Author Archives: Elijah Johnson

Elijah Johnson – WORS Cup – July 7-8, 2017

On Saturday, the first day of racing, we arrived at about 10:45 so that I could get proper nutrition before the race began.  When the Sport races began, I watched them to study how various parts of the course worked when several racers went through at the same time.  At about 1:45, I began my warm-up which lasted until about 2:10.  One main difference between this race and the other races was that Pro, Cat 1 Juniors, and Cat 1 racers all lined up individually starting in 3 waves instead of everyone lining up together and beginning at once.  This worked better since there were a total of 24 Cat 1 Jr. males at this race.  5 states were represented in the Cat 1 Jr. race.    We started in the second wave 1 minute after the Pros.

The start was a flat section followed by a climb.  I began in the front row and completed the climb in the top half.  We continued to go at max pace over the top and into the first section of single track.  We raced in and out of the single and double track at max speed for the first lap.  By the end of the lap, we had established our positions.  The second lap went well except for one time when my front tire slipped and I crashed.  I was fine, but I lost about 10 seconds.  The second lap finished smoothly.  I grabbed a handoff and made it down the difficult downhill right before the start area.

On the final lap, I was tiring out a bit so I did not go at max speed up the mile-long climb to the top.  For most of the lap, I was right behind another Cat 1 Jr.  This motivated me so I did my best to stay right behind him.  I was guessing it would be a sprint at the end, so I tried to save as much energy as possible.  While descending the final hill, I was unable to pass him.  On the final 2 sections of double track, we sprinted.  We finished within 1 foot.  Even though he was not in my age category, we helped push each other.  The cross-country race finished well, and the course was great.

Saturday night when we arrived home, I went on a light ride so my legs would recover for the short track on Sunday.

On Sunday, we left for the race early so we would be there before the Amateur Men’s short track at 9:00.  Since I had just raced the day before, I chose to do a longer warm-up than usual.  I began my warm-up at about 10:05.  About 5 minutes into it, I noticed that my chain was jumping consistently.  I brought it to Wilhelm, and he found that one of the pins had slipped out of place.  He quickly replaced it so I could finish warming up before the race.

At the start of the race, the Cat 1 Juniors lined up in 3 rows and the Cat 1 men 19-39 had 3 rows.  This worked well since each group had its fastest riders in the front.  The start of the race was interesting since there was about a 1000 ft section of flat double track before there were several turns before the first climb.  It was still tight when we entered the turns.  This resulted in some racers getting pushed out of their line and almost crashing.  The first climb was also interesting because everyone was still establishing their position by trying to pass in a section which was only about 5 ft wide.  After the first climb, most racers were content with their position and just held their spots.

The next several laps went smoothly with several people trading positions around me.  As we neared the end, the intensity picked up a bit.  On the final straight section of double track, I passed several people.  The remainder was a sprint.  At the finish, I sprinted and only beat one of my competitors by about 5 feet.  The race went great, and I learned a lot.
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Elijah Johnson- WORS #3 Battle of Camrock – June 4, 2017

The 3rd WORS race had some new challenges to it.  There were many rocky climbs, and the weather was in the upper 80s and sunny.  This was ten degrees warmer than average.

On the morning of race day, we arrived at the venue around 8:30.  We set up our canopy tent in a great spot for both handoffs and viewing multiple parts of the course.  At 9:30, the Junior’s race began, and at 10:00, Citizen started.  During these races, I was careful to stay hydrated and in the shade.  Shortly after the Sport race began at 11:30, I began to get ready for my race.  Around 12:40, I began my warm-up which lasted until 1:10.  I then made my way down to the start area.

We began to line up at about 1:20. This race they did not allow the Cat 1 Juniors to line up until all the Cat 1 racers were in the start chute, resulting in me starting in about the 6th row.  At the top of the first climb, I was trying to establish my position.  The first section of single track was tight since everyone was still in a close group.  In the next section of double track, I advanced in position a bit.  My front tire slid out about 2 miles in on a section of single track.  About 2 people passed me.  We then had a short section of double track followed by a fairly technical downhill.  I held my place for the next several miles through both double track and single track.

At the end of the first lap, we had a very technical climb with several switchbacks in which balance was critical.  I was able to make it to the top since Coach Nathan had taught us to do slow mo which is a race in which you go as slow as possible over a short course to practice balance.   As I passed through the start/finish area, completing the first lap, I took a handoff from my Grandpa.  Staying hydrated was more important than usual with the temperature being in the upper 80s.  The entire second lap went smoothly with no crashes.  By the end of it, I was only about 5 seconds ahead of one of my competitors.  At one point in the final lap, one of my competitors passed me when I went by the water station.  On the next hill, I was able to pass him.  There was a good amount of climbing and double track at the end.  After finishing strong, I spun around for a while and drank a recovery drink.  Overall, it was another good race.

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Elijah Johnson- WORS #2 Iola Bump & Jump- May 21, 2017

The race day began with a pre-ride beginning at about 7:45 a.m.  I pre-rode the course on Sunday morning at an easy pace since it had been closed on Saturday because of the weather.  When I arrived back at our camper, I ate a breakfast of oatmeal and cleaned my bike.  The Junior race began at 9:30, so I rode over to watch it start.  I then returned to the camper to eat and finish getting my bike in racing condition.  From there, I had a perfect view of the course and watched both the Junior and Citizen race.

 At the start of the Sport race, I went over to the bowl to see how the new course design worked when a large group went through it.  After that, I returned to our camper and got ready for the race.  At 12:40, I went out to begin my warm up which lasted until 1:15.  Then I spun over to the start line to line up for the race.  I arrived just in time.  At this race, I began in about the 4th row since Cat 1 Juniors do not get a call up.  The race started at 1:30.  My start was not the best since my foot did not clip in on the first try which almost made me crash.  I recovered quickly and made up the second I lost on the hills soon after.  I was able to pass a few people while climbing out of the bowl.

The race was going well until I crashed.  There was a downhill corner with loose dirt which was about 2 miles out.  My front tire lost traction, and I slid out.  We were still in a close group, so I got passed by a few people there.  Soon we had another section of double track, so I made up the time I had lost in the crash.  There were some muddy spots which followed.  I was able to make it through all of them on the first lap.

As I completed the first lap, I was in first place for all Cat 1 Junior racers.  My Dad told me I had about 13 seconds over the next Cat 1 Junior.  I continued to go at a fast pace in which my heart rate was about 183 in the double track and a bit lower in the single track.  The second lap went smoothly with no crashes.  I continued to do my best to hold with the riders I was around.  The course was quite slippery in some spots now since so many riders had gone through.  It was still quite wet from the rain on Saturday.  I continued to lengthen the gap between me and second place.

At the completion of the second lap, I was both half way done and had a 45 second lead on those in my category.  On the 3rd lap, I had no crashes or times I had to dismount.  By this time, I could begin to feel that my legs were beginning to tire out.  I kept up a moderately fast pace which I could keep up for the remainder of the race.  Near the end of the lap, I began to pass some of the Comp women.

As I began the final lap, I chose to sit down while climbing to the top of the hill instead of standing up and pushing hard.  I took my 3rd hand off from my Grandpa while I climbed out of the bowl.  I passed a handful of riders during this lap.  On one of the climbs, I chose to jump off of my bike and run up since it was very muddy and running uses slightly different muscles than biking.  I continued to keep a moderately fast pace until the last mile where I went pretty hard.  When I came out to the finish, I picked up the pace to a near all out sprint for the remaining 100 or so yards.  Upon finishing, I mixed up a recovery drink and rode around for a while.  Overall, it went well and Coach Nathan’s training has been working great.

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