Part deux of Ava’s summer adventures!
After an unexciting week at nationals I was back in Durango and in bad condition. My bruises made it very uncomfortable to ride hard so I just spun around town a couple times. During a trip to the lake a couple days later I tried my best to recuperate and re-energize myself for the Salida Stage Race. After a few weeks I wasn’t feeling much better, but I wasn’t about to miss the race that had began my cycling career 1 year earlier. So, we packed up and drove out to Salida. My arm had healed enough for me to debut my new and improved time trial position and I only missed my goal time, and the podium, by 2 seconds. I knew I had to get top 3 the next day in the criterium, as I am desperately trying to upgrade to SW’s. I did all my pre-race stuff and didn’t feel very “speedy”. During the race my cornering was way off and I couldn’t push the pace at all, I just didn’t have it in me. Last lap I made one final push to no avail, but by some miracle I was in the front for the sprint to the line. Now I am never in the right gear to sprint and Salida was no different. My gear was too big so I tucked and time trialled as hard as I could to the line, narrowly beating the girl next to me to the line. I ended the race in third place, my best result yet. I collected my medal and drove home skipping the road race.
I took the next four days off and went on a float trip in Utah. When I got back I still wasn’t feeling fast. I had one week until the Bannock Crit and I needed the win. I trained easy and tried to recover enough to race hard. The day before the crit we went to watch the Pro women race in Littleton, which was an awesome way to start the weekend! Warming up for Bannock I was pretty nervous about the race because all my tough competition had shown up and I was still tired. I pushed the pace hard from the whistle and go the race going from there. After that I just hung on the back and tried to conserve my energy. My positioning on the final hill and around the last corner cost me the race. The riders around me just had more left in their legs’ than I did. I finished 8th and didn’t get my points. I had to race again in my age category a couple hours later and didn’t have any better results. Finally I was finished and ate my volunteer lunch, which was delicious. I then did all my volunteer hours and had fun watching all the other races.
Six days later I packed my bike onto a plane and headed to North Carolina to visit colleges. The riding in N.C is incredible, and uphill, all the time. Hills aren’t really my thing but I had fun nonetheless and it was helpful in narrowing down my college choices. On the 13th we flew back to Denver and I had one day to prepare for the big junior only race. I was picked up by the USAC coaches and all the other athletes and I were driven out to Silt. After a good team ride/ time trial recon we cleaned the restaurant of chocolate milk and pasta. I told the coaches I wasn’t prepared to get good results at the race, but I would work hard for my teammates.
The TT was uphill and less than pleasant, it felt like I was crawling for 5 miles. We had a crit later in the day, so I had another chance, sounds familiar. At the crit the pace eventually quickened enough that I bonked and was dropped off the back. The course was fun but challenging and my teammate had an incredible race, very nearly lapping the field by herself. The coaches took us out to eat filet mignon that night, we drank all their chocolate milk once again.
The road race ended in me getting my first race flat ever. But the team worked together and kept the GC spot. Even though my last road races of the season did not go very well I had a lot of fun with the USAC team, and impressed the coaches with my cheeriness. And now I am not allowed to ride my bike until September as I have raced more than my body could handle. But then I will be back on my mountain bike competing in the Colorado High School League. As a first full summer of riding and racing I think it went pretty good, I definitely wore myself out racing so much in the spring, but the amount of progress made was enormous. Next years gonna be even better!