This past weekend South East Regional Championship #2 took place in Bryson City, North Carolina. While most Florida racers do not make the almost 14 hour drive (from Miami and it is much longer in an RV) to Bryson City, dedicated Scoot Skate and Bike Co. Junior Racer John Michael Koch loaded up his Niner Bike, jumped in the family RV, and headed to the races.
John has been racing for Scoot and Skate for about a year, and it has been amazing to watch him as his skills have progressed. John is definitely a talented racer and amazingly dedicated to training for only being teen aged. His drive to be the best is clear–he has been known to get home from school and complete a workout on a trainer while doing homework–this guy is dedicated!
To prepare for the race, JM did many specific workouts including grass training on a road bike, intervals, and hill repeats on the “Powerline” climb aka the long-ish hill at the Virginia Key Mountain Bike Trails. He also worked with his coach, Bob McCarty of McCarty Training regularly-including a pre-race lesson on Friday before the race at Markham Park (a local park featuring very technical elements as well as a lot of elevation change).
The race course, located in the Tsali Mountains in NC, was 13.5 miles with 2300 feet of elevation change. JM races in Cat3 11-14 and is currently the points leader after 2 races, winning both races this year and earning max Time Trial points. This is what JM had to say about the race:
“I liked the TT course after the few big climbs it was fast and flowing. I warmed up right till the start on a friend’s advice. I did a 17:56 (top cat3 and beat a few experts and seconds off one pro) the top time was 15:06. The actual race on Sunday was dryer than I expected as it rained heavily before. I was number 2 off the start and another kid passed us both from early on but blew out fast. As we were finishing the double track, I attacked up hill before the single track and kept the lead from that point. I liked all the climbing, I seem to do all my pulling away on climbs. The one thing that really stinks is that my start, the JR 11-14 start, is second to last in our wave. I lost count of how many riders I passed and in every race you just get riders that will not get out of your way. I was 2nd to pass one rider and we actually bumped, I dont think he knew there was a second rider coming thru. I don’t think people expect Florida riders to do so well in mountains. The second place rider and my toughest competition is my friend Michael Mace from Ocala, his times were so fast he could have won the 15-18 category.”
JM finished with the fastest CAT3 time regardless of age group and was the only CAT 3 to come in under 60 minutes!!! It is certain that all his training and hard work has definitely been paying off as JM has taken the top spot on the podium at BOTH SERC races this Spring 2012 and there is definitely more where that came from in store!
Watch out for Scoot, Skate and Bike Co. Team Rider John Michael Koch–he is the kid in blue that just whizzed by you on the trails!