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New year, new sponsors!

It’s 2015 and we’re excited for a new year with Team Lost Coast Brewery. We have some changes this season with some new riders and new sponsors that we’ll be introducing over the next few weeks. For our first post of the new year, we would like to introduce our new sponsors:

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We are also very excited to welcome back our generous sponsors from last year:

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SmithLogo200

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Downieville Classic 2014

Danny - Downieville climb 2014

Grinding up the XC climb with my suffer face on

The Downieville Classic. My biggest race of the year. I had spent many of the weekends this summer honing my descending skills in preparation for this race and was feeling pretty good.

Day 1: The Cross Country

I had my start all planned out. Plenty of time for a long warmup, and show up 20 minutes before the race so I could start near the front (unlike last year when I was stuck all the way at the back). It turns out that even 20 minutes isn’t enough time, because when I arrived to the line there were already 60+ people in front of me. I was able to wedge in to a half descent spot, then was able to get closer to the front when they called up everyone who had been on the podium the previous year.

The climb started out hard and fast. It always does. Not being the best starter, I hovered around 20th place. A mile or so in the pavement turns to dirt. In past years, this is usually where I start picking riders off and making up ground. Something was off about this year, and that extra gear just wasn’t there. As the climb drug on, and the hotter it got, things started to fall apart. The dreaded lower back pain started to hit. I just wasn’t able to put the power down (see the photo of me with my suffer face on), and came over the top a full 4 minutes slower than last year.

Things started to feel better on the descent. I was able to pick a few riders off on sunrise and baby heads. Mid way through Pauley creek my legs started cramping pretty badly. I had to stop a few times, and walk most of the third divide climb. My shifting was becoming pretty bad by the end of 3rd divide, and after the bridge the cable pulled completely through. I pulled off to re-adjust and tune the shifting, but not before 5 or 6 riders passed knocking me out of the top 10 for my category.

At the end of the day I ended up 12 minutes off my time from the previous year. I was pretty disapointed, but was able to stop the pity party after hearing that many of the other pro and expert racers had similar races with times way off their PRs. It was time to concentrate on redemption in the downhill.

Day 2: The Downhill

The weather for the downhill on sunday was thankfully much cooler with overcast skies. There was a ghost rider between me and the next rider in front of me, so I had dust free trails to start. The race started well with a ripping time down sunrise, and an okay pace down butchers. Half way down I had caught my two minute man, but at the same time was also caught by the rider a minute behind me. Several corners up from the bridge to third divide I head the dreaded pshhhhh-shhh-shhh of a flat. I tried to pull off quickly but not before hitting rim on some rocks and denting it pretty good. I fished through my pockets for my CO2 chuck, but wasn’t able to find it. Turns out that I had worn a jersey I had previously crashed in that had a small hole. My only means of inflation was likely some miles back on the trail. It’s okay, I’ll run down to the bridge, and hopefully someone will have a pump I can use. I start running down the trail and realize that my rear brake is no longer working. At the same time I had flatted, a rock had been knocked up and cut clean through my rear brake line.

A destroyed brake line

A destroyed brake line

The EMT at the bridge had a pump, but the tire would not longer hold air at the bead because of the dented rim. I flip my bike upside down, pull off the tire, wrestle out the valve stem (which had been partially pulled through the rim), put in a tube, and inflated it. During this process rider after rider was passing. At this point, I knew the race was over for me, and I just needed a way down without walking. With the repair complete, I thanked the EMT for the help, and flipped the bike back over to ride down. As if my bad luck wasn’t enough already, it turned out that in my haste I had put my bike down with my Garmin resting on a rock, completely destroying the screen.

It was a frustrating weekend, and my worst showing at Downieville in the seven years that I’ve raced it. With the previous year as my best performance, and the year before that one of the worst, I’m thinking that maybe I’m on an every other year trend, and look forward to the possibilities in 2015.



Skyline XC 2014

The Skyline race in Napa was the first race I had done in a while. It has been quite the bummer of a season as I missed the last two races (Ashland Spring Thaw, and Tamarancho) because of a concussion and the flu respectively. I hoped to look at this weekend more as being well rested than out of shape.

Skyline is one of the classic Northern California races. It’s a brutal course with relentless climbs and rocky descents, which ensures that only the strongest all around riders will do the best. A slight change in the course for this year changed the initial climb from the very steep and loose Pasini road, where the course has gone for years, to an adjacent fire road that was much more pleasant.

