After a great week at the USA cycling womens skill clinic, I was feeling the flow back on the bike. It had been an absolutely amazing week and I had learned and experienced so much. I was getting so pumped for the first race.
This course was awesome! I have always had such a great time racing through the trees at Bonelli Park and I was finally back to begin the season. It felt like I was finally back into the sport I love, after spending days on the trainer with racing in my mind, it was good to remember what makes me love this sport so much.
I couldn't wait to launch of the line, as we stood there waiting, with the countdown bringing the excitement, as it beat in our ears. Then the legs jumped, as we pushed forward, and I fumbled with my pedal. It clicked and I finally pulled forward as I search for the front of the line. We were over the curb and flying through the feed zone, as I pushed myself to the leaders. But as the first hill climb began, my racing brain caught up to me again, and I took charge to gain a gap. I listened to the deep breathing to the sides of me and held the lead. I reached the top and began the downhill.... ohhhhh yessss.... speed once again. As the next climb was in my eyes, I took a peek behind me. I had gained a gap, but saw a few girls not to far back. My body was feeling good and I kept going at a good pace. Again, the downhill came and I came upon the pavement. I saw the red curb and went for the simple hop over, that was so smooth in my pre-ride. The back wheel hit hard, by my mistake, and I listened as the air rushed out. Crap! Are you serious right now! I waited for it to seal back up and to race off once again. Nope. psssssss. The leaking air irritated me and I launched off my bike. Spinning my tire, I hoped to hear the sound stop. Then I grabbed the air canister at my seat and loosened it into my tire. I knew this would work.... it always had. I began to worry as the thought turned to knowledge that this wasn't working, but I was determined. Thought I could ride it and keep filling it up. As I hoped on I sunk down and felt as my tire wiggled back and forth. The first few girls spun right past me and I seriously had no idea what to do. First time that this had happened to me in a race. UG. And I knew I had to keep it positive. Without any knowledge on what the right thing to do would be, well.... I ran to the feed zone. As I arrived, I learned I could have no outside assistance, but this wouldn't let me down. Yet, people helped me out. They gave me tools and I went to work on this simple task, but I was a girl that haha wasn't to speedy at this. A few girls in my category rode passed and I was way back. Haha I laughed at myself as I finished up, surprised that I had held a smile. Then, I wasn't sure what to do next. So... I simply rode back to where I flatted and began my race once again. Hmmmm maybe I would catch some racers? With all three laps finally finished, I began my ride towards the finished. Then, my mom told me to step off to the side. I was not allowed to cut the course with a mechanical, so had been DNFed. Oh well I had still had a ton of fun and I was ready to relax.
But wait... super-d? Redemption? Okay! So I was back at the top of the mountain. Beep...beep... beep...beeeeep. And I felt the breeze once again. At first, I thought I was tired, but my race mind clicked again. I pushed my legs again through the turns and into the hills. It felt goood and I finished for real this time. Crossing the line and hearing the announcer say I had been the fastest women so far, but I was just glad to finish strong. We headed to the podium and I had won my 15-18 category.
It had been a fun weekend and I huge thanks to everyone supporting me along the way! Whole Athlete for all the amazing support and help, Josh Snead for making my bike as smooth as it can be, Osmo nutrition for making me feel hydrated and strong throughout training and racing, and so many more incredible sponsors and people!
I can't wait to race Fontana. Let the season begin!