Right after Bonelli I had my sights on Fontana, but also was looking forward to lots of fun in the beautiful California weather. Throughout the week, my team and I spent lots of time wandering on the great trails right out our backdoor and relaxing. It was so incredible to spend time with my team and get ready to race in such an amazing area.
All of a sudden race day was right in front of me. I was so stoked to see how the second race of the season would turn out and to get some UCI points. After pre-riding, I felt confident on the rocky, loose, and fun course. There were a few hard climbs and I knew it would be important to pace myself right and stay smooth on all the descents.
At the start, I was surprised to see only three other girls on the line, including my teammate Kelsey, for the UCI junior 17-18 girls. When we took off, I decided to see what the other girls pace was like, so I followed them off the line. Right away I noticed that this was not the pace I wanted to go and I went into the lead right as we reached the next dirt road. When we got onto the steady long road climb Kelsey took the lead and I followed her into the single track. Going over one of the rocks she stumbled and I squeezed by her. I settled into a steady pace and realized the I had built a gap. There were lots of junior boys out on course and I was able to ride with a group of them throughout the two laps. This way I could work with them on the long flats and I could follow some of their lines on the downhill. I felt very smooth and strong on the course and was able to stay ahead of the other riders in my category. I finished the race happy with the win and how I raced.
The first two races of the season and great week of riding was absolutely incredible. I can't thank my amazing family, team, sponsors, and supporters enough for making everything possible. I am excited for the season ahead and hope to make more dreams come true. Ride on!! :)
As I landed at the Ontario airport on Thursday afternoon, it finally hit me that race day was just a few days away. The heat was almost unbelievable as we walked outside into a perfect California day, but I still felt no stress for the first race of the season.
I slowly had to get myself back into the race week routine, which I hadn't used since July, and get ready for a Saturday morning race. With a pre ride of a very dusty, loose, and rocky, yet very fun course under my belt, I was ready to race. The excitement began to build throughout the night, but it was still hard to believe that the race season was already here.
On the line, I squeezed my way into the front row, with all the cat 1 women, and settled into race mode. I was so ready :) 10 seconds to go..... wowza was I actually about to race?...... GO! And the race season had begun! I had a great start off the line and went straight into the lead. This wasn’t quite the position I had hoped for, wanting to pace myself instead, but I settled in and we made our way to the first climb. The group of about fifteen women was following right behind me, including my teammates Kelsey and Veda. As we reached the first descent I was following Kelsey and another cat 1 women, when I slid out on a very dusty and loose turn. The crash came as a surprise, but I jumped up as fast as I could to begin the chase. The three of us already had a good gap on the rest of the category, so I just focused on catching up to the racers ahead of me. On the next dirt road I had caught the cat 1 women and took the pass and Kelsey was right in sight. Throughout the lap I was close behind her, but could not quite reach her. We reached a long road stretch and my teammate, Carson Beckett, raced past me right behind a group of riders in his category. I hopped on his wheel and followed them until we reached Kelsey. She was holding a steady pace and we made our way towards the finish. One lap was complete and I took the lead. We slowed down the pace a little and throughout the lap I made sure to pace myself for the last lap.
Kelsey and I had stayed really close together throughout both the first and second lap, so I had no clue what would happen in this final lap. Right away I brought up the pace to see if I could get a gap. Noticing that Kelsey was staying pretty close to me, I slowed down again, knowing I would not be able to hold that speed. Through the descent Kelsey and I were right together and reaching the next climb I went to build the gap again. I was able to hold it until we were out on the stretch of road, where I noticed that she was still close behind. I slowed down and she caught up with me. This was a super exciting and close race and I had no clue what would happen next. When we reached one of the final climb and I began to go all out. I was finally able to build a gap and my eyes were on the finish line. I reached the grass, where I stood up and sprinted to the finish.
I am so stoked to have taken the win at the first race of the season and can hardly wait for Fontana, where I will be able to recieve UCI points as a U19. I can’t thank my team, sponsors, family, and teammates enough for giving a great start to the season. I will spend the week here in CA until the next race, doing some great riding and enjoying some beautiful and hot days. Let the season begin!!
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Count down until team camp took forever and then the insanely fun weekend flew by in seconds. I had the most incredible time meeting my new teammates and I already know there is no other group of junior athletes that I would rather race with this season. I am getting stoked for the season right around the corner and have no doubt it's going to be a good one.
Just a few awesome shots of the incredible views. The trails were so fun and being able to look over your shoulder and see the ocean wasn't too bad :)
And say hello to your 2015 Whole Athlete/Specialized team!
From left to right: Me, Anders Johnson, Carson Beckett, Zach Peterson, Kelsey Urban, Chris Blevins, Veda Gerasimek, Cypress Gorry, Mike Mace, and Aidan Bond.
And a huge thanks to all of the support that my team and I have received. During the weekend we learned about product, nutrition, and training. The incredible resources included Dario Fredrick, Sport and Spine Therapy of Marin, Abby Cunningham, Bryson Perry with DNA, and Troy Hoskin with Quarq.