Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

It's about showing up.
12,738 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The day of the Men’s Jr. race has finally arrived. A Clear and bright day had John Bennett seeded 16th, a second row seat, giving him a nice placement to run with the big dogs. From the start John was with the lead group and there is a photo of him from the first lap about 1.5 klicks into the race starting to climb (taken by the Canadian photographer Rob Jones who was our best source if imaging.) If you know John this is how you want to see him. He’s primed, he is smiling and licking his lips and looking forward to the competition because now his can ride the way he wants. The bike is dialed, he is rested and he is starting up front. He is going to execute his climbing strength and race as I have seen him do so many times before.
Alas, it was not to be. A bit further along in this climb he was rammed by another climbing rider in the rear disc brake and caliper. I believe that the rotor was not bent so I imagine that the caliper was knocked askew. This caused it to drag so substantially that he needed to pedal to get downhill at any speed. He was unable to repair it himself. and lost ground quickly. In any case at the end of the first lap he was in 77th place.
By the second lap Rob Jones had moved a bit further uphill and grabbed a shot of John ascending and the look on his face tells all. He is working far too hard for a grade he would normally just sprint up and he is troubled with what he knows to be a tough hand. He soldiered on for two more laps and was pulled from the race.
When I spoke with his dad Keith, who got off the phone with John just before 4 am this morning and called me back, he said John was really disappointed. I think we all were disappointed ourselves and for John. Hope is a fragile thing and determination thwarted is very frustrating. John makes no excuses and assigns no blame; that is not his way. Later in the day he told his dad he was pleased that he placed and did not receive a DNF.
I talked with him just a while ago. He told me that when he brought the bike in the wheel would stop spinning in about 5 revolutions from top speed. The Team Mechanic was able to repair the disc brake in about a minute. We just took a deep breath and shook our heads: “whistle through your teeth and spit” as Jerry Garcia sang. I told him how proud I was of him, how proud we all are of his amazing effort and his bearing and reminded him that everyone simply wanted him to have an amazing experience. We spoke of enjoying the rest of the races and support his team. I encouraged him to buy his XC Jrs a lunch on El Cerrito Racing and have a fine time.
Let’s not forget the other boys who raced today who are now John’s solid riding buds. Robbie Squire who raced against John at Santa Ynez and traveled to the UCI Champs with him, had a fine finish at 23rd. Kerry Werner, winner of the Greenbriar race in Maryland for his berth, finished 85th. Seamus Powell who raced at both Santa Ynez and Greenbriar crashed on the course, came up somewhat bloody at the leg and flatted finished 92nd under his own power and seems not to be seriously injured.
Like many of our El Cerrito Racing friends I work with kids who race and they tend to bounce back pretty quickly physically and mentally. These boys are some of the best we have and they will parlay this into an incredible momentum. So when you see them at Park City they may swagger just a little; they’ve earned it.

Michael Mejia
Director, El Cerrito Racing


8,019 Posts
This is my wife's 5th worlds.

2004: 45th. Pulled.
2005: 53rd. Finished only because the laps were long.
2006: 32nd. Better but 20 minutes off the leader.
2007: 6th, only 4 minutes off the leader. (amazing what losing 10 pounds does for racing)
2008: Hoping for a top 5.

Tell him to be patient. North American junior are 4-5 years behind their Euro's. This mean the Euro's reach their peak at 25, North Americans at 30. The peaks are equal.
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.