My incredible journey began on April 22nd, when I arrived in Stuttgart, Germany. I spent the day there with some great friends that have given me so much help and support throughout my racing. I enjoyed my jet-lag filled day with some great food and some wandering in the beautiful area.
The next morning I enjoyed a perfect European breakfast and made my way to the airport to meet up with the rest of the USAcycling junior team. This group includes some of my favorite racers in the world. Together we drove through the alps and arrived at our beautiful destination in Oetz, Austria.
I had been looking forward to these two weeks of traveling to race with USAcycling, in Germany and Austria, and finally the trip had arrived. The views and riding were absolutely incredible and excitement was growing for the approaching race. After pre-riding the course I realized that this is probably the most technical and steepest course I have ever ridden. Although it was such a challenging course, I was feeling very smooth and confident on the trail.
Race day finally came, but we spent the day waiting for our afternoon race. Being the first onto the start line, with about 40 girls, I was feeling stoked and more than ready to race.
The whistle blew and we launched off the line in a fast pace. We went around a short start loop on pavement and I found myself with in the top 10. When we reached the first A line the riders speed lowered dramatically, causing me and many others to run down the technical descent. I was still holding a good position among all the riders and lowered my speed to pace myself for the four laps. Riders began to pass me left and right and I soon found that my legs had no interest in moving any faster. I felt this for the rest of the laps, fast and smooth on the descents, but slow and painful climbing. On the third lap my mind was blurry and unfocused, my flow on the descents was no longer with me. I crashed pretty hard at the end of the first A line on this lap and spent the rest of that lap trying to find a positive mindset, but my legs still weren't moving in the way I had hoped. Going into the fourth and final lap I found more flow and positivity. I was still struggling a lot throughout the lap, but I focused on finishing the race.
Although this wasn’t the exciting race that I had been hoping for in Europe, I learned more about racing and myself than in any other race. I look forward to the race in Germany next week, no matter what happens, and am excited for some great riding in this beautiful area until then.
A huge thanks this awesome USA juniors team, USAcycling, Dario Fredrick, my supporters, and all of our sponsors for making this season one of a kind.
Can't wait for all of the adventures to come!
The team left Bonelli #2 and made a stop in Marin, California to enjoy some great food, riding, and of course the beach.
After a great week spent enjoying beautiful trails in Marin California, we made our way to the venue packed with endless tents, with a beautiful morning ride for coffee and lots of relaxing.
And I was ready to race! The course was long with lots of dirt roads and dust, I knew that crashing would not be uncommon on the loose and fast course.
I warmed up with chilly fog all around me and was able to watch my teammates Anders and Carson finish before my start. On the line there were about fourteen 17-18 girls in my category, including my teammate Kelsey.
We took off and I settled into a spot right behind the leaders for the climb. I took the lead for the descent to avoid crashing, but let the other girls go back into the lead on the road descent. For the rest of the race we squeezed our way through the long line of categories in front of us. I was able to stay with Kelsey in the lead and I made sure to pace myself, drink, and eat throughout the long race. When we reached the final dirt road climbs there were about five of us in a group. On the last climb before the single track, Kelsey and I picked up the pace and then sprinted for the trail.
I took the lead and picked up the pace a lot, with Kelsey right on my tail. When we got to the final climbs I stood and gave it my all. I was able to get a tiny gap from Kelsey before the road to the finish. I put my head down and spun as fast as I could to the line. I'm happy to take the win after such a close and exciting race!!
Huge thanks to Whole Athlete for making everything possible, with all the support and fun. Stoked for the races to come!
Next up for me is a trip to Europe! I will be traveling with USAcycling and teammates Carson, Chris, and Kelsey will be joining me, as well as Ksenia Lepikhina and Cassie Ross. I can't wait!
