I’ll start my race recap off with a quote that definitely has applied to me over the past couple of months. “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Well, after 6 weeks in a row of being on the road racing bikes every weekend, the fact of the matter just became my reality. Coming into NorCal Championships always ends the long block of intense spring racing and while it’s nice to get a week break, it’s also bittersweet to know that this was going to be my last NorCal race EVER before heading into State Championships on May 14th.
The crack of dawn rolled around and I was on the road again to make the trek to Lower Clearlake to pre ride this course that many that rode the day before described as “technical, climby, with lots of switchbacks.” It didn’t sound to favorable to most and right away I knew that this type of course would be great for my strengths as a rider and confidence to take risks and leave it all out there.
On the line I experienced excitement and a little bit of jitters as my competitors and I caught up on each others past couple weeks of racing, made some small talk, and soon enough we were off! We made our way through the grassy bumpy fields into a switchback climb that soon filed into singletrack. I knew that positioning would make all the difference in this race since there wasn’t too much room for passing girls or the possibility of error. I put myself in third wheel behind a speedy pace set by Kate Kelley. The group of 6 stuck together but I could already tell we had made a gap from the rest of the field. On a switchback climb Kate made a small mistake allowing Mina to take the lead and for the rest of us to follow. Mina held a consist pace and we came through the finish with a small gap on the group of 5, but they would continue to catch us on flatter parts of the course. Coming through the feed zone I was glad the pace slowed down quite a bit, so I threw my bottle to grab a fresh one and began to visualize my next lap. Everything was going to plan, my legs were feeling strong, and most of all I was focused on the moment. I knew the time to rip attack and rip each others legs off to the finish would be coming on this third lap.
Mina took off while I dug myself to not let her slip from me. I began to suffer a ton and make a few mistakes so Clodagh came around me. It was nice to have her pacing me just a few seconds ahead so I had someone to chase and motivate catching the leader. It was a close race and a great effort by everyone on the podium! I was more than happy to finish in 3rd, and to come away knowing I left it all out there!
Again, I can’t believe we are wrapping up HS season and my last one to boot. These past 4 years with Cycling Development and Vista Del Lago High School have been some of my best. I am beyond thankful for all of the memories made, opportunities presented, and race weekends that have come from my cycling family and the NorCal League. I’ll see you all at Petaluma for State Championships in 2 weeks of time! :)