Month: November 2006

Emma’s Collegiate Season Recap

I went into the 2006 MTB Season totally pumped and ready to end the Cal Poly SLO dynasty. With 11 total conference wins and 9 in row, Cal Cycling simply had to stop them just short of their decade of dominance.
My personal goals for the season were to end up top-5 overall for the WA omnium, to win a race, to get more Women’s B riders on the team, and to have a ton of fun! Incredibly enough, I achieved all those goals by the end of the 2006 season. This past season our team was HUGE with tons of new members, some ‘dedicated DHers’, and a slew of new women. It was incredible how many new riders dedicated themselves to the mountain season, travelling all the way South to Pomona and all the way North to Reno just to race. We had a full squad at every event and riders that could win in every category. In fact, Cal Cycling held the Leader’s Jersey for the WCCC in 4 of 5 total categories the ENTIRE season. This was a huge source of pride for me as the beaming women’s mountain biking captain- seeing Maureen (WA’s leader) and Kim (WB’s leader) battling all season to maintain their leads.
For the majority of the season, I was in 4th place in the WA’s omnium. Last year I won the overall series for WAs, which was a huge accomplishment. This season I wanted to focus more on helping out our new women racers and our placing as a team overall. I still did all the races and all of the events, but with my awesome team-mate Maureen in the lead for WA’s, I didn’t feel the need to ferociously chase points for the omnium. Still, it was a pretty successful season for me. I did well in a lot of the XC events and surprised myself in a few DH events too. I got a slew of 4th places, lots of 3rds and 2nds, and I even got a 1st place finish too. At the Pomona race, Maureen and I were riding together at the front of the race the entire time, passing eachother back and forth, encouraging each other, and pushing the pace. It was a great race (tons of fun) and I ended up finishing just ahead of her for my first XC win!
Another big race for me was the XC at Bogg’s Demonstration Forest. This was an epic 26 mile race through the Redwoods with lots of climbing and descending on lush singletrack trails. Last year I suffered like a dog at this race, coming in a distant 5th place in a race that took me over 4 hours. This year I was determined to do better. I had an ok start but after a few agressive passes on the fireroad, I was in 5th place heading into the singletrack- my two teamates (Maureen and Stacy) in the lead followed by Marion (UNR) and Nicole (Chico). I managed to pass Nicole on a technical climb and caught up to Marion’s wheel. I stayed right on her as we weaved up the steady climb with Mo and Stacy not far ahead. Fpr some strange reason, I was feeling really strong and nailing the technical climbs. I noticed Marion start to ease off so I seized the moment and politely passed her. She easily stayed close behind me, but after a while, I noticed the gap between her and me widen as the gap between me and my team mates shortened. Before I knew it, I was cruising behind Mo and Stacy in 3rd place. I continued to ride strong the whole race, ejoying the sweet singletrack and trying to eat and stay hydrated. At one point, I even passed Stacy on a descent which is pretty cool because she’s super Pro! :). I ended up finishing the race in under 3 hours even after cramping on the last hill. It was the first time that I beat Marion in a race all season (she just upgraded to Pro and is riding very strong). Not only that, but Cal took 1-3 in the WAs with Mo winning, Stacy in 2nd, and me in 3rd! It was awesome!
Come conferences (which the Cal team hosted), I was sitting in 4th place in the WA overall omnium and knew that a good performance that weekend was key to doing well overall. I didn’t have a stellar result (6th in the DH and 4th in the “LTXC”- we had a 3 mile “long track race” after the XC was rained out on Sat), but I had tons of fun and was riding really well on the rocky climb (beating Marion the first lap). The weekend ended up working in my favor though because Nicole didn’t show up and Marion had to miss the DH for a CX race. This bumped me up to 2nd overall for the season in the WAs! I was pretty surprised and it felt great to stand on the podium with Maureen in 1st place and me in 2nd (reverse what it was last year).
All in all, it was another awesome collegiate MTB season with 5 weekends of racing, 17 events, and Cal ending the season in 1st place as a team.

Cal Cycling: 2006 MTB Conference Champions!!!
Sorry for being sort of MIA of late. Things have been crazy with our recent move across town, midterms, and the collegiate racing season in full swing…
But, some very exciting news, UC Berkeley’s Cal Cycling mountain bike team just won conference championships for the west coast! We finally took down Cal Poly SLO who had won for 9 years in a row! It was a very close victory, with Cal winning by a mere 28 points. This is the first time that Cal Cycling has won mountain bike conferences (our team has traditionally been better known for its sucesses on the road) and Tsering and I are stoked! I like to think that a lot of the team’s success is owed to Tsering and his passion for the dirt. He has been instramental in rebuilding UC Berkeley’s mountain squad into the power- house team we are today. Here’s to many more years of fun and domination on the dirt!
Go Bears!!! -E