After a couple weeks home to relax after starting off the season at Bonelli and Fontana, I made my way back for Bonelli #2. I was very happy with the way I raced in the first races of the season and was hoping to stay strong in this race as well, especially with UCI points on the line. The course was short, but the steep climbs and technical sections required full focus. I would be bringing out the Specialized Epic for this one and could hardly wait to race.
After a long day of waiting for the race to come, I made my way to the line for a 4:30 start. At the start I went straight into the lead and lead the UCI junior women into the start loop. Ksenia took the lead and took us into the first climb of our first lap. Kelsey went by me and we settled into a solid pace throughout the first lap. Towards the end of the first lap Kelsey took the lead into the grass and the rest of our category was not in sight. I followed Ksenia through the feed zone, but then took the pass and got on Kelsey’s wheel. We went into to the first climb, where I took the lead. The heat was definitely noticeable, so I made sure to drink as much as possible. I was keeping a steady pace on all the climbs and used the
descents to gain a gap and recover. I kept this pace through the third lap too, but Kelsey was close behind. We entered the fourth and final lap and I picked up the pace on the climbs. The steep climbs made my legs scream and I have probably never breathed harder in my life. I had made a gap from the rest of my category and was stoked to finish with the win.
I am extremely happy with how my season has started and how much fun I have had. I couldn’t do it with out the incredible support of the team and our sponsors.
Now we are making our way to the Sea Otter Classic with some great riding on the way! Can't wait!
Now, I never really post on my blog unless it has something to do with racing, training, etc, but there is so much more involved with being an athlete, and especially in mountain biking.
Almost every ride I go on is absolutely incredible, with the exhilaration and joy for life that it brings me, but there is always that one special ride that brings you to a new level of stoke. It reminds you of why you ride.
"there is so much more that goes into our passion"
Yesterday morning, I woke up bright and early with my dad to hop on the frozen trails. It had snowed the day before (which was pretty random, since it's been spring like for a few weeks now), so we love to get on the trails before the snow starts to melt and turn the dust into thick mud. I bundled up with layer after layer for the 14 degree morning, reminding me of the incredible fat biking earlier in the year. The second I entered the chilly air of the beautiful morning, I was refreshed and filled with an unexplainable energy. There's something about a cold early morning, with the sun rising in front of you, that's really special.
I guess it's almost impossible for me to explain the joy that these simple moments from riding a bike can give you, but I'm hoping you know exactly what I mean. I have experienced hundreds of these moments, but there is one that moment, a few years ago, that I was able to finally get close to putting it into words. I wrote this little story in a travel blog as a school assignment in 9th grade, but I ended up using it in a speech I shared at the 2013 NICA awards ceremony for the Trek All Star Award. Anyways... :) I hope you enjoy and can remember your own special experience.
So here goes....
Park City, Utah is one of the most beautiful places, with seasons that change in amazing colors and joy. On a ride last fall, the leaves had changed from simple greens into the most outstanding flames of yellow, red, and orange. The calm breeze became a chill to the bone and the clouds were beginning to bring a little snow. When you looked outside, and into the sky, you could feel it in the air, the need for an adventure awaited me.
The moment the sun brought a little shine and looked as if there was a chance of warmth, I threw on some warm clothes and hopped on my bike. The freezing breeze brought me a chilly surprised, but I carried on, a journey awaited me. My dad and I hit the trail, although the air froze our fingers and our feet. We flew through the flames and the sparks fell behind us, with our thoughts far behind and freedom ahead. As we traveled onward snowflakes began to fall, it was absolutely beautiful. The white against the glowing trees was outstanding and the snow slowly became larger and faster. Soon a small blizzard was all around us and the wind gusted, blowing the snow through the trees and into the sky. My smile shined through my eyes, for this was an amazing experience, I could hardly believe it. Turn after turn we flew, with fog filling the air and the trees standing out like stars in the sky. Down the hill we rode, between the trees and through the snow. We headed home, back towards warmth but away from the beauty, where fall had turned to winter.
Now get out there for some epic riding!!