemented him on his pace, content to have held his wheel for this long. Then I asked myself for how much longer I could stay with him up this final climb.
Going through the stages of hell, Dante's inferno was Pine Flat with Ted King. But you've made it this far, so getting dropped is not an option. The stubbornness of my cycling insanity overtakes reason as I quell the raging protest in my legs with mental tear gas. Ted was benevolent and patient and seemed to help keep me on board, and I realized that pacing up a climb really does work when you're at your absolute limits. The final section of the climb, a series of the steepest, most unforgiving brutality of asphalt gradients I could imagine kept slapping me in the face. Ted started calling out the gradient from his GPS, laughing when after seeing 22-23% it just stopped reading. He tells me this is what the Giro is like, climbs that have pitch after pitch of unreasonably steep segments that seemed to go on without end. Well, I guess this is the closest I would come to racing a grand tour stage...We finally make it to the top and roll in together, like teammates for a day. I am honored by a truly gracious professional, as I take the top prize. A few minutes later, a breathless Dr. Todd rolls in - on a rear flat no less - having blown his tire on the steepest pitch. As if the climbing weren't hard enough.
Congrats to all who finished the day. Just riding that route was an accomplishment. Until the next sufferfest...
Swenson on a TearApril 26, 2011
Swenson continued his winning ways by taking the top spot in the pro
field at the Utah State Championship Series #1 at Lambert Park. At only
stop for Swenson? Europe and the Junior World Cup in Offenburg, Germany
on May 28th! Also joining Keegan at the European Race Camp from the
Whole Athlete-Specialized Squad will be teammate Max Houtzager.
Sea Otter MTB Cross CountryApril 21, 2011
Sea Otter MTB Cross Country
Monterey, CA - April 15, 2011
2 x 20 mile laps, >3500 ft of climbing per lap
Cat 1 40-44 (35 starters)
They say the third time's a charm. And after two years of 2nd place finishes, it was very satisfying to finally take the win on a challenging course among a stacked masters field. Both winners from the previous two years lined up, Rich Thurman and Todd Booth, as well as Mark Legg-Compton (Katie's husband and training partner) and Kenny Wehn, the second place finisher from Fontana. With a distance that borders on a MTB Marathon, over 7000 ft of climbing and strong winds, I knew it was going to be a tough day out there.
We started with a half-lap on the racetrack before entering the dirt, and I made sure to stay near the front to avoid any mishaps. As the road kicked up and we turned onto the fire road, Rich Thurman began a series of attacks as though we were doing a 20-mile race, rather than 40. I tried to be as conservative with my energy as I could, but right away we split off of the main field into a group of six (including all the favorites) so I needed to stick with the pace. After the initial section of fast fire road descending, I maneuvered past everyone to take the first short, steep climb in front, knowing that a good line and hard effort would enable me to be near the front on the singletrack descent that followed soon after. I felt strong and was able to get into the singletrack first, so I just pinned it down the twisty, sandy, occasionally off-camber trail. I could tell there was at least one rider behind me, sort of yo-yo-ing by the sound of it. We crossed over to the first significant climb and I realized that it was Mark Legg-Compton with me, and already some daylight behind us.
Leading up the climb, I purposely rode a higher cadence, keeping a strong by sustainable pace that I could maintain over the long-haul. At the top of the climb, Mark came through and really nailed it up the next pitch, out of the saddle. I had to dig deep to stay with him. I looked back and say Kenny Wehn was not far behind, but after a number of surges by Mark, we were going clear of him. Mark's pace was harder than I wanted to go on lap one, but I realized that we had an advantage working together in the windy conditions. We went pull for pull, sharing the work evenly. I noticed that he would get out of the saddle and push bigger gears on any moderate to steeper pitches on the climbs, while I tried to spin lighter gears staying seated when possible, saving my legs for lap two. I wondered if it would be possible to beat this guy as he was putting me into difficulty on some of the climbs.
