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Will Geiken News

Geiken, Bauhs One-Two at Lawson Memorial XC

Geiken, Bauhs One-Two at Lawson Memorial XC

By Gordon Abbott

Cool and sunny weather following a couple of days of light rain made for perfect racing conditions in Marin County today. The HOKA ONE ONE Aggie Open Men's Team took full advantage at the John Lawson Memorial cross country race at China Camp by the San Francisco Bay. 

The course is a test. A fairly tight fire road start gives way to rolling single track after a quarter mile. A mile of that takes you to a quarter mile of blacktop and a sharp left back onto up-and-down single track which lasts until the finish. To quote the great beer miler Brandon Shirk, "You gotta get out." A slow start can leave you struggling to pass on the twisting trail. 
 
Will G and Scott got out hard, taking Johnny Lawson Jr. of Tamalpa with them. Although an out of shape Johnny faded a bit, Will and Scott rolled to a one-two finish to lead a winning Aggie squad. Mark (5th), Derek (7th), and Aric (11th) filled out the scorers, with Neil, Tyler, and Brent right behind. It was a great day for Derek, who is clearly on an upward trajectory.
 With wins at Santa Cruz, GGP, Garin Park and the Matt Yeo meet, only the PA championships on November 19th remain in the quest for a perfect PA season. After that it's on to Lexington for Nationals.

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In addition to the fine showing by the Open Men's team, some of our veteran Aggies XC runners answered the call as well. We were just one geezer short of a team: Doug, Roger, Jeff, and Ernest acquitted themselves well, finishing within about 30 seconds of eachother. Along the way, Doug won the over sixties by a comfortable margin.

Ryan Gustafson elected not to run but showed up with his camera to be our photographer. Thanks for that and to Amanda from HOKA ONE ONE for showing up to keep us all in line...

When you race in Marin, a post race lunch stop at Marin Brewing Company has become a tradition. That was fun as always. If you haven't witnessed it yet, these are great times for our club. We will be in full force at PA's. Don't miss it!

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Geiken Leads 1-5 Sweep at Matt Yeo XC

Geiken Leads 1-5 Sweep at Matt Yeo XC

By Will Geiken

The Matt Yeo Aggie XC Open was a banner day for the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies Open Men. For me, the highlight of the day was warming up with 20 familiar faces. I’m still a little amazed that we fielded the equivalent of three varsity teams for our home meet, and I would like to extend my thanks to my fellow teammates and the club as a whole for creating such an incredible environment.

Niceties aside, a race is a race, and another great part about our club is the fact that we know how to throw down when the gun goes off. Because I’ve been caught mid-pack in some important races, I’ve been making a point of getting off the line hard this season. On Saturday that left me at the front of the race with my teammate and counterpart from Chico, Will Reyes. We had just met each other before the race started, but I’d learned a little about him from race results and from others who know him a little better. What was important at that point in time was the fact that he has been on a tear lately. Based on what I’d heard, I was expecting either a hard effort from the gun and/or a massive surge during the second half of the race. Would it be the former, the latter, or both? After about a half mile, he moved commandingly into the lead and began pushing ahead, so that partially answered my question. Unsure about how soon to move, I decided to stay within striking distance without overdoing the first mile. That lasted for about 100 meters though, as Scott moved by me and bridged up to Will’s shoulder all in the span of a few seconds. At that point I knew that I needed to be right with that crew, or I was going to be left behind. A quick surge put me at the tail end of the pack, and that’s how we ran through the remainder of the first two mile loop.

Now, I’ve also known Scott to put the hammer down during the third mile on this course, so I was expecting something big to happen as we started the second loop. I think I was a little too ready for it though because I ended up being the one to jump to the lead and put in a hard surge that strung us out again. As a result of that move the race was left as a battle of the Will's (sorry, it’s too easy) and the two of us ran together into the start of the fourth mile. The other Will took the lead back before we went over the bridge that serves as the course’s only hill, and I proceeded to take it back as we headed into the single track section of the course. At that point I committed to staying awake and keeping the pace hard. As it turned out, this was a winning strategy on Saturday. I’m sure it’ll be a different story when we all race again at PA's, but, at least this time around, I heard the footsteps behind me begin to fade as I put the pedal down. From there I doubled down on keeping my turnover fast and efficient. Working through the remainder of the race, I was never sure exactly how much room I had, so when I turned onto the final stretch and heard the melodious voice of Pete Sweeney announce my name, my high school, my high school's mascot, and my entire family tree, I was finally free to breath a little easier.

