The road trip had begun and I was looking forward to the great weekend ahead. I was thrilled to be back in Missoula, Montana to race on one of my favorite courses. The weather and incredible scenery definitely did not go unnoticed, with the river right out our backdoor. The course was exactly the same as the year before, but the conditions were very different. The insanely dusty trail and hot sun would make for a unique race. As more riders rode the course the dust got thicker and the speed bumps got larger, making the course more demanding and technical for every rider. I was looking forward to checking out the Missoula drop. This fairly large drop had been on my mind for quite some time now and I was hoping to tackle the challenge. After quite some time, I finally built up the courage to ride the drop, realizing how fun and simple it was. Although I chose not to ride it in my race, I was happy to have ridden the challenging feature.
Saturday morning slowly ticked away as I waited for my 2:30pm start, with many of my teammates. I was happy to begin my warmup on such a beautiful day, but it was heating up quickly. When I got to the start the UCI junior boys took off the line at a fast pace ahead of us and I was called up first to the line.
The whistle blew and the race began! I had a great start and was able to get an early lead to begin the first climb. The gap between me and my competition grew throughout the first lap and I headed into the second feeling strong. The trail was getting looser after every lap, making the already challenging course more technical.
After the long and very loose descent, my legs were stiff, but they had plenty of time to warm up again on the long climb. I could no longer see any riders behind me, so I had to focus on maintaining a steady pace on the climbs and staying upright and smooth on the descent. Going into my third, I could hear the animated announcer as I made my way up the brutal climb for the last time. I was happy to take the win on such a demanding course and am looking forward to the next races right around the corner.
Next up Colorado Springs!