Month: March 2013

Bonelli Park Pro XCT

Ok, so this race was almost 2 weeks ago, but my lack of punctuality in writing a post does not reflect what an awesome weekend Bonelli turned out to be.
Bonelli Park was my first Pro XCT, resulting in a lot of nerves at the starting line of the cross country race on Saturday. The call ups included such accomplishments as 2 time Olympian, multiple time national champion, and even an xterra world champion. My goal was to not finish last, and not get pulled during the 5 lap race that was composed of 3.8 mile laps full of steep punchy climbs and awesomely off camber transitions. The start was the fastest thing I have ever experienced, and after a short parade lap the field was already pretty shattered. I fell into about 9th position somewhere on the first full lap, after passing a few girls on the first climb. This was probably the hardest 3.8 miles I have ridden, which left me wondering how on earth I would finish 4 more laps. I worked as hard as possible for the next 3 laps, got passed by one woman, and tried my hardest to stay with her. On the fourth lap I realized my seat post was significantly lower than when I had started the race, which could account for not feeling stellar on the steep climbs. I got passed once more on lap 5 leaving me in 11th place for the day.
The Super D was a few hours after the cross country race. It was mellow, had quite a bit of pavement and grass, and a few significant climbs. I went into it with fairly low expectations, and looking to get some experience and finished 6th.
Sunday there was a short track race to round out the triple crown combo. I have only raced 2 short track races before, so I was the least nervous about this one because I was certain I would get pulled. Fortunately, I didn’t get pulled, but it was the hardest 15 minutes of my life. I finished 9th, after a pretty stupid crash 2 laps before the finish. It was super fun riding in the back of a group of such legit pro women!

Vail Lake Challenge

Vail Lake was the first race of my 2013 season, and my first official pro race ever. The course was very similar to last year, but of course the upgrade from expert to pro meant I got to race one more of the 8 mile laps than last year, and I got to start with the pro men and women. After a quick warm up, I lined up with the only 2 other pro women and nervously chatted them up. The group was fast off the line, but I had decided to sit in the back for a lap to feel out the pace of a pro race. About 5 minutes later I was somehow in front on the first moderate climb, reverting to my old habit of going out too fast and destroying myself on lap 1. Vail Lake has a fun little climb that lasts about 10 minutes, and is followed by 20 ish minutes of fun, flowy, punchy single track, and one mile long fire road stretch with a roaring head wind.  By the end of the first lap I had only been overtaken by a few expert men, and I was remembering why I love mountain bike racing so much. Lap 2 was pretty darn painful, but seemed to go by pretty quick, and on lap 3 I was convinced there MUST be a pro woman on my heels. I dug deep on the lap 3 climb hoping to put some distance between me and any opponents, and suffered through some epic calf cramps for the remaining 7 miles of the race. I was pretty happy and a little shocked to cross the line in first place. The mechanic/husband was there to inform me that I had a huge lead the whole race, meaning my paranoia of being passed had only served as a training tool. I didn’t get to race a sweet Marin bike, but this race got me pumped for the season, and I am looking forward to hop on a Marin hard tail this weekend for #2 in the Kenda Cup Series at Bonelli Park!
Oh yeah, and no podium pics because I had poison oak all over my legs, it wasn’t a pretty or flattering sight 🙂
-Larissa Fitchett

2013 Team Lost Coast Brewery Race Team Riders

Left to Right: Larissa Fitchett, Nicole Garcia, Emma Worldpeace, Bekah Rottenburg

Left to Right: Ethan Black, Brian Astell, Daniel Stuart, Trevor Pratt, Matt Whittler 

