Meet the Captain: Heather Mora ('17 XC Women's Open)

Meet the Captain: Heather Mora ('17 XC Women's Open)

Dear Aggie Women, 

I am honored to be assuming the role of Cross Country Captain for this coming season. Big thanks to Liza Rieichert for all her help as I learn the ropes. What I may lack in speedy times, I plan to make up in organization and motivational skills :) 

Meet the Captain: Will Geiken ('17 XC Men's Open)

Meet the Captain: Will Geiken ('17 XC Men's Open)

Hey Aggies Open Men,

For those who don't know me, my name is Will Geiken and I've been an Aggie-by-relation for my entire life. Many thanks to my wonderful parents. I've also been a competing member of the Open Men's team for the past two years, and in that time I've had some of the best races and most enjoyable experiences of my life. Many thanks to this wonderful team.

This will be my first fall as our Open Men's Cross Country Captain, and I'm pretty flip'n excited for the coming season. We have a great group of savvy veterans and young gunners who all want the same thing in December: 3rd place at Club Nats. Only joking. While it has been made more difficult by the creation of certain super teams, we'll be racing for the win just like every year, and the exciting reality is that we will be in contention. 

Meet the Captains: Doug Steedman & Jeff Hongo ('17 XC Masters & Seniors)

Meet the Captains: Doug Steedman & Jeff Hongo ('17 XC Masters & Seniors)

Fellow HOKA Aggie Masters and Senior Oldsters,

Time to get excited about cross country again!  First race is the UC Santa Cruz Cross Country Challenge in less than 3 weeks time - Saturday August 19th (full schedule and details here).

Jeff put together a masters-oriented XC preview, and it will be included in a forthcoming club-wide email blast/social media post with lots of other good information meant to get you fired up about the upcoming season.  I don't want to steal its thunder, so won't duplicate it all here, but there are a few items worth mentioning in advance.

Aggies Defend Mixed Masters Title at Tahoe Relays

Aggies Defend Mixed Masters Title at Tahoe Relays

By Kevin Searls

It's been several weeks since the 53rd annual Lake Tahoe Relays, but another year and another trip around Lake Tahoe for the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies. 
 
As I was driving up to meet this year's team, my thoughts turned to all the Aggie brothers and sisters with whom I have shared the fun of being part of this race for the past 25 years.
When I first raced, it was a pretty consistent group of Ron Richardson, Matt Yeo, Jeff Townsend, Tom Cushman, and Tim Minor. Over the years the names have changed, but the tradition has lived on. As Ron, Matt and I always said, the hardest part of the Tahoe Relays is getting 7 healthy people to the starting line.

As in years past, health would be an issue as Robert Grove was injured and unable to race. Looking to defend our Mixed Masters title from last year, we needed someone to take Robert Grove's place.  Long time Aggie Denis O'Halloran (age 62) stepped up to take Grove's spot.  The rest of the team would be the same as last year (Noreen Searls, Erich Ackermann, Katy Manning, Mike Parrot, Dolores Bergmann, and myself).  With a new race director, new start location, and all new legs of the race this year, I didn't know what to expect. The one thing I did know was that the race was still 72 miles around the Lake. 
 
Race day: Saturday morning, 7 AM start, and a cold 40 degrees. But at least there were no snow flurries like the night before.

Coming off an injury which kept her out of the Centipede in this year's Bay to Breakers, Noreen ran a solid leg one (from South Shore to Cave Rock), and handed off to Erich Ackermann in 21st place. "Ack" volunteered to run the hardest leg of the day: a half marathon from Cave Rock up Spooner Summit and then the long down hill to Sand Harbor (7:20 pace @ 7,000'). 
 
Katy Manning took the hand-off in 17th place (after Erich managed to pick off four teams) and headed to King's Beach on her 10 mile leg.  The former Cal Poly All American ran a very strong leg, keeping the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies in the lead for the Mixed Masters Division. 
 
Denis and Katy met for the first time in the exchange zone.  Despite being the eldest member of the team, Denis covered his 10 miles to Tahoe City at the fastest pace of all his teammates, running an outstanding leg at 7:18/mile pace.
 
Leg five went to Mike Parrott.  This leg goes from Tahoe City to Meeks Bay.  The day started to heat up and some tough hills are always a challenge in getting to Meeks Bay.  Mike didn't disappoint and kept the team in the top 20 overall. 
 
Dolores Bergmann was up for the challenge of racing leg six again this year. Leg six is a constant uphill leg to Emerald Bay, but not finishing at Bliss Park like in years past. She had to go down to the bottom of Emerald Bay and climb back up for the exchange on the south side. Dolores did a great job with a strong split at 7:40 pace.
 