With a slow start, I was mid-pack as the first of three laps turned toward the descent. Near the beginning of the descent onto Manzanita trail is a rock garden with particularly sharp rocks that is a common spots for flats. I hit hard with my rear wheel, heard the rim hit the rock, and the dreaded hiss of a flat. I pulled off and quickly found the leak at the bead where I had hit and dented the rim. After shaking the wheel a few times I was able to get the stans sealant to seal. I aired it up with one of my CO2’s only to have the seal break again and lose the rest of the sealant. Frustrated, I rushed to put in, and air up a tube. In my haste, some of the CO2 leaked out, and I ended up with very low pressure for the rest of the descent. I tried to make my way down carefully, and made it almost all of the way to the bottom before flatting again. At this point I was pretty far behind in the race, and out of tubes. I ran the rest of the way back to the start-line where I could get a tube and pump, and resigned myself to making the rest of the race a training ride.

The next race up is Downieville in August, and I’m hoping to have better luck, and legs, by that time.



Team Lost Coast Goes to Sedona, AZ!



2013 Xterra Worlds in Maui

Day numero uno.

Nicole and I are tired and driving to the Oakland airport @ 3:30 in the morning. I drop her off drop and then the car off at my friends house and catch a cab back to the airport. The flight is surprisingly nice and uneventful. Once landed we get our bags and wait for our friends. I build up my bike and ride to get smoothies while waiting. We

are both so tired and look forward to getting to our rental to sleep. Our friends Vince and Sara arrive and we pile in the car and go shopping for groceries. Once loaded up after a few detours and looking for the best price for food we finally head to our rental. Oh yeah looking for the best price for food in Hawaii is a must! The first place we tried wanted to charge over 30 bucks for one of the small jars of almond butter, yeah the small jars. It might have made 4 1/2 sandwiches if I scraped the jar with my finger. Any ways, back to the condo. Arrived, unpacked a bit and grilled up some food and went to bed. Pretty uneventful but necessary.

Day 2
We wake up after a pretty good nights sleep. I noticed my front tire was low and I didn’t feel like wasting a co2 so we set out in search of a valve adapter and compressor. After no luck on foot we head back to the condo. Nicole and I make some breakfast and get our stuff packed up and loaded into the car and Vince, Sara, Nicole and I head up to where the race will be held. It’s friday and these guys are going to do the xterra 5 and 10k trail run on Saturday morn. We stop at bike shop for a valve adapter and eat a quick snack at the smoothie joint next to the bike shop. We head over to the race venue all get our race packets and we all go and check out the course. They check out the run course and I check out the new sections of the bike course. After words I do a super short swim and Vince and Sara drop us off at a hotel right next to the race where nicole and I will stay until monday morning. We are so tired we fall asleep right after having dinner.
Day3
Everyone except me goes over to the trail run. I am super tired and try to catch up on my sleep before sunday morning. Those guys raced and did amazing Vince placed second over all. Nicole placed 4th in her category and Sara had a great run as well. We all had breakfast and just relax. We find a nice shady spot on the beach next to the hotel and we just hang out until it’s time to eat again. At around 5:30 in the afternoon I jump into bed and that’s where I stay until it’s time to get up the next morning.
Day 4 race day.
I wake up around five thirty and eat some breakfast. Nothing to heavy just some almond butter toast. I head down to the garage area where we needed to keep the bikes and grab my bike. I ride over to the race for a warm up around 7:50am and get to the venue about 15 min later. I set up my transition area and mentally go through the race in my head. It is going to be a hot one. I have been drinking water and electrolytes like crazy but I’m already sweating bullets and its only 8:30am and I’m just standing here. Hawaii has this thing called vog it’s essentially volcano smoke or sulfur dioxide along with other gasses mixing with the humid air creating this volcanic smog/ air pollution. That is what was going on race day. I didn’t really know what it was at the time other than this word it was freakin hot. I am all ready and I head down to the beach to get a warm up in the water. The beach is packed with tons of racers super fit and ready to rock. All I’m thinking about is getting this swim over with! The gun goes off and it’s on. I swim or at least my version of it and get worked! The swim for me is the worst! I watch people pull away and then get passed by a new wave of people. I concentrate on technique, it’s no use I’m drowning. I wash up on shore and head to the transition zone to the bike. I hop on the bike and pace myself. There is no way I’m going to blow up right off the bat. I ride but every time I push I start to over heat, Damn this Vog! It is roasting. I finish up the bike having made up a little time but nothing like I was hoping. I transition off the bike with some leg cramps. I have been drinking tons of water and electrolytes, I can’t drink any more! I start the run and within the first half mile I feel my legs cramping up. My body is not cooperating! I am forced to stop several times with leg and back cramps. It is so hot out and all I want to do at this point is finish. I get to the top of the run course and start heading down. I loosen up slightly and concentrate on passing everyone who passed me while I was cramped up. I manage to close some gaps but finish way back from my anticipated first place. Ha ha ah just kidding don’t worry I went into this being somewhat realistic. Over all I’m a bit disappointed but not defeated. The season is over would have liked to have finished on a bit of a better note but I look forward to another great season of racing in 2014!Day 5
Had a great rest of the trip. Hung out with some good friends from both Flag Staff AZ and Reno NV. Got some relaxation along with some great adventures. If your ever out in Maui I highly recommend the commando hike. It has you hiking up a slippery stream climbing under through and around roots scaling rock faces swimming through dark lava tubes and trudging though unlit caves filled with water! It is challenging and if your afraid of heights or cave dwelling spiders at all this isn’t for you. Thanks for checking in, see you at the races.