LCB Team Training Camp 2013- Santa Cruz

February is here and with it came the Lost Coast Brewery mountain bike team training camp 2013.  This year we were very lucky to stay in a beautiful vacation house seconds from the ocean in sunny Santa Cruz, California.  I convinced my good friend Michael Smelser to drive, and we were packed and out of Ashland after work thursday night.  We made it to the Riba residence in Aptos after midnight and after a long, exhausting drive.  We woke up early friday morning for breakfast with long lost friends and a sneak peak ride of some trails to be ridden that weekend on the UCSC campus.  After a couple laps and great company from the locals, we headed back to town to find the vacation rental for the weekend.  the house was huge, with two bedrooms and 4 bunks we had a lot of room.  
We had several hours to burn before the rest of the team trickled in so Austin, Michael, and myself headed straight for the nearest burritos and back to the couch where we channel surfed with our feet up.  soon enough we were joined by the whole crew, Danny, Bekah, Emma, Ethan, Matt, and Larissa.  Brian and Nicole were scheduled to arrive early saturday before the ride.  We also were lucky enough to score a demo fleet and a visit from Mark at Marin, so everybody was excited to see what was waiting in the van.  After catching up and meeting some new faces we picked beds and passed out easy.  Saturday morning we woke to the best organic Kinetic Koffee, gluten free banana pancakes and eggs to get everybody fueled up and ready for the days long ride ahead.  After breakfast we got to check out and call dibs on the Marin demo bikes.  
After everybody had chamoised up and adjusted their new 2013 ride to their specs we headed down to the ocean for a 2013 Team Lost Coast Brewery phots shoot on the rocks.  It was a beautiful clear sunny day, and with huge waves crashing right behind us it made for a great shoot.  Finally the moaning and whining in spandex paid off and we were on our bikes, headed back to the UCSC trails for more redwood loam.  We had a group of about 13 shredders all lead by the expert local trail knowledge of Santacruz/Xfusion’s Colby Pastore.  The weather couldn’t have been nicer as Colby led the pack up and down the spiderweb of a trail system around the campus and Wilder state park.  it had rained several days prior, leaving the dirt perfect for roost and the trails were fantastic for testing the new Marins.  
The ride lasted about five hours, thirty miles and just over 4000 feet of climbing and left everybody ear to ear with grins and stories.  I had ridden the new xm140, and found myself right at home on top of the demo.  It crushed the switchback climbs all day, and with the flip of a switch could monster truck any trail in front of it.  The sun was still shining, so some of the team went down to the ocean for a chilly dip and some got in the hot tub to take advantage early.  I cuddled up with my bottle of chocolate milk in the sun and soaked up the rays, enjoying not being in the rain and snow that was falling back home in ashland.  That night Emma and folks prepared a huge kale salad while Ethan was on the barbecue, artistically charing the meat.  We killed every ounce of food and screamed our heads off all night watching the first ever women’s UFC title fight.  Everybody shuffled off to bed after a good nights talk about the days riding, and the riding still to be had.  In the morning Mark had to pack up and get on the road for another demo he had scheduled, so after some goodbyes Emma took charge as usual and prepared breakfast.  After a complete house cleaning, bikes and people were packed into cars as we headed to Aptos to ride the Demo forest trails.  We rendezvoused with Austin and Michael and started our long ascent to the top of Demo. 
After 13 miles fire road grinding we made it to the sunny peak, eager to see some downhill for the first time of the day.  Minutes into the first downhill, our local guide, Austin Riba smashed and broke his pedal on a rock.  He decided to hike out as we continued on down the hill, with a few fuzzy memories of where we needed to go, and some trailside directions.  We made it down the hill, only to have to climb back to where we had started our first descent.  With everybody ready to make it home for sunday dinner, we mashed our hearts out on the gut busting single track that dumped us out close to where we had parked, almost six hours later and 6000 feet later.  Once again we headed straight for the nearest mexican restaurant and all ordered obscene amounts of food. 
 We unfortunately all had to say our goodbyes after a fun and successful weekend with the team.  The whole weekend seemed to fly by so fast, with tons of riding and tons of fun I was sad to see it go, and wasn’t looking forward to our long drive home.  The weekend was made such a success with the help from all of our friends and sponsors, huge thanks to Mark and Marin for awesome demo bikes for everybody, thanks to Kinetic Koffee for the delicious organic daily java, Lost Coast Brewery for allowing this all to happen and brewing such sweet ale, and HUGE thanks to Emma for putting this all on!  See you all at Sea Otter!