As we started lap two, I began thinking about how I could possibly get away from Mark. Would I try to attack on the final fire road section into the headwind? Maybe earlier on the course? He seemed really strong on the climbs, and could stick with me on the descents, but I wasn't ready to accept yet another 2nd place finish. So I watched carefully for any holes in his game. After the first singletrack descent and subsequent climb, I realized that I was feeling pretty good even though lap one was hard. On the next climb, Mark led and I noticed he was going considerably slower than the previous lap. He started making some subtle mistakes in picking his lines, and I could tell that he was starting to show signs of fatigue. I kept a close eye and thought about where I would try to make my move. On one of the longer fire road climbs halfway through the lap, I chose to lead and set a pace I knew I could hold. On lap one, Mark was killing me up the same climb, so I was ready for an attack to come from behind. After a few minutes however, it got really quiet. I looked back and Mark was gone! I had no idea what had happened to him but I wasn't about to wait and find out. I put my head down and settled into a strong pace, knowing that I had a long way to go it alone. I told myself: "Focus, smooth, even power, no mistakes, dink, eat, control your effort. You can do this..."
As I entered the final, notorious stretch of wide-open fireroad that climbs 1000 feet in three miles into a roaring cross-headwind, I got low and settled into a pace my legs could handle without cramping. At this point, the cumulative fatigue had seeped into my muscles and I could tell that if I tried to push harder, I might not make it. I looked back a few times and would see the riders I passed from other groups, but couldn't tell if Mark or even Kenny was coming up from behind. When I hit the final pitch, I really poured it on. "No mistakes, smooth, strong, it's your race..." Coming across the line with arms up, I felt a huge wave of relief and satisfaction. The third time was indeed a charm.
Congrats to all the Whole Athletes who raced out there! It was inspiring to see such enthusiasm and dedication.
Whole Athlete-Specialized Team Golden Across CaliforniaMarch 14, 2011
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.
Will Patterson took a well-deserved solo victory in the UC Berkeley Crockett Road Race.
Amateur Road Racing - Madera Stage Race - Madera, CA
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.
Lake Sonoma MTB XCMarch 7, 2011
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) in a crash, but amazingly got a bike change from Taylor's dad and still finished the race. Way to stick it out, Riley. Meanwhile in the junior race, Taylor and Bobby were busy rocking their competitors world...I'll let them tell that story.
Next stop: Bonelli Park.
Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team Kicks Off the 2011 Season with 3 Wins in 2 Days!February 22, 2011
The Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team kicked off the 2011 season in style over the Presidents' Day Weekend, taking three wins in two days and in two disciplines. Alec Kassin started the momentum with a win in the Cat 3 Cantua Creek Road Race on Sat, while Nick Newcomb quickly followed suit on Sunday with the victory in the Pine Flat Road Race.
Meanwhile on the dirt, Riley Predum won the TBF Challenge XC in his first race as a U23 Pro.
Dirt Rollin' with Todd, Lea and friendsFebruary 7, 2011
(MCBC). The Whole Athlete-Specialized Team juniors were out in force
supporting two organizations that simply help make cycling better for
had the opportunity to ride some of our favorite trails with current
MTB cross country, short track and cyclocross National Champion Todd
Wells, and Specialized Pro MTB racer Lea Davidson. Thanks to everyone
who helped make it such a great event!
Add one more National ChampionOctober 13, 2010
Zach Valdez earned the team's sixth National Championship title of 2010 by winning the 24 hour junior team Nationals race in Moab, UT. Congratulations, Zach!!
A Long Ride UpOctober 4, 2010
A Long Ride Up: the story of my surgeries and recovery
By MacKinzie Stanley
Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) …I’m sure most of you have never heard of it and I can guarantee that you don’t ever want to experience it. The real definition has something to do with ‘ a hip preserving procedure’ and ‘acetabular dysplasia’, but it really boils down to this: a surgeon slices the hip open, carves out the hip socket, repositions it, screws the bone back in and then sews it all back up. The recovery time is six months, but it takes a year until you are fully recovered. Yes, if you are all wondering at this point, I did have PAO, twice, two years in a row, and both times I came back and raced the last two races of the high school mountain bike season…And I have to tell you, it wasn’t easy.
