Podium folks, it is with great pleasure that I write this humble update with more PODIUM news. :)
Our daughter is a sophomore in her second year of cross country mountain bike racing in the NorCal High School Cycling League. Before her very first race last year, she was really daunted. She loved the racing once it got under way, even though her first-year results were usually about next-to-last in her group.
Off-season training paid off, and she started off this season with a bang -- third place in the sophomore girls category in the season opener. Wowzers!
Here's an update to fill you in on how racing has been going since then.
The League has a five-step podium for each category. Would she be able to get on it again in the second race? She was excited but also very nervous going into the second race of this season. She had (pleasantly) stunned her supportive teammates with her first race performance, but was that first medal a sign of a new Emily or just a fluke?
As the second race progressed, a new girl who'd missed the first race was holding the third spot in the last lap. Emily and another rider were battling for fourth. Em would beat her up all of the climbs, but the other rider would gain ground again on the descents and the flats.
The run-in to the finish was exposed, flat, straight sandy terrain for about half a mile -- into a headwind. Emily hit this stretch ahead of the other girl, but expected to be passed.
Sure enough, the stronger-on-the-flat rider overtook her. What's a skinny climber to do in a headwind? WHEELSUCK BABY!! Em just sat in and got a free ride in the headwind while the other girl did all the work -- to the point of cracking. When the finish line was in sight, Em was well recovered and went around her "leadout" to nab fourth by a clean ten seconds.
The third race, a little climbier, was cancelled due to a freak (for that time of year) storm with temps below 40F, high winds, and the chance of snow.
The fourth race was the climber's race -- she'd had this one marked from the get-go as a big target for the season. Unfortunately, due to a last-minute change in the park policy, events of our size (over 1,300 people!) were no longer permitted at the venue. So, the race was moved to the venue of the first race with slightly re-arranged trails and a wee bit more climbing worked in -- but only about 600' per five-mile lap.
Long story short? Em brought home second place in her category on Sunday. :) Wahoo!
The one on the left. :)
The last race of the season -- the combined north/south State Championship race -- is a week from Sunday. Wish her luck!
Meanwhile, she's signed up for her first non-League cross country race in early June. And -- this is where you PdC nuts can actually get excited -- she just signed up for her first honest-to-goodness ROAD RACE on May 23. :D She also plans to do some more juniors training sessions at the track this summer, and we've gotten some recommendations to check out a local juniors road development team. It may sound like she's all over the map, but her goal at this point is to give all of these a try, see what's possible, and pursue whatever's the most fun.
2010's been great so far, and it looks like it's just gonna get better from here. Yay!! :)