LOS OLIVOS, CA — For the fourth consecutive year, the Drake Pirates Mountain Bike Team have taken top honors at the California State High School Mountain Bike championships!
After winning a neck-and-neck race in the NorCal league against Redwood, the Drake Pirates triumphed at States this weekend, which pitted NorCal teams against SoCal teams in a season ending match to decide the overall state champs.
Photos thanks to Brenda Newcomb.
Message From Coach Peg-Arm Paul
Howdy State Champions!
Wow, that is really rewarding to be able to type that statement. This was one of the most incredible seasons that I can ever remember and is a testament to how resilient and deep this program is on talent and attitude. It was amazing how even without Miles and tough races by Leah and Allie that we were able to have Nicolette, Carson, Ben, Lucas, Mackinzie and really the whole team step it up and do what we needed to win. Our graduating Seniors all had great races to finish up their remarkable Drake MTB careers and the new riders got the chance to experience the excitement and satisfaction of being rewarded with the top honor for High School mountain biking for all of your hard work during the season. Like I have said many times, there is no program like Drake MTB!
You guys and gals are the best! Roll Pirates!
- Coach Peg Arm Paul
State Championships, Los Olivos
Ben Enbom, Freshman boys
It is sad to be done all the races for the season. We are done all our training rides, finished the NorCal league, and after the end of the year party wont be together as a team for a few months. I have had a great season, going from somebody who could barely make it up to east peak to, as I feel, a successful rider. I started the races in 17th place, and slowly made it to podium four times, and hopefully more in the future. This race was very exciting because I wasn’t just racing against the people who I already knew and had a feeling about how I would do against, but also all the southern California riders, making me not know what to expect. I came into the race hoping for top ten, and if I got on the podium I would have exceeded my expectations. The issue I had during the last race was not enough hydration, so I spend the days leading to the race drinking a lot of water. I hoped that I would have had enough, seeing that it was about 90 degrees out during my race.
For the staging I was called up to sixteenth place, seeing that I was eighth in NorCal, and they alternate northern and southern kids. It was a rolling start, which I both liked and disliked, I liked it because it got me in 16th place automatically, but I am a fast sprinter and I could have caught up some extra places if we had a start where we all just go from a stop. Although this was to prevent crashes at the start, when we got going there was a fairly large crash in front of me. I dodged it by an inch, but the places I had caught up during that went away when I took a wrong turn and followed the leader bike that guided us out into some grass, slowing me down. I was able to pass a few people at the long flat at the beginning, but I decided to take it fairly easy on the first lap and attack on the climbs and go harder on the second lap, where the heat would start to slow others down. During the steep climb at the beginning, I was able to pass a few more people who had to walk their bike, and that put me into about eighth place. I regained my energy on the downhills, and went fast enough on the uphills that I was able to catch up to Dominique who is from MC, and a kid from St. Francis, in southern California who were in 4th and 5th place. I followed them for the first half of the second lap, and when I approached the pit zone I decided to sprint past them and skip the water, giving me a small gap. I now only had three miles or so left, and I wouldn’t be required to bike extremely hard for the next 9 months until the races started again, so I went for it. As I sprinted up the final hills, I knew that I was going to beat them. I kept on telling myself to go faster, and I went just about as fast as possible up that hill, passing countless sophomores, and when the downhill started, I had no one in front of me, and was able to take it fast and have fun. I sprinted the final straight, and finished in fourth place with a 30 second or so gap behind me.
I must thank all the people supporting me on the team; the other riders, the parents, and most importantly the coaches. I would never be where I am today without you guys. Also thanks to everyone who sprayed water on us, it made a bigger difference than anyone would have ever thought. I also want to say goodbye to the seniors, Satchel, Ryan, Tommy, Conor, Nik, Sam, Libby, and Mackenzie. You were great teammates, and we will miss you. I am excited to ride with everyone next year, and see how our new freshman will be. Roll Pirates!