Friday, we left home for the Oak Flats XC race at 7 in the morning. We arrived at noon, ready to preride the course. We set up camp and hurried to fit in a preride because of the looming thunderclouds.
The course was 6 mile laps of fast, flowing singletrack through a ponderosa pine forest with a few ascents and descents through technical rock gardens. We finished the preride just before the rain. Since we didn’t want to sit in our tent the rest of the day while it was raining, we built a a frame shelter out of sticks, pine needles and pine cones.
We heard it raining at night, too. The next morning we woke up knowing the course was obviously going to be muddy. While we were preparing for our race we saw 2 racers come back from their pre-ride, with mud covering most of their bikes. The racers were thankful that the race director delayed the race for one hour so the course could dry out some more.
The race start was great because I led all of the Cat 3 racers into the singletrack. Except for one adult, I never saw them again. After that, I set my focus on quickly, passing as many Cat 2 racers as possible, knowing that they were going to slow me down in the extremely muddy sections of the trail to come. Soon, I was doing battle with Ryan, one of Jakes competitors in the Cat 2 juniors class. After a technical rock garden climb to finish my first lap I looked back and never saw him again. I hammered the second lap and took home 1st place in the Cat 3 juniors <18 yrs. old and 2nd overall in my Category 3.
Since the results were posted, my Dad told me that my 2 lap time was 7th fastest overall, out of all Cat 2 and 3 racers. At this moment, I’m feeling very confident with my training, fitness, strenght and my wins in my last two races. This has proved to me that I am a top caliber junior racer. I’m excited for my future races, because now I always expect to be on the top of the podium.