I ended up with leg seven.  Not my first choice, but team-wise it was the best leg for me to run: 11 miles from Emerald Bay back to South Shore.  The start of leg seven is beautiful.  There are incredible views of Emerald Bay and Cascade Lake.  As I got down to Camp Richardson, there was quite a bit of traffic from the Renaissance Fair. The day was getting hotter as my teammates gave me water so I could try to cool off. I hit South Lake Tahoe Blvd. and things got ugly.  Running the first 8 miles at 7:15 pace were followed by a struggle for the final 3 miles.  I think I was running above my fitness level in the beginning and paid the price in the end.  Finally, I crossed the finish line to the high fives and cheers from teammates, family, and fellow Aggies. 

We defended our Mixed Masters title, circling the lake in just over 9 hours, finishing in 19th place overall.  Another year and another trip around the Lake!

Leg One

Leg One

Leg Two

Leg Two

Leg Three

Leg Three

Let Five

Let Five

Let Six

Let Six

Leg Seven

Leg Seven

Finish!

Finish!

Mora 3rd at Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K

Mora 3rd at Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K

By Jameson Mora

I knew Darius was fit, as he won the Los Gatos One Mile Bang race last week, but I wasn't sure what kind of shape Will was in. The gun went off and I found out pretty quick. 

Will took off and instantly had a small lead, which he held to the finish. I stayed with him and Darius for a little while. After a quarter mile I expected them to settle in because I felt like we were going at a 1500 pace. They never let up. I let them go at around the half mile point, and still came through the first mile in 4:37, 10 seconds faster than I had planned. It was a painful and slow final 2 miles. I worked hard to hang on for third in a time 15:17.

Shoes: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer 

Terry 2nd at Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K

Terry 2nd at Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K

By Darius Terry

Just 30 miles south of my hometown, San Jose, CA, I started my Independence Day celebration with the Freedom Fest 5K in Morgan Hill. With an 8 AM start time, it was still a bit cloudy and chilly during this competition. Several of my fellow HOKA ONE ONE Aggies toed the starting line for what would soon be a dominant outing for the club as a team. 

Will Geiken set the pace from the start, and I followed right behind him. He brought me through the first mile at 4:30! From that point on, it was a two man race as there was major separation between us and the third runner. As we completed our first loop around the course, a small gap had formed between Will and I, and once we came through the second mile at around 9:16, the fatigue was beginning to set in. With about 1200m to go, I made one final push to try and challenge for the win, but my body was at its limit, and Will was out of reach. Still, I was able to secure 2nd place, and our top 5 Aggies finished in the top 10, so its was a great competition all around.

Shoe: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer

Fast mile road race in Los Gatos

Fast mile road race in Los Gatos

By Phil Jensen, Bay Area News Group

The mile run is a glamour event at track and field meets, but is rarely raced on the roads.

That is part of the attractiveness of the One Mile Bang, a road race in Los Gatos on June 25 that attracted both elite runners and those simply seeking a new personal record.

The race is along a point-to-point course between Blossom Hill Road and Lark Avenue, on the north side of Vasona Reservoir. The non-profit event benefits Cityteam Ministries San Jose. As the race website states, “Anyone can run a mile — those who are fast, slow and everywhere in between. Everyone deserves a home — no one should have to live on the street and City Team offers hope and assistance to the homeless.”

There were certainly some fast times achieved in this year’s race.

Darius Terry of San Jose produced the fastest time of the day with a scorching 4 minutes, 6.8 seconds. He was 2.2 seconds faster than the second-fastest time of 4:09.0, clocked by Benedikt Buenz of Strava Track Club. Thomas Poston of Goleta had the third-fastest time of the day (4:09.4). All three men broke the former course record.

Continue reading at: mercurynews.com

Geiken Wins Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K

Geiken Wins Morgan Hill Freedom Fest 5K

By Will Geiken

Fog. I’ve been a fan of the moisture-laden air for years, and on what might have been a brutally hot morning in Morgan Hill, it was the fog that kept conditions race-friendly. 

On the start line I found myself without a clear idea of how I intended to race. All I knew was that I wasn’t going to wait until the last mile, as I have too much respect for my teammates’ leg speed. So, in the spirit of the flat circle that is time and my season opening 5K at Brisbane, I got off the line hard and decided to see how things would shake out from there. Much like Brisbane, no one wanted to get out quite that hard, but unlike Brisbane, I didn’t hear footsteps off my shoulder at the quarter mile mark. I knew I was being chased, but I could hear that I had a bit of a gap as we finished up the opening downhill straight and turned onto the parade route. At that point I committed to the idea that my best option was to just keep hammering and hope that no one would close the gap.

For the next half mile, positioning remained largely the same. I could hear footsteps, which I later found out were Darius’, but I was holding a gap. Then we turned up the hill for the first of two times, and I recommitted myself to pushing the pace. As we ran, I started paying less attention to the footsteps and more attention to moving forward. I hit the turns hard and worked the downhill while trying to recover my breathing. Moving along the flat stretch before the final hill I couldn’t hear anyone behind me, but I didn’t want to look back to confirm for fear of losing the poise that I needed to hold onto. I also didn’t want to signal how much my body was starting to suffer. With just a long hill between me and the finish, I stuck myself into the gear that I had and worked on not running into any of the joggers who were still completing the first lap. Part of me was still waiting to hear the slap of speeding feet as another runner came to catch me at the line. It’s happened before. Fortunately for me, my tactic had worked, and I had opened up enough of a lead to win. Turning around after the finish I saw more than enough HOKA ONE ONE Aggies cross the line in quick-succession to ensure the team victory as well. A good day!

