XC U23 National Championship

What: US National Championship
Friday: XC U23 National Championship
Saturday: Pro Short Track National Championship
Date: July 15th and 16th
Where: Mammoth Mountain California

The National Championship: an event that seems to have to power to dictate an entire season’s worth of training and racing. It was with this feeling over my head that made me take some time before last weekend’s race to think about everything I had done to prepare. Being a full-time college student, on top of a professional athlete, training doesn’t always come at the most optimal times and conditions. This season I trained at 4 am and at 11 pm, in 20 degrees, and in 115 degrees, in torrential downpours, and in 60 mph winds. Needless to say, it is a journey and my coach constantly reminds me to ‘honor the process.’

Lining up on the start line of the U23 national championship, I knew I was ready. I placed 4th in the event last year but I not only improved my mindset and my confidence levels, I had physical numbers and evidence to prove that I have made actual progress…and lots of it. It was time to execute, that was all I had to do: execute, and the most important ingredient of all, pray.
The gun went off and knowing that we were racing at 8,500 feet I started conservative and held myself back. I let two girls attack off the front. After about 3 minutes I was able to catch one and ride behind her briefly. Her pace had slowed and I decided I needed to make a move even though it was early. I went around her with purpose and she did not respond so I geared up and moved my eyes forward. The race spread out from there as we all rode from our own motivation. I stayed calm and pushed forward not thinking about my place but thinking about how to felt to ride with God and to ride as a newer and stronger racer than I have ever been before. I was happy to cross the line in 2nd and see the improvement I’ve been working so hard for all season.

The short track race the next day was a race of perseverance. After the first few laps of fighting to find a comfortable position, I put in a big dig in order to find a position mid pack. Briefly after securing my position the rider in front of me grabbed her brakes, and I slid into the woodchips, after recovering from a big dab, I sprinted to catch the pack only to have another girl crash directly in front of me. The gap was far too big to close at that point and I felt mildly defeated, but giving up was not an option. I put my head down and time trialed picking up women who had been dropped from the pack. I came close to closing the gap but my fate was to finish in 12th: a result showing more determination and heart than my actual fitness.

I’ve spent the last week training and rejoicing in a result that rewarded all of my hard work this season.This weekend was massively reassuring for me as I watched all of my hard work pay off. I can’t wait to continue to charge forward. Two more race weekends remain for me: the Boston Pro XCT and the Mont St. Anne World Cup.

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