What a fantastic end to my high school NorCal racing career! This final race of my senior year season left me feeling satisfied with all that has happened over the past four years. The race weekend started off on Friday driving down to the brand-new course at a fantastic venue in Clearlake. We arrived and set up camp with many of my teammates. After pre-riding the course, we all went back to camp to eat some dinner and have fun that evening before the race. The night before was a blast with all the camping festivities that occurred.
Before we knew it, the morning had arrived and it was time for the races to begin. The women’s races were first as always, and the rest of us eagerly anticipated a report on how the course was at race pace. The consensus was that the course was very tight and would therefore make for a technical and difficult race. As this was unlike any other course we had raced, our race strategies had to change somewhat.
Nevertheless, noon still came and the race was set to begin. My strategy was to pin it at the beginning to try and establish a breakaway early that would hopefully maintain position through the race. The gun went off and I sprinted for the hole shot. I got the front position and took the usual five lead riders with me. We had a gap on the rest of the group within the first 100 yards and the race was on! About ¾ of the way up the first climb, the initial sprint took its toll on me and Xander Sugarman and Tate Mentjies took off leaving me with Dylan Fryer and Julian LePelch. Soon after this, Dylan attacked and I could not hold his wheel.
I rode the rest of the first two laps of four completely alone, suffering along the way. Fortunately, I kept the pace up while also being able to recover and regain my focus. Going out for the third lap, my coach told me that I had made up almost 30 seconds on Dylan and Julian and that they were only 10 more seconds in front of me. Knowing this gave me an extra boost of motivation and I picked up my pace and caught the two in front of me by the top of the climb. I knew I could push through and drop them both if I attacked, so I made a move and went as hard as I could for a few minutes to establish separation. I managed to drop Dylan, but Julian was still with me. Going into the final lap I was in third, with Julian right on my wheel. We were together for the first half of the lap until I started taking risks and pushing the pace through the technical latter sections of the course. Fortunately, I made no mistakes and the risks paid off, allowing me to get away from Julian and finish in a highly respectable third on the day.
This was the final race of the NorCal season and overall I finished up with a second place in Varsity, which is an amazing result of which I am extremely proud. I did miss the actual podium ceremony as I had to leave to attend senior prom! Still, I am overjoyed with the results of the season and now I am ready to prepare for States on the 14th !