My first surgery was at the end of October 2008, but I had learned about my predicament and my need for PAO a month or so earlier. I didn’t know what to expect going into the surgery and didn’t really believe people about how hard it was going to be so it came as a real slap in the face when the surgery recovery was really hard, in fact it was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever experienced. And it wasn’t fast either. For the first month, I was focused entirely on the pain and on accomplishing little things for myself, such as sitting down and getting up from a chair on my own and forcing myself to drink a shake or a eat a few raspberries. The nights were the hardest; waking up every two hours because of the pain and sleeping on my back with props so I didn’t aggravate my hip. There were times that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get through it; it was hard to see my progress and even harder to see an end. Somehow I made it to six weeks, though, and started walking again. After Christmas break, I went back to school a few classes at a time and struggled to do the homework assigned and catch up with what I had missed.
At 3 months, I began to bike to school and in April I started mountain biking and training with the Drake MTB team. I still remember that first encounter with the team. It was probably sometime in January because it was raining and I was still using crutches at school. I went to the weight room to hand in my ‘application forms’ and encountered about 15-20 kids and an older guy on spinners, after I had navigated through a network of sweaty teenagers working out on the machines. I felt completely out of place on my crutches with a bulky backpack on, but bravely approached the older guy who I assumed was the coach and proceeded to explain what I was there for with the accompaniment of many ‘ums’. I soon came to know him as coach Paul. The season progressed and I ended up racing the last two races of the year and placing 6th and 3rd respectively. It was a whole new experience, mountain biking, and although I wasn’t too sure of it when I first started, I grew to love it. It was so rewarding for me to be able to find a new sport that I enjoyed and could participate in even as I was recovering from surgery.
I enjoyed biking mountain biking for the rest of the school year and through summer, even joining the newly formed girls Whole Athlete team. However there was a lot of work involved as well. I wanted to run cross-country in the fall and to do that I needed to be able to run and to be able to run I had to relearn it from the ground up. It took months for me to finally catch up to my normal ability level, but by November the running finally clicked and I knew all the training was worth it to be able to compete so competitively. And so it happened that I was in peak fitness level by the time my next surgery came around at the end of November 2009, a month later than the one a year previously. It was hard to keep the upcoming surgery from my mind in the weeks beforehand, but keeping up a busy schedule of schoolwork, cross-country and biking helped. I have never wanted something so badly before as I wanted this surgery not to take place. I had worked my way up for a year from the very bottom to get to this point and in no way whatsoever did I have any inclination to put myself through the whole thing again.
I did go through with it and the surgery went much the same as before, except more smoothly and not quite so harshly since I knew what to expect. And always throughout the recovery I had my goal in mind: racing on my mountain bike at state. Somewhere along the way however, I got it into my head that I wanted to participate in the race before state as well, even though it was merely five months after my surgery. Having a goal that I was really passionate about reaching helped me get through the rough decisions I had to make every day. Because when it came down to it, it wasn’t my decision to race the last two races of the year that mattered, it was the small decisions to train and work hard each day that made the difference in the end.
At six weeks after the surgery I started walking, at three months I started biking to school and soon after I started to ride my road bike, gradually building up my endurance and speed. Since my doctor was adamant about no mountain biking until six months post surgery, I got to spend a lot of time on my sweet new road bike. I paid my doctor a visit the Friday before the second to last race of the season and he gave me that OK to race even though it was only five months post surgery, not six.
So that Sunday I raced in the JV girls category and placed 6th, even though, besides the pre-ride and an hour ride the weekend before, I hadn’t ridden my mountain bike for the past five months. Pumped by my success, I went into State feeling good, but worried about the massive hills, of which I still had trouble with. Nevertheless, I raced, thoroughly enjoyed the course and snagged another 6th place. To top off the day, Drake ended up winning a 2nd state champs in a row, something never done before and I was elated having been a part of such a historic event.
Relaxing after the race, I looked back on how much effort it took to get me to where I was and realized it was so, so worth it just to be here and experience the comradeship of my teammates and the feeling of success because all my efforts had been worthwhile.
Juniors successful on both road and dirtSeptember 22, 2010
Whole Athlete Juniors wrapped up the 2010 racing season in style with success across multiple disciplines.
Riley Predum won the 49th Mt. Tamalpais Hillclimb Junior race, while teammates Nick Newcomb, Will Curtis, Tony Smith and Colby Pastore were 3rd, 4th, 5th and 8th respectively.
The team's success on the road followed only one week after Zach Valdez took the final round of the US Cup Series at Bonelli Park and the Junior Cat 1 Overall Title, winning every event he entered.
