The Albany High Cougars like to do a race in early February, before the official NorCal League high school races start, just to get our feet wet (sometimes literally). A non-school-related outfit called CCCX puts on races for the general public, so our tradition is to kick the season off with one of the CCCX events. This gives not only our student athletes but parents and coaches the opportunity to race.
We would love to regale you with tales from the trails, but bike racers, and teenage ones in particular, can be shy about this. So this year we decided to collect stories, observations, and other tidbits from our riders (students and coaches) and string them all together in one big mashup, without any bylines. So below, in nor particular order, are the odds and bobs contributed by our Cougars.
The Cougars went down to the place,
Where CCCX puts on a race.
It was just like a dream,
The way they worked as a team
It made climbs and mud easy to face!
“Every time I rode through one of those deep, deep puddles, my trailing foot would get splashed. By the end of the race I had a drenched left foot and a bone-dry right foot.”
“There was this lone course marshal in the far-flung regions of the course, and I’d pass him twice per lap. He had this cow-bell he would ring like crazy, which was really uplifting.”
Bikers out in force
Plucky Cougars kick it off
Crazy, kick-ass course
“There weren’t many opportunities to eat so I boldly decided to stuff four or five shot blox into my mouth at once. This made it very difficult to breathe for awhile, and then I had this thick, sweet film on my teeth for like twenty minutes. I’m sure this helped my cause.”
“A couple of our riders went incognito on the podium and really needed to be rocking the Cougar colors next time! I’m sure several of our riders will have plenty of opportunities to get this right…”
“I came across the finish line in a world of hurt, lungs burning, chest heaving, and Coach Dean said, ‘Would you like me to take your bike?’ I thought that was a great suggestion but couldn’t figure out how to make it happen. Dean had vanished! Where did he go? Oh, he’s back there! I finally realized that I needed to actually stop my bike. It’s just that I had forgotten how.”
“Right after my race I drank some chocolate milk that was so good I almost started whimpering with delight. I didn’t think life could get any better and then Francis styled me out with a cheeseburger hot off the grill.”
“I’ve never moved to the back of the pack so quickly- good for the ego plus the course was amazingly fun. My first race and I didn’t DNF! It was fun to cheer for Cougars as they passed me, with a light drizzle coming down. Pro tip: if you only have three people in your age group, you get to stand on the podium. Sign me up for another!”