By Jonathan O'Keeffe
Published 12/01/2022; Updated 12/01/2022

Tonight’s race took us to the Makuri Islands, with one lap of the Country to Coastal loop, split pretty evenly between the older Yumezi section and the newer Urukazi section, just released a few weeks ago. It was a big race tonight, with 100+ riders, and all categories riding together. The organizers had us in category-specific kits, which I’ve never seen before, with red, green, blue, and yellow kits for the A, B, C, and D riders, respectively. Normally I don’t like races where they force everyone to wear the same kit, but this was a really nice touch that made it much easier to see who you were racing against in a mixed-category race like this one.

The race started up with an immediate surge up the dino-claw climb, which was enough to shatter the large field into a bunch of sub-groups immediately. Most of the A’s went off the front, leaving a bunch of small groups in their wake that quickly congealed into a mass of about three dozen, including Dusty, Henry, Melissa, Zinj, and me. Tim and Michael were slightly further back with the bulk of the C riders, with Tim determined to keep riding with the C’s “until they kick me out”. We pushed a pretty good pace of close to 30 mph through the flatlands of Yumezi and the slot canyon leading to Urukazi, where we hit the biggest climb of the day on a looping dirt road that leads to a false flat at the top. Henry and Melissa slid off the back along with a few other riders and had to fend for themselves the rest of the way, with Melissa taunting the riders behind her to work harder, a tactic that did not seem to be particularly effective. Zinj, Dusty, and I soldiered on through another climb back through the slot canyon, and then got a surprise at the finish when we hit the orange banner with about 0.4 miles left on the clock. Zinj and I both went hard for the barrier and I edged him out, but the actual finish was another 30 seconds up the road, and he found a second wind and surged past me for the NCC win and a seventh-place overall finish in the B group.

Results for Week Nine:

  1. Zinj Guo (B) – 7 of 44 – 86.4 points
  2. Jonathan O’Keeffe (B) – 12 of 44 – 75.0 points
  3. Tim Downey (C) – 11 of 34 – 70.6 points
  4. Dusty King (B) – 22 of 44 – 52.3 points
  5. Melissa Warwick (B) – 31 of 44 – 41.4 points
  6. Henry Wheaton (B) – 30 of 44 – 34.1 points
  7. Michael Bello (C) – 28 of 34 – 20.6 points

Season Standings after Week Nine

  1. Jonathan O’Keeffe (8 races) – 597.3 points
  2. Melissa Warwick (7 races) – 373.4 points
  3. Michael Bello (5 races) – 254.8 points
  4. Zinj Guo (2 races) – 189.1 points
  5. Tim Downey (2 races) – 170.6 points
  6. Dusty King (2 races) – 150.6 points
  7. Isaac Hoeh (1 race) – 97.3 points
  8. Patrick Ryan (1 race) – 88.9 points
  9. Charlie Bailey (1 race) – 76.0 points
  10. Henry Wheaton (1 race) – 34.1 points