Race #5: Trek Championship
The last race of the season was held at the Trek Trails in Waterloo, WI. This was the longest travel time out of all the races, but the trails were definitely worth the drive.
It was windy and snowing during the team pre-ride on Saturday. Everyone was hoping for better weather for race day on Sunday. The course was a mixture of tough switchback uphills and fast, flowy downhills. I was excited to race the next day, although the course was very slick from the snow.
One of the special things about this race being at the Trek Trails is that I got to meet one of my favorite athletes, Emily Batty, who races for the Trek XC team. Now, I’m not sure where this crazy biking journey is going to lead me, if I’ll eventually get my pro license or if I’ll just ride for fun after high school, but Emily has always been a big role model for me- her passion for bikes and people inspires me to be the best I can be, both on and off the bike.
The weather had improved for race day—still cold, but no snow!
The high school girls were called to the start line and the national anthem was played. For more races, I typically had about a minute or two from the end of the National Anthem to the start of the race to take my inhaler (I have sports-induced asthma) but I forgot. As the announcer said, “Thirty seconds to start!” I remembered my inhaler! It was in my back pocket of my jersey, but thirty seconds was not enough time to use it.
Right out of the gate, the course led us up some two track hills into some flowy single track. I led up the hills, but the girl in second place was right on my tail. Halfway through the first lap, my lungs were on fire. I could see the second place racer right below me on all the switchback uphill. My lungs were begging for air and every part of my body was saying just give in. But I couldn’t. I had come this far and I knew I had to keep going. I let the crowds cheers fuel me when I couldn’t find any more motivation. I’m not sure exactly where I dropped the girl in second place because all that was running through my head was don’t look back, focus, breathe, keep going. I crossed the finish line; I had finished in the lead. I was ecstatic. I didn’t care where second place was, all that mattered was that I had finished—I didn’t let myself give in.
The past five races with the 906 Adventure Team have been such an awesome experience, and I’ve learned so much- not just about racing, but sportsmanship, perseverance, and most of all HAVING FUN! I am so grateful to have had such an amazing, supportive team that always pushes me to do my best and give 100%, no matter the circumstances.