2013 Ashland 12-Mile Super D returns!

Months of anticipation since the announcement that the classic Ashland 12-mile Super D was to return were put to rest this past weekend here in Ashland, Oregon.  The historic super d included over 4000 vertical feet of descending and 500 ft of climbing over 12 miles of epic single track, double track, and fireroad with speeds up to forty miles per hour.   After splitting my head open trying to kiss rocks at the final Oregon Enduro round at Mt Hood, I was determined to heal up fast and get ready to end my season well with the hometown race.  I had only race the super d as an amateur on it’s last year as a super d before changing to enduro format, so I was both nervous and excited to see how I had progressed in those two years.  My good friend Austin Riba was in town from his extended vacation in Whistler for the summer, so I had a great riding buddy to practice the trails with the few weeks leading up to the race.  It had been raining for several days the Monday before the race weekend, so the trails were in absolute primo condition.  It stayed dry for the rest of the week and any snow that lingered at the top from the moisture earlier that week had time to melt and leave the course dry and fast as ever.  The Friday before the race the Ashland Daily Tidings published an article about the return of the Super D on the front page that I was fortunate enough to be featured in.  Saturday rolled around and Ashland Mountain Adventures was buzzing as usual with racers scrambling to get their practice shuttles in, with an average run from the top taking about an hour to get to the bottom, racers were definitely getting their moneys worth!  After a few top to bottom practice runs with the bay boys, I was tuckered out and ready to gorge myself and get as much sleep as I could anxiously stand.  The next morning came quickly, and before I knew it the car was stuffed and we were chirping gears and pulling brodies; blaring slayer all the way to the Mt Ashland ski lodge.  Without a cloud in the sky, the racers all disappeared one by one until it was only the elite men left riding in circles, waiting anxiously for their countdowns.  I was the third pro off the line and couldn’t have been more ready as I sprinted down the fireroad to the torture that was my immediate future on the climb.  The big dog forty tooth ring I had put on the day before kept my cranks moving the whole way to the dreaded climb where I hunkered down and sucked wind all the way to the top.  After I peaked the climb, the pain wasn’t over yet as the trail undulated and climbed slightly on lower bullgap for almost another mile to the climb split.  Somewhere between the sustained climb and the split marker I overcooked a loose corner and had a quick wash out, only to get right back on the bike and sprinting in a redlined haze.  I was frustrated with myself but knew that it was a long race and stayed focused on finishing strong.  Once I hit the split marker I knew it was go time to get off the brakes as I pinned it the rest of the way through bullgap and on to the longest fireroad stretch of the course.  I tucked and spun my heart out as I reached a top speed of 39.6 mph before finally blazing off the road and back to trails, skipping over the rock gardens in a flash.  I kept the rubber side down as I linked the lower sections of the course together, burning every drop of gas I had in the tank and clenching all five fingers on the bars as long as I possibly could.  I came screaming through the finish line 22 seconds behind the winner Nathan Riddle, and stood second as the rest of the riders came through the finish.  I was eventually bumped back to third by only three seconds, and had the fastest downhill split of the day overall.