This marks my final race of the season, and it was a nice way to cap off the spring. Many thanks to my teammates, Joe, and my family and friends for what was a fun series of months.

Winning Shoe: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer

Sturgess Reports from the One Mile Bang Run

Sturgess Reports from the One Mile Bang Run

By Gordon Sturgess

I never thought I could ever run fast in the mile, just because I never considered myself a miler. But after running 4:13 at the PAUSATF One Mile Bang race, I realized that even endurance guys can run fast, if they set themselves up for a fast mile. I wasn't really going to do this race, but my teammate Jameson Mora talked me into it. He said it would be fun, so I signed up the night before. I am so glad I did! Also, I am honored to rep the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies.

Poston Third at PAUSATF One Mile Bang Run

Poston Third at PAUSATF One Mile Bang Run

Photo from PAUSATF - @pacific_association

By Thomas Poston

A somber, forgettable, four-hour car ride up to Los Gatos, California would prove to be a well invested journey to a thrilling, memorable, four-minute bout down University Lane. This gradual, downhill street overlooking the Vasona Reservoir is where the 2017 One Mile Bang race would take place. 

To put this race in context, I have not had a stellar 2017 Spring/Summer jaunt around the oval office. So, a downhill mile with team scoring wasn’t exactly my preferred venture of choice. However, the pressure that comes from the presence of a team effort may have been the exact pick-me-up I needed. A call to arms was something I hadn’t experienced in over a year, since I had last raced in the Gaucho blue of UC Santa Barbara. Noticing the HOKA ONE ONE Aggie cavalry cheerfully preparing for the race reassured me (ever so slightly) that what mattered most on the day was my effort for the team, and that is all I can ask of myself on the day.

With some last-second leg shakes and some deep breaths, the gun goes off and the hoard begins the downhill charge. Interestingly enough, we have a lead car with timing equipment rolling just ahead of the pack, giving us a constant reminder of our progress. This was a very welcoming thing to see. A road mile is an unorthodox race where most of your effort gauging is reactionary. Four minutes is not a lot of time to methodically plan your pacing compared to its four-lap counterpart on the track, where you’re being fed information every 220 to 440 yards. So the lead car helped a lot in my case, since I’m the kind of person that thrives on that constant feedback. 

An unknown runner bursts into the lead within the first 100 yards and almost pulls even with the car, a good 10 or so meters ahead of us. The rest of the pack knows full well to contain their excitement, so everyone completely ignores this early leader. We cross 440 yards in just a tick over 60 seconds, and I find myself tucked in just behind my teammate Darius Terry and two Strava Track Club runners. The rest of my Aggies teammates are in tow, almost forming a barricade in front of those attempting to retain contact. 

The next two quarter miles blitz by my recollection, as all I could do was reassure myself that all I needed to hang on and let the course and the pack pull me forward. The fun truly began once we hit 440 to go in about 3:06 to 3:07. Darius immediately coasts away just a moment or two after 1320 yards, letting us know ahead of time that the first-place medal would be in his rightful possession. In the meantime, I’m punching my ticket for a seat on the struggle bus as Benedikt Bünz from Strava Club is narrowly pulling ahead of me right as I remind myself that the time to use my last gear is fast approaching. I had scoped out the finish line earlier in the day, and had committed to making my final push by a delivery truck sitting just ahead of some markings on the road indicating 200 meters left in the race. But with the fatigue setting in quickly, I knew that I had to use my last move wisely.

Just before I hit the delivery truck, my teammate Phillip Reid decides to join me on my right side. As much I don’t want to admit it, my young gun pride kicked in once that occurred, so the final push may have had a little bit more oomph than expected. I squeeze by ever so slightly past Phillip, my head starting to rock, my arms flailing to the side, barely keeping Benedikt in sight as the finish line was approaching. I plead for one last push but I'm completely spent, stuck in my last gear and hoping the wheels would stay on for just a few more yards. I muster a desperate dip across the line in case someone had mustered up a late charge from behind, but I secure myself a respectable third place finish. 

I was personally disappointed since I found myself finishing behind a runner from a different club, but I did what I could on the day and was satisfied I had given what I could for the team effort. I craned my head around shortly after I crossed the line to see a solid number of Aggie blue, and couldn’t help but feel a sense of satisfaction knowing the team title was secured with authority. Our top four all finished under the previous course record. It was a fun day to be an Aggie, and the four-hour car ride back home was a little more enjoyable for all that. 


The Shoes: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer