Josh Tajiri - NorCal Race #2 Laguna Seca

Laguna Seca is one of my favorite Norcal courses. The steep hills work to my advantage, and the fast downhills are very fun. Saturday, the day before the race, it rained quite a bit, so when we went out for the preride the course was soaked. Tires slipping everywhere, mud flying in the air, it was soaked. Somehow, the course completely dried out by race day. I returned to my hotel, washed the bike, ate dinner, and was in bed by 8:30.

I used to get very nervous before races. Not anymore. Now I realize that being nervous won’t help me and I’m able to calm myself down. So standing on the start line in a race of many other fast kids, I wasn’t nervous. I knew I just had to go and put everything out there. Race as hard as I could, and that’s all I can do. That is what I did.

The race started, and my teammates Zack and Blake went out very fast up the starting hill. I sat in 4th position, with a little gap to the leaders. Looping around and coming down the hill, I held my position, until we started the next climb. I surged, moved into third, and then second, after passing Zack. I attempted to chase down Blake, but he was already gone. I rode the next downhill extremely fast, flying off all the kickers and ripping through the berms. When I got to the bottom, I saw Blake had maintained his lead on me, but I had gapped Zack and the rest of the pack. At the bottom of couch canyon, when we started the climb, I fully dropped Zack and everybody else. And after the top of hurl hill, Blake was gone. Nobody in my race was to be seen again, and the first lap isn’t even over.

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On the second lap, when I was climbing up the hill right after the finish, a bit of fatigue caused me to lose caution and the right side of my bars got caught in a fence, and I flipped off my bike. I quickly ran up the hill and was back on the bike, flying down the hill. I loved how my spark handled down the hill, it was amazing. Right as I neared the finish of my second lap, I was flying down a gravel road, and there was a crosswind. I felt my contact fly off my eye, and I was unable to see much from my right eye. I lost some depth perception, but other than that it didn’t really impact my riding to much.

I continued to push and attempt to catch Blake as the laps went on. My final lap was actually my fastest of the day. But I was still unable to catch Blake. He finished over two minutes ahead of me. But there was nearly four minutes from after I finished, to when Skye Ricci of Bear Development finished. My teammate Zack Foster came in 10 seconds later. After a long hard race, I was pleased with my result.

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