Monthly Archives: July 2017

Elijah Johnson – WORS #7 Colectivo Coffee Bean Classic – July 23, 2017

Sunday morning began with a quick breakfast of oatmeal.  Then we headed over to Minooka.  We arrived at about 8:30, so I could get a pre-ride in before the Juniors began.  The course had been closed on Saturday, because it was muddy from several inches of rain the previous week.  Upon completing the pre-ride, I rode to a good viewing area to watch the Junior race.  The place I went had 4 spots where the course crossed all within about 300 feet of each other.  I went from spot to spot to see both the Junior and Citizen race.

After all the Citizen racers went by for their first lap, I went to get some food.  For the remainder of the morning, I hung out around the bottom of the hill watching friends come through and finish.  At about 12:40, I began my warm-up which lasted until about 1:10.  I then checked my tire pressure right before heading over to the start line.

This race I began in about the 4th row.  My strategy was to go along the side and pass as many people as possible on the first hill.  By the top of the hill, I was in the top 10.  I maintained my position throughout the first section of double track.  Right before we jumped into the single track, I passed at least 1 more person.  I was able to keep up and even passed some people on the first lap.  On one of the rock gardens in the second section of single track, I bottomed out my back tire.  I was glad that Wheel and Sprocket helped convert me to tubeless last year.  If I bottomed out with tubes, I would have had a flat.  The remainder of the lap went smoothly with no crashes.

Right after I passed the start/finish area, I began to get a bit confused with the course because I had not pre-ridden that part.  I was in the lead of a group and thought that we would be turning right into a section of single track.  Instead, we turned left going what would normally be backwards on a section of single track.  Then we went to another section of double track which connected to the section of single track onto which I was originally planning on turning left.  Once I figured this out, I was able to get back up to speed and hold a fast pace.

As I climbed the start hill on the second lap, I grabbed a handoff from my Grandpa.  Throughout the first section of double track, I was able to maintain a good pace.  By the time I entered the second section of single track I could tell that my legs were beginning to tire out.  I maintained a good pace but did not go too hard coming out of the corners.  On one of the sections of double track, there was a long downhill, then a hard-right turn, and a climb back up to the top.  On the climb, I was unable to keep up with the group I had been riding with for the previous section of the race.  From that point on, my goal was just to maintain a good pace and hold my position.

As I completed the second lap, I was about 1 minute ahead of my competitor.  I was able to hold a lead for the entire lap, but the gap closed a bit.  On the final double track section, I could see him about 300 feet behind me.  I went at about an all-out sprint and finished only 9 seconds ahead.  Overall, it was another great race, and I can feel myself getting stronger each week with the help of Coach Nathan’s training.

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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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