I was really excited to spend yet another birthday weekend at the Bear Creek Mountain Resort for the PA State Championships / Nationals preview! Saturday was the Super D. For anyone who has not raced or ridden at Bear Creek... imagine a truck dumping loads of rocks down the mountain. Now imagine burning through those rocks on a hardtail! I'm lucky enough to have a mom who willingly sacrificed her Specialized Fate to avoid jacking up my own bike before the cross country race on Sunday. I knew that I would have to be super dialed and pick perfect lines to get my little self down the course smoothly. During the rockiest section at the top, my chain dropped to the little ring a few times causing me to lose a little bit of time (but probably not enough to change my final position.) Once I got through the roughest part, it was all smooth sailing and I cruised across the line in 2nd in the Cat 1 Women's category.
Fast forward to Sunday (my birthday!) My race wasn't until 3:30PM, so I decided to ride with two very special little girls. The Cozza sisters were incredibly brave and impressed me with their skills. During their race on the junior course, they kept exclaiming, "Look how far I rode through the rocks!" At one point, Sienna found herself in a ditch with a little boo-boo but she was strong and laughed it off! Gabriella was first across line with a strong finish. Well deserved 1st and 2nd place state champs. Half the battle is being brave enough to start! Thanks for the three mile adventure, girls!
For my race, I decided to sign up in the Pro / Open Women's category only because they would be racing for the amount of time I needed on a similar course I'll be racing at nationals. I had no idea if not getting last was even a realistic goal, so I just went with the flow. My race wasn't until 3:30, so I was anxious all day. It was extremely hot and humid so I was prepared with lots of Osmo and ProBar Bolts. When the time finally came, the gun went off and an elbow pushed me into the loose gravel, forcing me to come from behind and fight for a better position during the prologue.
Fortunately, I was able to make a comeback on the outside and put myself in the third position going into the woods. I quickly gained my composure and settled in for 90 minutes of pain! However, a miscalculation of lap times lengthened the race to two hours and the light at the end of the pain tunnel became smaller. I was confident that I could maintain the same pace and I stuck it out to the end. Many racers were unable to avoid flats, so I was very fortunate to have a clean race. After playing cat and mouse with third, I was stoked to finish in third and gain valuable experience. Since I wasn't born until shortly after 4PM on June 1, 1999, I began the race as a 14 year old and finished as a much more (ah-em) mature 15 year old.