I was so stoked I almost didn’t believe it had happened as I returned to the timing screen several times to make sure it was correct and nothing had changed.  It was a great weekend for everybody in Ashland, the bay boys, Austin and Jeremy, had taken 1st and 3rd in their cat 1 age categories respectively so it was all smiles at the finish line and awards ceremony.  A great race and a fantastic way to end the long (and less than perfect) mountain bike season.  Huge thanks to Devo and everybody at the Oregon Enduro Series for putting on the classic race and all the sweet enduros this season.  Thanks to GU for the pre-race fuel that got me all the way down the hill, Lost Coast Brewery for the fantastic team support, and Marin Bikes for keeping me rolling all season, and fast!  See you at the cross races!

-T Pratt


Danny’s Downieville Classic 2013 Report

Downieville: the big race of the year for many mountain bikers in northern California, myself included. Like previous Downieville races, there is a strong showing from the lost coast team including Brian, Trevor, Bekah, Larissa, and myself. Below is a little about how my races went.
The XC race
Saturday started out a little different this year. Unlike in past years there was no warming up allowed on the course. I imagine this was to prevent people from zipping down last minute and scoring themselves a spot at the front of the line. Not used to this, I timed my warm-up poorly and ended up starting behind nearly 200 other expert category racers. It was easily 30 seconds before those of us at the back were able to get across the start line. Brushing off the frustration, I set a pace that was hard, but sustainable for the long climb and began picking riders off. I made a lot of good ground, and despite being stuck in traffic a number of times, was able to bring back all but around 15 of the 200 who started in front of me by the time I hit sunrise. I pedaled into sunrise feeling great and very excited to be wearing my new photochromic (tint changes with light level) Smith Pivlocks. They were able to stay dark enough on the bright exposed climb, but quickly adapted allowing me to see more clearly in the dark forest.
Sunrise gave way to a few more miles of fire road on the way to the “Baby Heads” trail. As I entered baby heads, I could tell that I had been a little too tense in the upper body during the climb as I wasn’t able to effortlessly flow over obstacles as I had the week before pre-riding. Through Pauly Creek trail, I could tell I was doing a little too much of the “plowing” style of riding, and being a little heavy on the brakes. Fortunately, the resulting heavier hits only resulted in a broken spoke, a 5 second fix. As the Third Divide climb started I could feel cramps coming on in my calves and hamstrings and decided to take in down a notch so as to maintain for the duration. I powered through First Divide and the road to the line to take 4th in the 19-34 age category and improving my previous best time by 2 minutes!
Sunday DH
I went into the downhill on Sunday feeling less than ideal. I was quite tired from the day before, and a little nauseous. I was able to force some breakfast down, but didn’t really get my hunger back until right on the line. I guess my body suddenly realized it was game time and that I would need fuel to race. Fortunately, Bekah was right there and handed me a few GU blocks to power my way. I started out slow to make sure that I could maintain for the 50 minute sprint this race always ends up being. Also, I felt that if I went a little easier on the pedaling, that I would have more energy for more dexterous bike handling. My thinking paid off as I was able to flow much better through the technical sections than I had the day before. Like I Saturday, I was wearing my recently acquired Camelback racebak, essentially a camelback built into a jersey. I felt this ended up really helping out because of how much more stable it is than a normal hydration pack, and how much easier it is to drink out of than bottles. After holding back a little for the first half of the race I decided to throw the hammer down once I hit the Third Divide climb (about 9 miles to go). Third was fast and everything was going great starting First Divide when suddenly my rear derailleur cable snapped. I was now stuck in my smallest cog, and a much harder gear than would have been ideal. Fortunately, my bike is set up with a triple, so I was able to simply shift into the small ring in front and cross-chain my way along. Climbing the final bit on First Divide involved a bit of a “single speed” style out of the saddle grind, but otherwise it worked out quite well shifting between the little and middle rings. I powered out of the forest and down the road to finish 7th, and only about a minute behind the leader.
My combined 4th and 7th finishes made for a 5th place finish in the combined “all-mountain” category, just off the 4 place podium. It was a solid weekend with solid finishes. One race left to go with Annadel rapping up my season on the 17th.
Danny


