The team packed up after a busy week at team camp and arrived in San Dimas, CA for the second race of the season. This time with all eight of our athletes and all of us ready to kick some bootayyy!
Being my first season in the U23 category, there are so many times I question my strength, especially during a long winter of training. To start off the season with a strong race at Fontana, where I was able to truly give it my all and have fun doing it, was a huge boost in my confidence. It's motivating to know that the hard work is paying off and to move forward with motivation and improvements in mind. Going into Bonelli I knew the field would be larger and much more competitive, with international riders and more big names, but I was focused on myself and my own capabilities. I have nothing to lose and am ready to give it my all.
The course at Bonelli is quite demanding, with steep climbs and little rest it's easy to step right into the pain cave. On the start line I was towards the back of the pack, because I have very few UCI points, and could see the bright blue of the Clif Pro Team standing out among the rest of the field.
The whistle blew and the race was on! During the start loop I was able to slowly sneak my way forward and continued to do so during the first couple of steep climbs.
Once again I found my way into a group with my teammates and raced with them for a few laps laps. I fell off of their pace during the third lap and settled into my own. A very motivating aspect of racing in the elite category is that you can always see the riders right in front and behind you. This really allowed me to give my all in the final two laps, landing me in ninth place.
I could not be happier about how my form is feeling at this time of the season and am extremely motivated for what is ahead.
Phew!! Worn out after that one! Always fun to race with and learn from these ladies.
But the weekend wasn't over yet! It was time to rest up and prepare for the short track race on Sunday. The seven in blue dominated the field, so we planned a fun and exciting way to use our numbers as an advantage. 15minutes + 3 laps is far from easy and I was looking forward to see how the race would play out.
At the start I waited to be called up to the line... wait front row!?! Cool! Time to go wild and race bikes fast!
We took off from the line and the attacks began. Every time we reached the climb someone would sprint and for a few laps my goal was just to hang on. Soon a small group split into the lead and I settled in with the chase group. Our effort really tested the limits and I threw in a few attacks a too little early that wore me out before the finish. It was a thrilling race and great learning experience. I'm happy with 15th and looking forward to trying some new tactics next time.
The team will now part ways, but will soon join forces again at The Sea Otter Classic!