The first race of the season was a success for me. I was going to race High School Expert girls, even though I’m in eighth grade. It was a small local race, but I was there with something to prove. This would be my first season as a 15-18, and I won’t even be 15 until December. All I wanted was to start the season and prove to everyone there that I’ve stepped up my game to race with older competitors.
The TBF Kickstart was on Sunday the 22nd. The venue was dry early in the morning, but it was freezing and overcast. High School Expert girls would do three laps on a six mile course. I got in a pretty good warmup on the trainer, and despite the cold I was warm on the start line. The Highschool Expert boys and girls were started in the same wave, so the start was pretty crazy. I got stuck behind some of the boys until the first wide open muddy section, where I took the far inside line and passed a few of them. I was in second when I hit the main climb, and I could see first ahead of me. By the end of my first lap, I was about 30 seconds back from first.
It didn’t start raining until I was halfway through my second lap, and my hands were getting stiff on my handlebars. But it was okay, because my legs were still going, and I was still catching and passing riders from other categories. The rain was coming down when I rode into the neutral pit (ran by my parents) at the farthest point on the course. I got a fresh bottle and before I knew it I was back to the start/finish, heading out on lap three. My legs were burning pretty good by now, and it showed on the climb. I was tired, and I started making stupid line mistakes on easy technical sections I’ve been riding for years.
The last half of my third lap was pretty brutal. I was cold, muddy, and tired. I could barely see through my glasses from all the mud and water. The final descent and flat section couldn’t have come sooner, and I was happy to shift up into my big ring to pin that last mile or so.
Crossing the finish line felt good. I came in 2nd, and I knew I’d proven that I could hang with the older riders. All in all it was a good day, with Wyatt coming in 4th in the High School Expert boys and some of the other Placer Foothill MTB club riders’ completing their first race.
Keep chasing…

Kickstarting 2012

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