Elijah Johnson- 2017 Highlights

As the 2017 year wraps up, I would like to go over some highlights of the 2017 racing season and thank some of the people who made this amazing season possible.

One of my greatest accomplishments this year was winning WORS Cat 1 Junior 15-16.  I began the season looking forward to the privilege of racing with the pros, even though I was racing in a different sub-category. The very first race of the year is always one that is very unpredictable, since I do not know what everyone has been doing all winter for training.  This race went far better than I expected with my first win of the season.  This was encouraging and challenged me to train hard to try to hold that position.  I was able to finish in first place overall because of all the coaching from Coach Nathan and encouragement from other teammates.

My second highlight of the season is placing 3rd in varsity in Wisconsin’s NICA league.  This also was far better than I expected.  My goal for the NICA season was to get in the top 5 overall.  In the first race, Minooka Mania, I finished in 5th, which had me questioning how well I could do since I had already been racing for 4 months.  At the second race, Nordic Navigator, I moved up to 4th.  This encouraged me that I could probably finish in the top 5 overall.  The third race weekend for NICA was going to be challenging since I decided to do 2 races that weekend.  On Saturday at the Fall Color Festival, the race began well with a quick breakaway by me and one other racer.  We kept the lead for the entire race.  About half way through the second lap, I was able to pull ahead of him.  I kept going at a medium pace and won the 22-mile Fall Color Festival.  The NICA race on Sunday, Trek Trails, was quite difficult.  Right at the start of the race, I dropped behind since my legs just did not want to go hard.  The first lap was difficult.  By the second lap my legs were doing better, and I was catching up to some of the racers in front of me.  On the last lap, I caught up to the racers who were in 3rd and 4th place.  I decided to stay with them and sprint out the finish.  The race was going great until the last 500 feet.  On the last downhill, my chain jumped off of the front sprocket.  I ended up running my bike to the finish.  This put me in 4th place.  The 4th race, Hayward Hussle, went ok, but it was muddy.  I stayed in the group I wanted to, but lost in the final sprint.  The final race at Iola was my best race, but not the best weather.  I was able to hold with the lead group for almost the entire race.  On the final lap, I dropped behind.  Another rider caught up to me about 1.5 miles from the finish.  This meant that the finish would be a sprint.  We sprinted, and I was able to pull ahead by 4 seconds.  I finished this NICA season in 3rd third place overall.

One final highlight this year was Ore to Shore.  I competed in the 28-mile event this year since I was too young to do the 48-mile event.  The race went quite well.  I held with the lead group for all but the last 4 miles.  I dropped behind on a long, steep hill.  I ended up finishing in 6th place overall and 2nd in 12-15.  This was far better than I had hoped to do.

I would like to thank Coach Nathan Guerra for the great daily coaching he provided me with.  Without this specific coaching, I would have never have been able to do this well this year.  I would also like to thank Wilhelm Harm for the race day repairs he helped with so that I could complete my races.  Wheel and Sprocket Delafield has also been very helpful in the repairs and services they have offered.

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