SUN VALLEY, ID – The following is a race report by Thomas Omori, member of the Junior Squad of Team Simple Green/Bike Religion, who competed in the Men Cat 3 Junior 15-18 Division of the 2012 USA Cycling MTB Cross-Country Nationals. Congratulations on his 9th place finish!
On a more somber note, Wyatt Myers, competing in the Men Cat 1 Junior 17-18 Division, found himself taking two trips to the local hospital, the first time for a cut and the next day for a broken collarbone.
Omori Race Report:
“My race started at 8:01 in an overcast Sun Valley, Idaho. At the start line I had the usual pre-race nervousness. We took off at a brisk pace circling the race venue once and then making on are way on to the paved bike path. I drafted my way up to the lead group of about 16. We left the bike path after about two miles and started our 10-mile climb up to the top of Mount Baldy.
“The beginning of the climb was a slippery gravel fire road. At this point the racers started to even out. The lead group started to break-up into 2 groups. I led the second group in 10th place. The fire road ended after about 4 miles. Next we hit the single-track climb, which went through the very dense forest. I had 4 riders holding my wheel and we made our way up the mountain at steady even cadence, never losing sight of the 9th and 8th place riders who were about 7 or 8 seconds ahead. On a steep uphill switch back I looked to see if any new riders had caught us. This was a mistake because my front wheel washed out and I had to unclip and lost 4 slots and about 15 or 20 seconds. At this point I was in 14th place and to make it worse it started to rain. I continued to grind away and kept reminding myself to keep an even cadence, keep my heart rate steady, and to keep drinking. I started to gain on the four riders who passed me. One by one I started to pick off riders. As I crested the mountain after climbing over 3000 feet and 10 miles I had worked myself into the top ten. The downhill was smooth and because of the rain, nice and tacky making it so I could fly down the hill with out worrying about slipping. I cleaned the first downhill section of berms and switchbacks through the Idaho forest.
“I hit the second climb which was steep, but not too long with no one behind me, but 9th place only about 10 seconds ahead of me. I hit the gas and pedaled pretty hard all the way to the top. I could feel the beginning of a cramp, which wasn’t good so I drank some Cytomax and passed the 9th place rider as I crested the hill. On my way down the next down hill I passed 8th place. I hit the base of the final climb, which was about two miles long, steep and slippery. I felt a sharp pain in my legs and it grew worse with each pedal stroke. My legs started to lock up. I kept pedaling knowing that if I stopped I would be toast. When I was about half way up the climb 9th and 10th place came out of the forest and hit the base of the climb. After seeing me they worked together taking turns pulling up the hill trying to catch me. I put my head down and just pedaled hard trying not to think of the excruciating pain in my legs and managed to beat them to the top. I hit the final descent as fast as I could. I tried to recover from that last effort. My legs were still cramping making it hard to corner each turn, causing me to take each switch back slowly. About a ½ mile from the finish line 9th place caught me and passed me. I tried hard to grab his wheel, but he managed to pass me.
“I crossed the finish line 9th at the Mountain Bike National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho in 2 hours and 1 minute, having ridden 19 miles with over 3000 feet of climbing.