Larissa’s Downieville Classic Report

First off Camelbak and Gu both saved my butt at this race! I got my new Camelbak Octane LR pack a week before the race, which meant two pre rides with it and I was in love. Such a comfy pack that I wore it on the climb in the xc race and couldn’t have been happier. I was well stocked with Gu gells going into the xc, and although I cramped a bit on Pauley Creek trail, cramming a few Blueberry Pom gells in my mouth quickly ended the cramping and allowed me to crush the climb to Third Divide and First Divide trail.
This race was my peak race this year and I went into it really well prepared. I was well rested, got in a few pre rides and was super pumped to finally be at a race with a bunch of team mates. I came in fourth in the XC despite breaking my rear deraillure cable on Third Divide Trail and having to grind out a huge gear on First Divide. An eighth place finish in the downhill (in which I actually passed four girls!) put me in 5th for the all mountain. Even though the podium only goes 4 deep I was still stoked on the result AND I got a picture with Carl Decker!
The season is almost over now, and I am more and more grateful each day for how awesome team Lost Coast is, and what a great opportunity they have given me to race bikes so much this year! Thanks team!


Bekah’s Downieville Experience

Downieville 2013 couldn’t really have gone much better for me. This was a big surprise considering a few weeks prior I had considered pulling out of the race due to the lack of riding I’d been able to get in after spending three weeks in Nicaragua and normal life stuff that always gets in the way.
The XC, which is normally a torture fest for me, turned out to be a truly enjoyable day of riding. The weather was much cooler than in previous years, and I never felt like I was suffering from heat stroke nor did I cramp-up at the top; both events that have plagued me in the past. I found myself mostly alone on the descent, which meant there wasn’t the usual haze of dust hovering over the trail and I didn’t get hung up trying to pass too many people. I wasn’t expecting to do too well in the XC, but somehow things came together for me and not only did I place third, but I PRed by 10 minutes!
Let’s be honest. I race Downieville for the downhill. Who doesn’t? It’s the legendary “Downieville Downhill” and I was stoked about the race on Sunday. I had flatted the previous year, so I went into the race wanting to have a smooth, clean run. Warming up, my legs felt pretty lethargic from the previous day of racing, but my mind felt clear and I was excited just to be given the opportunity to ride these trails again. The downhill proved to be smooth and fast. I passed four of the five riders who had started in front of me, securing the number one spot in the DH, and subsequently the All-Mountain!

Downieville is a fantastic race, the Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship is made up of amazing people and I can’t thank them enough for hosting this tremendous event. I’d also like to give a huge shout-out to camelbak. I used their Octane LR and absolutely loved it! Also gu for their orange vanilla roctane and smith for their fabulous piv-locks. And last, but certainly not least, Marin for making kick-ass bikes like the mount vision!


Hammer Nutrition XCT Missoula MT

Another XCT in the books! This race was at an old ski resort outside Missoula called Marshall Mountain. Flying in at midnight on Friday meant I had to preride the course about an hour before the start of my race. The course was a 5 mile lap that wound it’s way up the slopes of the ski resort and then sent you straight down through some sick singletrack in the trees. There was even a big gap jump labeled the A-line which I heard some of the girls in my race hit. Spectators could watch the racers hit the A-line on a big screen down at the finish area,  and there were people cheering all over the course which made it feel a bit like Valle di Sol.
The start was fast as ever, but spending the first few miles on steep climbs meant I was able to move up a bit during the first 2 laps. I dropped my chain while shifting into the granny once on each of the first two laps, but managed to move from the back to 13th by lap 3. Despite a serious pre race hydration effort though, that’s when the terrible cramping started. My plan of attack had been to keep my head down and push the climbs harder and harder each lap, but the calf cramps slowed me down a bit. To make matters worst I dropped the bottle I grabbed in the feed zone about 500 meters after I got it on the 5th and final lap. The final climb was torture, winding around steep switchbacks and suffering up loose fireroads. Everyone else must have been hurting as well because I was able to move up one more place and the group on my wheel fell back quite a bit. I crossed the finish line in 12th place out of 36 women, which wasn’t too disappointing.
Post race was the best because there was a bbq fundraiser for the local food bank and I got to watch the pro men hit the A-line during their race.
The low light lenses on my Smith piv lock v2 sunglasses made it so easy to dive into and out of dense trees during the race and I am sure the GU inhaled on lap 3 kept me from dropping out from cramping. I do have some work to do to figure out a nutrition plan that works during races, and thankfully GU has my back!
Special thanks also goes to my hot mechanic Brendan Connors who packed and unpacked/finetuned my bike and who hands off bottles in the pits like a pro.
Larissa