This past weekend is a weekend I will always hold near and dear to my heart. It held lots of firsts and lots of lasts for me. It was the first time bringing the new edition of our family (our dog Darcy) camping, and first time having my dad and brother watch me race states. This also would ring in my last high school state championships and seeing many faces I have come to know the past four years.
Racing in the NorCal league since a young freshman in the JV category my goal was and always has been to leave it all out there on course, especially in a field of competitive girl racers hungry for a podium spot. I thought to myself as I sat on the line eyeing the competition and knowing that I had done everything I could to prepare for this moment. Nonetheless, I felt tons of nerves as I do before every race. Thankfully I had my coaches making me laugh from the sidelines and I couldn’t help but to smile and ease the nerves. Vanessa counted us down and the 40 or so of us were off the line and sprinting our way towards the long climb ahead. The group split up and right away Mina and Gwen were setting a speedy pace. I knew that I couldn’t hold that pace so I put myself in 4th knowing that I had people in sight to chase and people behind chasing me. On my first and second laps I felt kind off my game with too high of tire pressure and little air in my fork and shock, feeling more sluggish than I wanted to but I remained focus.
Finally, when I was catching back onto the group I found myself on the ground in the matter of seconds! I couldn’t believe it as I picked myself off of the simple dusty downhill and scrambled to get back on my bike. Taking a pretty hard fall covered with plenty of dust, blood, and a little bit of mud with a lap to go. Getting back on my bike I felt pretty shaken up mentally as it is difficult to be in a race and take a spill. Behind me I knew the girls were going all in for the final podium position. Coming into my third I heard my coach Mark Ferry yell “give this last lap everything you’ve got.” By now my momentum and energy levels had worn off quite a bit, and I couldn’t grip onto getting myself going again to pick up where I left off after my fall. Sadly, I was passed by 3 riders up the climb but I could see them just 100 feet or so ahead of me. This definitely was a close race, and it was bittersweet to be 10 seconds off the podium this year after I had a mechanical during states last year resulting in me to finish off the podium.
Reflecting and writing this a week later and the satisfaction of being able to leave it all out there on the course and put in a solid effort alongside some speedy ladies. The competition in women’s mountain biking seems to become more fierce each year and that’s very exciting! My Cycling Development teammates had great races and it was loads of fun spending the weekend camping with them and cheering from the sidelines. In the grand scheme of things… it’s just bike racing. Mountain biking especially is so humbling. There are good days and bad days and we have to appreciate them all. I couldn’t do what I do without the support and guidance of my coaches Jon Hyatt, Chris Sargent, and Mark Ferry. And I loved having my family there to cheer me on and it was the highlight of my season. ALSO a big big big thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, high school teams, racers, etc. involved in making high school racing into what it is today… you all ROCK and keep riding!