On arriving at the Munich airport, the USAcycling team managed to collect together and travel to the beautiful land of Austria. Obertraun welcomed us with breath taking views and an insanely fun course. It was easy to settle in and get STOKED for the race that weekend.
The next day we couldn’t build our bikes quick enough, too antsy to pre-ride the course. That afternoon we were off, checking out every brutally steep climb and technical descent that the course had to offer. The dirt was in perfect condition, the roots, rocks, and drops were a thrilling challenge, and the trail was surrounded by glowing green trees. After learning the many different lines to the best of our ability we were all smiles and had a hard time dragging ourselves off course to relax and recover.
After a lot of travel, I have always found it hard to get my body back to feeling itself again. My legs feel stiff and slow for a little while, but being in such a peaceful area to breath in fresh air and simply feel the excitement of being in a new place helps my to keep my mind on track. It’s not a bad place to spend some free time.
In what seemed like seconds, Sunday was upon us and it was time to do what we came here to do. Race bikes. The U23 boys headed out for their race in the morning and Kelsey and I awaited our start time. After watching out USAcycling teammates grab some great results, I was motivated and ready to give it a go. At 13:00 the U23 women lined up behind the Elite women. It was great to see my Clif Pro Team teammate Eva and Catherine with smiles on there faces and ready to crush it. I feel so lucky to have such inspiring and supportive teammates to race with.
Two minutes after the elite women launched off the line, it was go time. The whistle blew and the race was on. Off the start I was able to get into the lead and push the pace. The first couple climbs were steep and painful and after finishing half a lap for our start loop, we had four laps to go. I built a gap from the riders in my category, but the course constantly winded back and fourth so I could see many of the riders that were behind and in front of me. Even though all of the elite women were minutes ahead, it felt as though the gap was only seconds, motivating me to push forward. Lap after lap I raced to catch up with the elite field while conserving a for the last lap. When the fourth began, my legs started to feel more like themselves and I put everything I had left on the steep climbs and focused on staying as smooth as possible on the technical sections.
It felt good to finish as the first U23, knowing that this race was perfect tuning for the World Cups up ahead. Not only was the course an absolute blast lap after lap, but it was also incredible to be a part of such great vibes at this event. I’d love to come back some day.
Sad to say goodbye to Obertraun, Austria! Wish I could spend more time here, but I am looking forward to the adventures ahead. Now to Czech for the first World Cup!