And if that doesn't show the incredible range of ability in the team, Max Houtzager takes an impressive 2nd place in the Pro/open Northstar Super-D.
Road, dirt, gravity - these kids are multi-talented on two wheels!
2010 Junior MTB XC World ChampionshipsSeptember 7, 2010
Four Whole Athlete Juniors to the World Championships!August 12, 2010
Four Whole Athlete Juniors have been selected to represent the United States at the Mountain Bike World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne, Canada on Sept 1-4:
Sofia Hamilton, Will Curtis, Zach Valdez and Tony Smith.
The Whole Athlete riders comprise half the eight-rider USA Junior team competing at the World Championships. All four will also race the World Cup Final in Windham, NY the week before Worlds, getting a taste of the competition they will face at the pinnacle event of the sport.
In her breakout season which includes wins at the Fontana Pro XCT and Tamarancho Classic, second at the Sea Otter Classic and a silver medal at the National Championships, Sofia is on track for a stellar racing career.
Mr. Consistency, Will has been on the podium in virtually every big race of the year, including 1st at the Tamarancho Classic and Howell Mountain, 2nd in Fontana, 4th at the Sea Otter and 4th at Nationals. Will is the California High School State Champion and is ready to take the next step.
Zach has racked up the most wins for the team this season, including the Fontana ProXCT, the San Dimas US Cup, the Kenda Cup and SoCal High School series. He placed 2nd at the Sea Otter Classic and 2nd in the CA State High School Champs. Next stop: the World Cup.
We always knew Tony was strong, even at age 15. Now as a 17/18 Junior, Tony has taken his game to the next level, with strong performances in the NorCal High School Series, 2nd overall at the ProXCT CTS International Stage Race and a breakthrough result at Nationals in 3rd.
Transcontinental PodiumsAugust 9, 2010
From California to Canada, Whole Athlete juniors are landing on the podium, sweeping the Howell Mountain Classic in Angwin, CA with Will Curtis, Tony Smith and Nick Newcomb in the Junior Men, Sofia Hamilton & Kate Courtney in the Junior Women, while Max Houtzager takes the top step at the BC Cup Finals Race in Whistler, Canada.
Rounding out the top-10 at Howell Mountain were Taylor Smith and Colby Pastore in 5th and 6th.
Great job everyone, for a successful weekend!
Nick Newcomb 3rd, Will Curtis 1st & Tony Smith 2nd - WA juniors took five of the top-six spots in the Juniors, while Will Curtis and Tony Smith were 2nd and 3rd overall including the pros.
For more info on the Whole Athlete Program visit wholeathletecyclingteam.blogspot.com
National Champs Day 3July 17, 2010
Day 20 - National Champs Day 3 - Three more titles!!
It was the Whole Athlete Team Coaches' turn to race, and race they did, taking three National Titles!
Dario Fredrick - Cat 1 40-44 Champion
Helene Drumm - Cat 1 40-44 Champion
Abbie Durkee - Cat 1 35-39 Champion
Crisis AvertedJune 25, 2010
On the eve of the team's biggest trip of the year, when 20 Whole Athlete kids prepare to head to the mountains for three weeks to acclimate, train and compete at the National Championships, one of the kids breaks her bike...
With one workday left in the week and an early Monday morning departure in store, what do we do?
Rely on the generous and extraordinary support of our sponsors.
Ian and Garth at Specialized went out of their way to assure that our rider would have a bike in time for the team camp. Bryce at Tam Bikes made sure the bike would be assembled and ready to go for our departure. Without hesitation, they stepped up and made it happen. Crisis averted.
The accomplishments of the Whole Athlete Team and its riders may be impressive, with 50 wins to date, including multiple high school and junior cat 1 state champions. But our athletes do not achieve success by their efforts alone. The heros behind the scenes are rarely seen or mentioned, and without them we could not succeed. I want to send a huge thank you out to all our tremendous supporters. Without you were are just a bunch of cyclists. With you, we are a successful team.
