The UCSB co-ed cycling team had an eventful first race of the season this past weekend, braving the rough terrain of the “earthquake capital of the world,” in Parkfield, Calif. for a mountain biking event put on by the city of San Luis Obispo.
According to sophomore captain Nick Martinez, the team had a relatively large turnout compared to last season, with 10 competitors racing for the men and two riders representing the women’s team.
“The team was nearly non-existent last year and we had 10 people show up for the first race of the season, during the first week of school,” Martinez said. “So that bodes well for us for the rest of the season.”
Martinez placed eighth out of roughly 30 riders in the men’s A-level cross country event – a 25-mile race along the fire roads and single-tracks of Parkfield’s rocky, desert terrain. Four events were held in the men’s and women’s divisions, divided by three different skill levels, A through C – from the most competitive to the least. A short-track cross country race was also held along a half-mile course of several laps.
Besides the cross country events, there was a dual slalom in which riders competed two at a time in a downhill setting along switch-back terrain. There was also a downhill event, which was a time trial race on rough terrain with a series of high drop-offs, making the race one of the most exciting ones of the event, according to Martinez.
UCSB’s stay at the race was cut short when one of the racers crashed on the downhill course and had to be airlifted from the scene to a hospital for a broken collarbone. Although the cyclist was not a UCSB team member, there was an extensive delay due to the crash, forcing the team to take an early leave from the final events. The delay required several Gauchos in the women’s division to withdraw from the later races on Sunday.
Jennifer Johansen, a junior at UCSB was scheduled to ride in the women’s downhill, but was unable to compete because of the crash delay. However, sophomore Jenna Judge fared well for the women’s team, finishing in the upper half of the pack.
The cycling team’s next race will be held this upcoming weekend at Bogg’s Mountain, hosted by the UC Davis cycling team.