gRace Murphy - NorCal Race #2 - Granite Bay Grinder


Race #2 weekend brought a challenge for NorCal League teams to up the spirit quotient with an Aloha theme. Festive Hawaiian shirts, zany plastic leis and hula skirts abounded. Wisecracks and chuckles flew from all directions, all in good fun. The weekend’s weather was bright and warm sunshine with temperatures breaking the 70 degree mark. Riding over to staging on the beach I got a whiff of Coppertone. Today is going to be a good day.

Ideal racing conditions were not guaranteed. Winter rain has been ever present so the last ten days of drying out were welcomed. Mahalo.

Granite Bay is my home course. I know these trails like the back of a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese. Sections of the course have given me trouble in the past, but I was eager to tryout my improving technical skills under competition.

Kate Kelley [Independent Riders NorCal-North] went out quickly and led with a good pace followed by myself, Audrey Fehlhaber [Sir Francis Drake High School], and Meigan Butler [Humboldt Composite]. Clodagh Mellett [Tamalpais High School] missed Race #1 due to injury, but I knew she would be in the mix soon enough.


We stayed together and I went to the lead somewhere in the first lap. Throughout the second lap the pace was comfortable, then the pace changed. A little beyond the beginning of the third, I heard my coach loud and clear, “110% right now to the finish”. It was time to push my stamina and press my home field advantage. I set-up for optimal lines into the curves and my Scott Spark ricocheted out like an Olympic bobsled. Rocky hills were attacked with nimble agility. I rested a bit and looked back—no riders in sight. I could not believe it. I was having a blast. I felt great and with the finish in sight, even better.

In past races, I rarely, maybe never, improved my time on the final lap. A day at the beach?—not hardly. I was exhausted, in a good way, and needed to find some shade. At the beginning of this year Varsity racing was new territory for me. This weekend I am heading off into new territory again to race my first Pro XCT at Vail Lake.  Thanks for reading my post and have a great weekend yourself! Thanks to CLIFF for the awesome photos.