Thursday, June 1, 2017

2017 UCI Junior Canada Cup Races

Me, Sandy, and Carson after our respective races
With the start of my race season not going as planned due to injuries and sickness, I was excited to go out of my country to race. The first of the two races was on Mont Tremblant in Quebec, Canada and featured wet technical rock and root sections that made for a very challenging and fun race. Off the start I fell back several positions and went into the single track in roughly the top 25. During the first lap I made several passes and was able to make my way into the top 15, closing in on the top 10. 

Throughout the rest of the laps, I kept making advancements in my position, until finally I caught up to 5th. After riding his wheel for a few minutes, I noticed him stumbling on a section of trail and made an attack around him. The two of us stayed together all the way to the finish line, where we had a sprint finish together and I beat him to finish in 5th place. It was a great feeling to be able to get up on the podium again!

Following a great performance at the first race, I was excited to get to Baie Saint Paul for the second race in Canada.  

Unfortunately, after having a good start and riding really well on the sea of roots that covered the course, I flatted on the A-line drop about 3/4 through the first lap while riding behind the leaders. After running back to the tech zone, I got a tube put in my tire and continued my race, now sitting in the top 25. 

Running back to the tech zone
I managed to move up several positions before getting another flat shortly after the tech zone, and had to run the whole second half of my second lap to get my flat fixed again. Once I reached the tech zone, the mechanic had issues getting a new tube, and I ended up getting a wheel exchange from the Summit Bike Club team. 

Finally, I was able to finish the race feeling very fatigued and tired. I'm very frustrated at my bad luck in the second race, but I'm really happy with how my fitness is coming back and how my technical skills were at the two races.

Monday, March 6, 2017

2017 USA Cycling UCI Junior Winter Camp

Me, Liam, Tommy, Paul, Jon Jon  (Photo credit: Paul Fabian)
With the 2017 race season fast approaching and training days becoming more intense, it was finally time to get some traveling underway. This trip landed me in Arizona for a training camp put on by USAC to help further my skills both on and off the bike, as well as initiate friendships with some of the other top junior riders in the country. With 10 junior riders going, I was exciting to interact with and get to know the new faces I met.

During the camp, we had two long rides on Saturday and Sunday where we went out just to have fun on the bike, despite the rain that had been coming down. On Saturday we all rode as a group to the McDowell trail system, where we hit several miles of very fun single track before heading back to the house to make ourselves lunch.The next day we explored a new trail system much closer to the house we were staying at, and we got to ride much more flowing single track. Then, during the next two days, we split into groups of boys and girls and took turns either working on skills with Shaums March, the skills coach, or going out and doing a recovery ride. On Monday, the girls went out and practiced skills with Shaums, while the guys did a nice recovery ride. The next day, the guys got to work on skills with Shaums. We worked mostly on bike handling and control for cornering, drop offs, hops, and jumps. By the end of the day, the guys and I were cooked. And not just tired, but sunburned as well. During the day after our rides, we'd all hang out and relax in the living room talking or watching movies, or playing pool on the pool table right outside. Usually we all helped cook dinner together, but on Tuesday, we all went out to a local Mexican restaurant and enjoyed each others' company and the food served. 

This trip was a great experience for me to learn more about some of the other top riders in the US and get to know them better as potential junior members of Team USA. I feel like I've continued to grow as a rider with the knowledge I've gained at this camp. I'd like to thank Ann Trombley, Jason Jablonski, Shaums March, and Marc Gullickson for putting on this camp and making it so much fun.