The Whole Athlete Team shows its class at the Tamarancho Dirt ClassicJune 8, 2010
Held in our backyard on the trails we ride regularly as a team, the Tamarancho Dirt Classic was a local event not to be missed. A junior nationals qualifier and Allison Dunlap Junior MTB Series Race, Whole Athlete Juniors chose to make this a target event. Not only did they represent, but the kids rode with tremendous heart and skill, taking the top spots in every category, sweeping the Cat 1 junior boys and girls events.
Mountain bike legend, multiple national and world champion, Ned Overend showed up to challenge a strong handful of local pros, but it was Marin local and Team Director Dario Fredrick who took the top spot in the pro race.
Jim Hewett, Ned Overend & Dario Fredrick up Dead Heifer
Max Houtzager shows the singlespeeders how it's done.
Will Patterson making the 28% gradient Dead Heifer look easy.
Kate Courtney and Sofia Hamilton
Taylor Smith was the fastest 15-16 Cat 1 rider on the day.
Bobby Zidek on his way to wining the Cat 2 15-18 race.
The Camp Tamarancho Boy Scout motto is most appropriate.
Girls' Team coach, Abbie Durkee comes out of "retirement" to show that she's still got it!
Whole Athletes took top honors in nearly every category raced, sweeping the podium in the junior boys and girls Cat 1 events.
For full race results and video please check out the Whole Athlete Team Blog
Junior Points Series Leader Gets Specialized SupportJune 1, 2010
2009 District Road Champion and current Junior Points Series leader Nick Newcomb needed a time trial bike. With road (and TT) Junior Nationals next month, and a key time trial stage in the Junior Points Series next weekend, aero equipment quickly became a necessary evil. Specialized responded to the call with a Transition TT machine.
Like a glove, the bike fit Nick perfectly. Thanks, Ian, Ryan and the S-crew in Morgan Hill!
NICA State Champions!May 17, 2010
Will Curtis became the second Whole Athlete junior in two years to sweep the NorCal High School Varsity series and win the California State Championship, outsprinting WA teammate Zack Valdez (who swept the SoCal Varsity series). Freshman Kate Courtney followed suit, sweeping the Girls Junior Varsity and taking the State Title as well.
The WA kids' top-10 Championships results are almost too good to believe...
1st Will Curtis Varsity
1st Kate Courtney Junior Varsity Girls
2nd Zach Valdez Varsity
2nd Sofia Hamilton Varsity Girls
2nd Taylor Smith Junior Varsity
3rd Tony Smith Varsity
3rd Victoria Yoham Varsity Girls
5th Riley Predum Varsity
6th Nick Newcomb Varsity
6th MacKinzie Stanley Junior Varsity Girls
7th Joe Yoham Varsity
8th Max Hotzager Junior Varsity
9th Will Patterson Varsity
10th Davis Bentley Varsity
Two Races, Two Wins: Whole Athlete Juniors victorious on both road and dirtMay 10, 2010
Saturday 05/08/10: Colby Pastore wins the Lake Sonoma MTB Cross Country Junior Expert race. Taylor Smith finishes 4th despite a broken chain.
Sunday 05/09/10: Will Curtis wins the Berkeley Hills Junior 17/18 Road Race for the second consecutive year. Teammates Tony Smith and Colby Pastore take 4th and 6th.
Max Houtzager takes 3rd in the CCCX Junior Cat 1 Downhill.
Whole Athlete Juniors on Top at High School League Races Across the StateMay 4, 2010
Whole Athlete juniors took wins in every category raced at both the NorCal and SoCal High School League races over the weekend. Zach Valdez won the Varsity race in SoCal, while Will Curtis took the NorCal Varsity event. Joining Will on the podium to take four of the top five spots were Tony Smith (3rd), Nick Newcomb (4th) and Alec Kassin (5th). Freshman Taylor Smith also won the boys Junior Varsity race.
In the girls Varsity race, Sofia Hamilton continued her incredible Spring form with the win, followed by Victoria Yoham with a strong 3rd place, while Kate Courtney took a convincing victory in the girls Junior Varsity.
Not only were Whole Athlete juniors successful in cross country this weekend, but our resident gravity expert Max Houtzager, coming back from a knee injury that delayed his XC season, scored a strong 2nd place in the Junior Cat 1 the Fluid Ride Enduro Downhill in Hood River, OR.
