Posts Tagged ‘#gravelgrinders’


Looking back at 2015 with Amber Broch

October 13, 2015
NS MTB Team-09.12.15_-13I started off training for 2015 season in November, excited for the opportunity to race on the Northstar California Giant Mountain Bike Team.  My first opportunity to race came at the Big Sandy in Fresno in March, a 38 mile mountain bike race with over 6k of climbing.  Pretty brutal for an early season race, but I kept a moderate pace, and was proud to move from 4th up to a 2nd after hour 3 of the race! NS MTB Team-09.12.15_-12
Next up was Sea Otter Classic in April.  After a bit of a training set back due to illness, I wasn’t feeling particularly strong, and I decided to take some of the pressure off the XC race by doing the road race, too.  I ended up winning the Cat 4 road race, but definitely smoked myself and ended up a dissappointing 6th in the XC.
With not too many big races on the calendar between Sea Otter and National Championships in July, I turned my focus on the local race series, the Sierra Cup.  First on the schedule was the Nevada City Dirt Classic. I’d never done this one before, and the group out there puts on a great series that I’ll be adding to my calendar in the future.  The trails out there are super fun and are only a short distance from home in Reno. I was proud to challenge Julie Young to the finish, and finished a few seconds back from her after a sprint.
2015 National Champ
I had a bit of a setback in June after I woke up sick a few days before Riding High at the Ranch in Susanville, the next Sierra Cup race.  Since I’d already registered for the race, I decided to do it anyway and actually suprised myself and finished a strong second place.  However, I lost my voice in the process. Turns out, probably racing sick isn’t such a good idea.  I ended up on antibiotics, which I then had an allergic reaction. It took a good part of the month to finally get over that one, just in time to jump into the first XC race on the home turf at Northstar. Although the race didn’t go that great, I had a blast riding the lifts and doing a few downhill runs with friends and team mates after the race, and had an ear-to-ear smile the whole time.  Seriously SO MUCH FUN!
NS MTB Team-09.12.15_-46July brought about my primary goal for the season – National Championships in Mammoth Mountain, CA.  It’s hard to shake the pressure and nerves that come along with any big race, and I was SO nervous that I’d had too many set backs and illnesses during the season to be at peak form.  But, as it turns out, my team bike, the Giant XTC Advanced 27.5, was the perfect bike for that course, and helped me float up the climbs and carry me to the National Championship win!!!
And how did I celebrate?  By going to Disneyland, of course!!

2014 Oregon Outback 300-Blake Bockius

June 2, 2014

Now it’s a matter of pushing through mentally.” –Blake Bockius, 2014

Goal: To race 363 miles with no sleep

Pre Ride Prep: Several multi-day races in Spring 2014, at least one 4-6 hour mountain bike ride per week.


Bike and Gear: Giant XTC Advanced 0 with rigid carbon fork, Carousel Design Words and Revalate Designs bags-2 top tube bags, a seat bag, a partial frame bag, and a feedbag. No backpack. In the bags are tools, spare parts, 100oz hydration, basic riding cloths, light weight down sweater, 40′ sleeping bag, food, sunscreen and other small necessities. The Northstar/Giant kit is my main riding gear for the duration.  Lights-Exposure Diablo with 2 piggy back batteries (these provide about 20 hrs of light).


Course Knowledge: This race is similar to the Tour Divide, the Arizona Trail Race and the Colorado Trail race. Each is a self supported Bikepacking race. Normally the organizer will post a GPX track for down load into a gps and cues to aid with navigation. Once the clock starts you race until the finish. There are no stages, or aid stations along the route. The rider must resupply their own food and water and cannot take any outside assistance. You need to spend quite a bit of time researching the route and figuring out where you can resupply. Then figure how much water and food to carry between towns or water sources. You’re on your own in remote areas so you better be prepared.



Route: The race stars in Klamath Falls and finishes at the northern border of the state. The Oregon Outback is more of gravel grinder type course. There’s not much climbing but word has it that there will be some ferocious head winds. There’s also a chance of rain Friday and Friday night.  For specifics check out