I made a last minute trip to the beautiful land of Canada, where the scenery and maple syrup were a few of the unique touches to this special place. I was excited to travel around with a great group of USAcycling juniors and discover new trails on my bike.
The course was absolutely amazing. Not only was it insanely fun with technical rocks, roots, jumps, tight turns, and steep climbs, but it also provided an extreme challenge for every rider. After every practice lap I was all smiles and more than ready to race.
Race day came in what felt like seconds and the excitement began to build for the 2pm race with the UCI women juniors. The day started off with clouds in the sky, but as I began my warmup ride to the venue the rain began to fall with nothing holding it back.
On the line there were about 15 of us. The rain had calmed a little, but the excitement was only getting stronger. We launched off the line and I took my place with the front group of riders, who where holding a fast pace. The start climbs were steep and a quick slap in the face for my legs, but it was a fight to the single track. I was in about fourth place as we began the first descent. The trails were slick, but still extremely fun. I was able to catch up to the rider right ahead of me and make the pass, putting me into third place. I was feeling strong and was enthusiastic to see what the race had in store for me.
In the second lap I was slowly getting closer and closer to the rider ahead of me. Heading into the third lap I was right on the wheel of second place. She pushed the pace on the steep climbs right after the start, but I held on. On the descent she gained a little gap, but only to be caught by me again on the next climb. Throughout the lap she slowly slipped away from my sight. The rain began to build into a torrential down-pour and I could barely keep my eyes open in the mud and water. The course became slicker, making every feature and steep climb so much harder, steeling energy faster and waiting to pull you down in seconds. I was slipping and running all over the place and I no longer had the smooth flow that I had only seconds before.
I was getting close to the finish, only about 3km left, but my legs where slowing down. As I passed through the feed zone a rider in my category suddenly sped past me. I fought to keep up, but she zig-zagged her way through riders in other categories ahead of me. I kept my eye on her as we got closer and closer to the finish line ahead. 2km...... 1km..... As I rounded the corner onto the final short climb, I watched third place ride over the top.
I crossed the line in fourth place after a brutal and hard race in weather different than I have ever seen before. I am happy to finish up an incredible weekend and look forward to the many races I have ahead.