Whole Athlete Junior Development Team Discovers Sea Otter SuccessApril 21, 2010
Marin County-based Whole Athlete Cycling Team continued a successful Spring campaign at the Sea Otter Classic. Following dominant performances at the Bonelli Park US Cup and Fontana Pro XCT races, the squad kept its momentum rolling with an astounding 14 podium appearances at the three-day Sea Otter event in Monterey, CA.
Cat 1 Junior 17/18: 1st Mitch Bailey, 2nd Zach Valdez,
3rd Seth Kemp (not pictured) 4th Will Curtis, 5th Nick Newcomb
Cat 1 Junior Girls 15-18: 1st Essence Barton, 2nd Sofia Hamilton,
3rd Shayna Powless, 4th Kendall Ryan (not pictured), 5th Kate Courtney
Zach Valdez found his winning streak in XC Cat 1 17-18 broken by 2008 Canadian National Champion Mitch Bailey, but managed a more than respectable 2nd place, while teammates Will Curtis and Nick Newcomb took 4th and 5th respectively. Newcomb also went on to place 3rd in the Cat 4 Circuit Race, securing his upgrade to Cat 3 on the road. Sofia Hamilton continued her rise to the top by following her win at Fontana with a convincing 2nd place in XC Cat 1 15-18 girls, while 14 year-old Kate Courtney took the 5th spot on the podium.
With the best Specialized bikes, yoga among the Monterey cypress and groceries from Whole Foods Market, the team was well taken care of for the weekend. Here are some of the team's recipes for success:
* Organic Whole Foods Red Quinoa with 365 Everyday Value garbanzo beans and organic veggies (carrots, peppers, zucchini) cooked in garlic, 365 Everyday Value extra virgin olive oil, and dried Italian spices.
* Organic Whole Foods free range chicken, 365 Everyday Value black beans cooked in extra virgin olive oil, and dried italian spices, organic brown rice, lettuce, avocados, tomato, cheddar cheese, Amy's organic salsa and 365 Everyday Value whole wheat tortillas.
* Organic Whole Foods rolled oats, walnuts, raisins, apples and bananas, 365 Everyday Value soy milk, organic eggs, juices, whole grain bread, 365 Everyday Value organic peanut butter and jams.
The Sea Otter classic marks the last of the national-level spring targets for the Whole Athlete Cycling Team. Even bigger goals come later in the year: an altitude camp in Lake Tahoe at the end of June, US MTB National Championships in Colorado in July, and the World Cup Finals in New York in August. From regional races to international competition, team members are learning to compete (and succeed) at the highest levels.
Epic(s)April 9, 2010
Honestly, I am blown away. All this time, I never thought that one bike could do it all. You either had the lightweight-stiffness of a hardtail, or the smoothness and compliance of a full-sus, but low and behold - the Epic has married the two. It took me a couple rides to get the suspension dialed-in for me, and my goodness it's a freakin' rocket ship! It accelerates so well out of corners that I have had to adjust my riding style. It just wants to go fast. --DF
Yes, indeed. They have finally arrived. The first team ride with all the new Epics, and the reviews are in (actual quotes):
"This is the best bike in the world." --WC
"It just wants to go fast!" --WP
"This is the best I have ever felt on a bike." --VY
Phenomenal FontanaMarch 29, 2010
An all-blue Junior boys Cat 1 podium. 1st, 3rd and 4th for the junior girls. Twelve podium placings in total. While the pictures can't possibly do the weekend justice, perhaps they're worth a few words.
San Dimas & NorCal, Take Two...March 22, 2010
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. Whole Athlete juniors took five 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.
Bonelli Park US Cup XCMarch 16, 2010
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
September 17, 2012
August 27, 2012
July 20, 2012
July 11, 2012
July 3, 2012
September 19, 2011
June 13, 2011
May 17, 2011
May 9, 2011
May 4, 2011
April 26, 2011
April 21, 2011
March 14, 2011
March 7, 2011
February 22, 2011
February 7, 2011
October 13, 2010
October 4, 2010
September 22, 2010
September 7, 2010
August 12, 2010
August 9, 2010
July 17, 2010
June 25, 2010
June 8, 2010
June 1, 2010
May 17, 2010
May 10, 2010
May 4, 2010
April 21, 2010
April 9, 2010
March 29, 2010
March 22, 2010
March 16, 2010