Mammoth, California provided a fun town, beautiful views, and a great venue to hold both the 2015 and 2016 US mountain bike National Championships. It would be an exciting and busy week of racing bikes with so many different events taking place. I was excited to have the opportunity to race in multiple different events and decided to compete in the cross country, short track, and enduro. After spending the week settling in with my team, soaking up the warm sun and good vibes. I could hardly wait to get out there and give it my all.
Friday brought the cross country race, and at 4pm I found myself on the start line with some of my favorite athletes and a large fast field of jr. women. The day was hot and we had a dusty and demanding race ahead. The long climb and fast descent was formed by loose, dusty, and rocky trails, adding another important element to the race. We were all focused and hopping with energy as the U23 women began their race right ahead of us.
We launched off the line with full speed right into the first climb. The group mixed around a little, but soon I found myself in the lead with one other rider right behind and a gap on the rest of the field. The sunlight poured down on us, but all eyes and full focus was on the trail ahead. On the steep climbs I could feel my legs were not quite with me, they were stiff and lacking quick reaction time. I knew that I would really need to listen to my body and pace myself well, hoping that if I did so I could hang on to the stars and stripes. The downhill was an absolute blast, it demanded skill and focus in the thick sand and jagged rocks, but was the perfect way to reset for the next lap.
During the next two laps the rider behind me took the pass and grew her gap, but I couldn’t fight back. I wanted to finish with the gold more than anything to finish off the season, but sometimes the battle isn’t yours to win. I gave everything I had to hang on to second and although it was not quite the race I was hoping for, I was happy with the effort that I gave. It was an exciting and brutal race with Gwendolyn Gibson, and I am so impressed by her ride to the win.
Nice and early the next morning, I found myself back on the start line for short track with all cat 1 women. It would be a fast, tactical, and short race being only 20minute + three laps.
Right off the start, the battle was in full force, with one rider building a gap into the lead. As the group began to split apart I found myself with one other rider (Kelsey Urban) working well together to catch back up to the leader. Before long, we had reached the leader and the three of us were battling it out. Another rider bridged the gap and the race was close between the four of us. Lap after lap the group was mixing and the results were unknown, making every second exciting and brutal.
With two laps to go, Kelsey and I split off once again and began fighting for the win. In what seemed like seconds, the two of us were on the finishing stretch in the close sprint for the gold. Kelsey slipped past me and I had little left to fight back. Being inches from the win is tough, but it's what makes racing bikes so rewarding. It felt good to finish with another silver after a hard fought race and stand by my great friend as she received her well earned jersey.
To top off the weekend, the enduro race on Sunday provided us with four stages of incredibly fun trails, technical terrain, and beautiful views. I was able to keep it smooth and fast throughout the long day and was thrilled to take third jr. women in my first enduro race.
It was an epic day and I feel so lucky to have gotten to share it with my rad team, Chris, Georgia, and Waldek. Good times!
This week spent racing bikes in Mammoth was so dang fun and my love for the sport grows every day. The learning experiences from these races and the emotions that followed are some that will help me grow as an athlete and prepare for what is ahead. I am happy to bring home two silvers and a bronze after three exciting days in three different events. It was a great way to finish up the season with so many amazing people.
I have many dreams and goals I hope to achieve in this incredible sport, but I know that I can not reach the sky without climbing the steepest mountain. There are beautiful views to remember and many more to come, along with new people and experiences every step of the way. I feel so lucky that I have been able to explore by bike and am looking forward to spending some quality time at home and to begin preparing for the 2017 season. I will be leaving the junior category behind, but bringing so much with me as I move forward into the U23 category. Lots of challenges and excitement to come!
But, 2016 is far from over and I am thrilled to watch many of my teammates, friends, and role models compete in Rio. Make sure to follow these amazing athletes as they give it their all for the Olympics.
THANK YOU to everyone that has truly made this possible. I want to thank the most outstanding people and companies for being a part of my journey every step of the way. My family and friends have motivated, encouraged, cheered, and supported me through the thick and thin. Dario Fredrick has helped me to become the best I can be, while teaching me all along the way. The Luna Pro Team, Waldek, Dave, Marla, Chris, Dusty, and Julien and the amazing athletes on my team, Georgia, Katerina, Catherine, Eva, Andrea, Maghalie, and Hannah have made this season truly one of a kind. The smiles and good times never stop. Our incredible sponsors make it all possible. Without these outstanding people, the adventure would not be nearly this great.