Race #4 – Six Sigma Slinger – April 28, 2019
The Albany High School Cougars MTB racing team entered the 4th race of the 2019 season on a mission, having won the Division 2 High School team trophy at the prior two races.
The 5.5-mile course at 6 Sigma Ranch & Winery in Lower Lake features a lot of single track and about 500 feet of climbing. The tight layout winding through grassy oak-studded hillsides gave limited opportunities for passing, so a good start was key to reaching the podium. The day started out cold and foggy but as the clouds lifted the sun baked the racers and spectators, and hydration and overheating become important factors in successfully finishing the race.
A total of 5 Cougars started in wave 1. Angie Parafina was the first to start in the Varsity Girls category, facing a long 3 lap challenge. In the JV Girls category Allison Marten was aiming to retain her third place in season rankings, and team captain Alexa Albert and Maisie Long were gunning for good finishes to help the team score points.
In the Sophomore Girls category Artemisia Matera started just her third race, having finished on the podium in her very first race after picking up mountain biking just last year. Teammate Anna Seevak, also in her first year of mountain biking, came to cheer on the team despite having broken her thumb last week because, as she said, “why would I miss all this fun?”
Allison suffered a setback on the first lap as a crash left her back in eighth place, but she kept calm and rode steadily to close gaps and pass riders and ultimately claim fourth place and a podium spot on the day. All the Cougar riders completed their races, with Artemisia finishing 6th and Angie willing herself through a tough spell in the middle of the race as the heat built up to earn vital points for the team.
As the sun baked wave 2 start, Cougars sophomore Lincoln Chapman lined up on the front row, having placed second in all 3 races this year, with teammate Mateus Goncalves de Lima also in the field. Lincoln got off to a great start, tightly marking the back wheel of series leader Kyle Dommaschk (Hayward Composite) around the first corner. Unfortunately, Kyle slipped on a steep climb, forcing Lincoln to stop as well, and both racers were passed by Justin Peck (Santa Cruz Composite) before Kyle could get restarted. Lincoln and Kyle worked together to close a 30 second gap but Justin was able to maintain a small lead and win the race, with Lincoln third on the day. Mateus paced himself well to finish after almost an hour and a half of intense racing.
Wave 3 started in blazing sunshine, and Milan Ferus-Comelo rode hard to maintain his record of finishing every race in 2019. After all points were tallied the Cougars team once again claimed first place among Division 2 High School teams on the day and celebrated on top of the podium.
Going into the final race of the season Albany has a 355-point lead over Scotts Valley HS, with Bishop O’Dowd just 31 points behind in third. Albany riders are training hard and aim for another good day at the Six Sigma Showdown (aka Conference Championships) on May 12th, hoping to finish the season on a high note with a team trophy.
The ream riders, coaches and parents send a special thank-you to team sponsors including Albany Subaru, Trek Bicycle Berkeley, Velocity Lock & Key, Mechanics Bank, Benchmark Pizzeria, Precision People’s Car Repair, Ice Chamber, Steve’s Auto Care, Bicycle Trails Council East Bay, RC Imports, Little Star Pizza, McNally Realty Advisors, and the Albany Rotary Club