On Tuesday, I flew out to Victoria, BC for my first International/UCI race. The US national team brought 5 boys and 4 girls to this event. We spent the days leading up to the race with Shaums March getting to know the course and learning bike skills that will help us throughout the season.
The course was filled with steep climbs and technical down hills which were covered in mud from the rain. The conditions were different from what I’m used to in southern California, but after a few days, I felt comfortable on the course and ready to race.
Soon enough, Saturday was here and the other girls and I were warming up for our 12:30 race. It was tough to really get our legs warm because it was about 40 degreees outside and it even snowed earlier thst morning. Luckily, by the time we were lining up, the sun had come out for a while.
My nerves grew as I rolled up along side the rest of the junior UCI girls and watched the pro women take off in front of us. Then, the announcer counted down and sent us off on out first lap. The field went out fast and we were immediately heading up a steep climb. My legs were burning but I knew if I could push hard to the first single track my legs would get a small break on the down hill.
I entered the trail in 3rd, behind my US teammate Savilia, and we were moving down the technical down hill fast, growing a small gap. We started going through some lap traffic about half way through and the lead girl was able to get around a rider, giving her a lead on us. When the trail opened up again, we made our way around the rider and I got in front to try to catch the lead girl. After pushing hard, I was finally able to get to her just after starting the second lap. Then, it was just her and me with a lead on the rest of the field.
She lead up the single track climb pushing a fast pace. On the down hill, my Norco revolver FS took me over the rocks and roots smoothly and I realized I could pick up the pace. When we entered a small fire road climb, I made an attack to get to the down hill first in attempt to break away. I entered the next single track, with the other girl still close behind. I pushed the down the decent as hard as I could so I could begin next climb first. Soon, I was turning in to the brutally steep last climb going as hard as I could. At the top, I realized I had gained a small lead so I picked the pace up more and I got through the finish and started my 3rd and final lap.
I rode the last lap alone, feeling strong. On the decents, I tried to focus on the things Shaums told us, keeping my heels back, elbows wide, and taking all the lines we practiced. I tried to be smooth riding up the muddy climbs and not sliding out on the roots. Soon, the finish was just around the corner. I stood up and gave one final sprint thought the finish with a huge grin.
I could not be happier with how my first international race went and I’m stoked for all the awesome adventures ahead. Thank you to everyone who supported me in Canada this week; Team USA, Norco Bicycles, and of course, my family who was able to make it to the race to cheer me on! Now, I’m heading into my next training block, getting ready for the third Socal high school league race at Keysville on March 26th.