Three out of four ain't bad: Raptors travel south to Mountain View and dominate "Zimbabwe" race.

Post date: Jan 21, 2013 2:03:19 AM

April 1, 2012

Gary had told us that this was a cool race and he and Jared have a perfect record of recommending fun stuff so there we were in Mountain View. I hadn't even made it in the gate from the parking lot (after a great ride down. What a nice day!) and I knew this would be fun. There was what I assume to be a Zimbabwean band playing away making the whole event seem like some great party you are really happy to have been invited to. As usual with this crew we had coffee and Krispy Kremes courtesy of Gary and all kinds of other great snacks courtesy of the other great parents.

So, the races began. The first race we had entries in was the third/fourth grade boys. Well, okay, Drew (8) and Kyle (10) are not quite Raptors yet, but we are working on it. In fact we will be working with a bit more fervor since Drew won the race and brother Kyle (who is more of a 10K guy) finished fifth!

Drew not only won but he had to fight off a last-minute charge on finish straight from a strong 2nd place runner. Kyle started fairly far back and then calmly reeled runners in one-by-one until he had climbed to fifth. Both kids were really impressive and we hope to have then in b&w jerseys soon!

Kyle (left) and Drew with Dad.

Next "Raptor's" race up was the 5th and 6th grade boys. Jared won this race last year (in the 3rd and 4th grade class), it is one of his favorites and. . . well, he wanted this one! And he got it. And he earned it. After Jared moved up from a mid-pack start, he and another much taller kid raced toe-to-toe the entire way. Turns out the other kid plays ice hockey so he didn't totally grasp that excessive physical contact is not the norm in running! He was leaning on Jared and none-to-subtly throwing elbows. . . finally near the end, as Jared went into his kick, the other kid just chopped him; cut him off big time.

Jared and the other guy were this close for the whole race.

Jared is generally Annabel-level pleasant but by now he was ticked off! So he put the hammer down and beat the guy. I mean the last straight was a ful sprint race and I really didn't think Jared could do it! The other guy wanted it too and had a much bigger stride. But Jared ended up having more heart. He passed the guy with maybe 20-30 feet left in the race and just moved carefully and cleanly in front of him, giving the kid a taste of his own medicine. It was amazing, one of the best races I've seen in a long time. We knew Jared was tough. . . but wow!

That's how close it was at the finish line!

Not to be outshone, Krisna came back from a slow start, and just like Kyle in the prior race picked 'em off one by one. Off the start Krisna was near the back. Halfway throught the first loop he was ninth and then in the second loop he passed another four people to take fifth! An outstanding run. And what are the odds of that? Two races and Raptors 1st and 5th in both?

Krisna picks off another runner.

Next up was the 7th/8th girl's race. Annabel was sporting a very flashy orange coolmax race shirt (yea, of course she had won it at some Brazen race or another!) and was super-relaxed (as always) and ready to go. Her competition looked reasonably formidable. I watched some of the other girls warming up and they looked fast! Could Annabel have met her match?

Yeah. . . um. Right Rick. . . whatever. . .

All of the races before had been close, but this one? Not even. Annabel simply made mincemeat of the field. By the third turn she was in the lead and then she proceeded to pull away, ending the race in an absolutely unpushed-by-anyone 6:02! Annabel was going so fast that she kept catchi8ng the lead bicycle. I mean he was in her way! If it had been me in my more compeitive days I probably would have hit the guy upside the head! But Annabel? She just slowed down to avoid him. What? You think she would want to hurt his feelings?

Annabel and the "bike guy."

Watching Annabel today I really do have to believe that she, Claire and Annie are simply the three best middle schoolers in the Bay Area. They show up they win, they set course records and (have we noticed?) virtually never have what could even be called an "off day." It's no mistake that three different HS coaches are very excited about having these girls on their (varsity!) teams next year.

The winnah!

Ahh but we still had one more Raptor race remaining. Nikhil, Jamie, Michael and Michael (remember Michael from Willard? Basketball is over the he's back to Raptors!) we all in the 7th/8th boy's race. Unfortunately only Nikhil and "Michael one" emerged from the race unscathed. Nikhil ran a great race, working up through the pack to finish just a few seconds off Annabel's time with a 6:05. Michael, who keeps improving virtually week by week turned in a sparkling race to set a new mile PR! Congrats Michael.

Michael heads toward his mile PR. His form is getting very good!

Jamie suffered through a terrible stitch which came on early in the race. He was brave just to finish and he finished strong. Michael Gopez has been bothered by a knee injury and it recurred today. As he ran by me he said he couldn't even feel his knee! Did he finish? Even though Gary and I were saying, "Maybe you should stop!" he persevered and finished.

So there we have it. Three trophies and one of them (Annabel's) was huge and she got a cool Olympics book courtesy of Track and field News.

The race directors had collected hundreds of used running shoes to send to Djibuhti. The Raptors helped load them. The truck was full!

Afterwards we repaired to a great brew pub/food place (awesome garlic fries and wonderful coffee) called (I think, you know me!) the "Tied Inn?" We had a lot of food and the kids managed to consume at least 90% of it!

As Gary had told us, this race was fun, exciting and very well-run. I also loved the fact that about 85-90% of the course could be viewed from virtually any spot one chose. This is on the "must do" list for next year!