After training inside for months during the mild winter, the first WORS race in Iola was finally here. During the “off-season” both my dad and I switched over to ride Trek (we both previously rode Niner). I now was riding a Project One Trek Pro Cal 9.8. I wouldn’t be able to do all of the traveling I’ve been able to do and get all the things I have without the support of my sponsors. I spent months preparing with only one race prior to Iola, and I felt both prepared and determined to win. While pre-riding, I rode the course slowly and took in everything and planned out where I knew I could be the strongest, and where I knew I had to save energy for the sections I know I’m not as strong in. The course changed a lot from previous years, they took out some key aspects from the race in previous years. There was more single track than double track, which played to my advantage in my race knowing that I’m the strongest there. I always am nervous for this race because I never enjoyed how the course was laid out and I have never won there.
On the Sunday of the race, I fueled myself correctly having my usual breakfast, and a light lunch about and hour and a half before the race. I warmed up by doing about 25 minutes of warm-up inside our camper on my trainer. I did jumps to get both my legs, and my heart prepared for the rigorous race ahead. I then went outside on my mountain bike and did a short sprint on the road and I then had to line up for my second season racing with Vision Cycling as a Cat 1 Junior. As always, Don gave his well-known pre race speech, and before I knew it, I heard him say go and I had an amazing start. I was first around the corner and up the first start climb when two of the pro/elite riders passed me.
I was the first Cat 1 Junior down into the bowl and half way up the bowl climb when both competitor, and good friend, Katy McDicken passed me. Shortly after that, I passed her again and she was always behind me by just a little bit for almost the whole race. During the beginning of the second lap I crashed in one of the loose, sand sections and went over the bars and face-planted in the sand but quickly got up and kept racing. I was running my heart rate around 180-190 the whole race, and was already pushing myself as hard as possible just to stay ahead of Katy.
About 1.5 miles until the end of my race, the girl who was in third place caught up to me. Hanna Mork is also a friend who usually beats me on this course and I was both surprised but also not that she caught up. She passed me and I had to follow her through the single track. I was already thinking that I didn’t know if I could beat her in a sprint finish in the double track, but I did know I could beat her in the single track right before the finish, and that was the plan. I tried multiple times to pass in the single track but I couldn’t and had to wait until an open double track where I had to kill my legs to stay in front until the long single track where I knew I could win the race. I was running my heart rate around 200 and could just feel my legs giving out. I finally pulled ahead of her in the section of single track where I knew I could win, and I also put a couple riders between just to be safe.
I crossed the finish line in first winning by just three seconds. When I went to cool down, my whole bike was shaking because my muscles were spasming so badly all over my legs. I learned also that I have to fuel myself correctly not only before my race, but also during which is something I still have to work on. The next race is WORS #2, The Battle of Camrock, which is my home course. I hope to kill it at that race but to work on fueling myself even better, until the next race…