After finishing I turned and quickly saw four Aggies round out the remaining spots needed for a sweep. (Last year I ended up placing 6th at this meet and blew the sweep, so it was nice to take part in a redemptive race this time around). Even more exciting, though, was the short amount of time it took to see each of the remaining Aggies cross the line. You know it’s a good day when you can remove your top five runners and still have a winning team. (Team results are here.

My thanks to all of the Aggies who helped make the meet possible. It was quite the day. And to all of the Aggies who raced on Saturday, congrats! We’re on our way to some exciting possibilities in the coming months…

WINNING SHOES: HOKA ONE ONE Carbon Rocket  (Prototype)

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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. 

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

Geiken 3rd at Marin 10K

Geiken 3rd at Marin 10K

By Will Geiken

For me the Memorial Day 10k marks the continuation of what has been one of the best spring seasons that I have had. By comparison, at this same race in 2016 my teammates (eventual winner and runner-up, Chris and Sean) were long gone after the opening quarter mile. The pack that I started with began their own race at the 5k mark, while I ran most of the second half of the race on my own. I finished a moderately disappointed 10th in a time of 32:01. Given how training with plantar fasciitis had been going, the result wasn’t too surprising, but it hurt all the same.

This year I started the race on the shoulder of the leader, Malcolm Richards of West Valley, and ran with the leaders for the majority of the race. Instead of running by myself, I was able to be a factor at the front and make some moves of my own, which is a fantastic feeling. In the end Phil split the group apart with just under a mile to go, but I was able to hold on for 3rd, and finished over 1:30 faster than last year.

While I don’t think of this year's race as being perfectly executed, the degree of personal improvement that I have seen in the past year is something that I am grateful for. It speaks to the quality of my teammates and how supportive the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies are as a club. I look forward to keeping the season rolling with this great crew.

Geiken Reports From Winning Men's Centipede

Geiken Reports From Winning Men's Centipede

By Will Geiken

On the Friday before Bay to Breakers a few of the San Luis Obispo HOKA ONE ONE Aggies were discussing the upcoming weekend on our run. As we reminisced about years past, each of us broke into kid-in-a-candy-store style grins, imagining the fun that was to be had. For us, B2B is as exciting as Christmas is to a five-year-old. We get so excited that we can hardly sleep.

As a second generation Aggie, I’ve been listening to stories about the centipede for more years than I’ve been running. For better or worse, I knew about the 'pede long before learning about most of the more famous aspects of B2B, i.e., nudity, the Panhandle, etc. During my adolescence I heard tales of garbage bags, the great Lenichi, and even fist fights between competing teams that were definitely started by the Power Bar team. So, when the time came for me to join the 'pede last spring, I was stoked. Of course, no one mentioned that running a 12k whilst being simultaneously pulled forwards and backwards by bungee cords isn’t actually fun. It’s only fun to look back on as you laugh over a cold one. In any case, the experience as a whole is one that I remember quite fondly, and I was more than excited to be back this spring. For one, I felt like we had a faster team and might not be as pressed by West Valley. Secondly, I was more fit, which meant that I should only have bungee tension in one direction this time around.

As it turns out, we did have a faster team, but so did West Valley. For the first three miles we ran next to each other, exchanging curious glances and occasional banter. Fortunately for us, a few surges in the park gave us enough breathing room to settle into a tempo that we could all hold. It also turned out that, while I was more fit, so were those around me, which meant that I hardly had any bungee tension at all. That fitness is a double edged sword though, and I almost cost us the race as a result. Nearing the final series of turns before the finish I saw my family on the sideline cheering us on. Given how well things were going, I decided to give them a thumbs up and a smile. A note for the uninitiated: in a 'pede, never take your eyes off of the person in front of you. Because we were running slack, my lack of attention led to my flat-tiring the runner in front of me. That would be Phil, who also happened to be carrying several extra pounds of equipment for a video feed of the race. A series of expletives and a quickly jammed heel on Phil’s part had us safely through, but it could have easily gone from bad to worse. Fortunately, luck and Phil’s dexterity were on our side, and we moved on to the finish and another win without further incident.

In the finish chute I apologized for my lapse, and we all exchanged quick hi-fives before moving on. I still felt guilty for making such a rookie mistake, but everyone was in good enough spirits having accomplished our primary goal that I was allowed to forgive myself. From there we were swept up in the magic of Golden Gate park, and we settled into another time honored tradition of the 'pede: talking about how we’re really going to go after that club record next year. We’ll have so and so, and we’re getting X number of new guys, and we might even be able to take down LinkedIn’s course record. Even if it’s just talk, it’s fun to go over which individuals we would need and how we would break down the splits. And who knows, maybe next year we will have so and so. Maybe we’ll even get X number of new guys. We might even chase LinkedIn’s course record.

GEIKEN'S WINNING SHOE: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer