Alexander Hill - USA Cycling Cross Country Nationals

First UCI XCO Junior and National Championships in the books! This race was a true adventure. The final hurdle on a 10 month journey. All the sacrifice and hours of time and energy put into training all ended with this. After flying into Pittsburg on Thursday then driving 4 hours to the mountain resort of Snowshoe, I awoke the next morning in the team house to the sound of pouring rain, something that I would hear frequently over the next three days. After throwing on some new tires and sealing them with Stans and building up my bike, I went out for a pre ride with Josh. It took me probably about 2 minutes to realize the course was pretty crazy. The rock gardens, the roots, mud, etc.. all of it came together to create an epic track. There were for sure some sketchy sections I had to work through, and I dialed in lines for a few hours before watching the Pro Men and Women's short track races with my teammates on Friday night. After a good dinner out, I got a great night of sleep before fast forwarding to race day. A storm system was heading our way and planned to hit the Mens Junior race right as we were all lining up to race, so in total we received an hour an 45’  weather delay for the start of our race. This threw everyone’s nutrition and warm ups out the window, mixing up the race a little bit due to the reaction some rider’s bodies had after going from no warm up to zone 5. One of the largest fields of the whole Championships, at 85 riders, I had the 83rd call up due to my recent upgrade. Once the race got started, I had a fairly good start, but truly started to shine on the climbs, working my way through the field picking off riders then hanging on through the downhill. I played it safe every lap by running the flat rock garden that troubled a lot of the riders about half way through the course, due to the recent storms the course was very very muddy and slippery in some places, and then rode the downhill rock garden, thankfully clean every lap. I felt consistent during my race, always working my way up the field and never back. I drank regularly and kept eating, not until the final fire road climb on the fourth lap did I start to experience cramping in my legs, merely from exhaustion. Overall, after being pulled on the fourth lap, I rolled in 50th. This may seem far down in the field, but for my first Nationals, I’m happy. For me, this leaves plenty of room to improve and the fact that I felt good the entire race leaves me feeling confident that I can work my way up through the field at following USAC races next season. I also just wanted to take a minute to thank the amazing people that have played a huge role in the successful season I've had. Thank you to my coaches for all the time and effort they put in to making sure we are able to race the best we can and have fun while doing it, my teammates and sponsors for the support, and my parents of course for everything. I couldn't progress further towards my dreams without any of you. Thank you to SCOTT bicycles for the support this season, it has been an incredible experience being on a team with not only some of my very good friends as teammates, but also to be on a team that has not only helped me progress greatly on the bike the past year, but also mentally as an athlete. Here's to another year in the books and to many more!