I dislike change. It’s one of my more distinguished attributes. I have always avoided change as much as possible. My dad will forever tell the story about 5 year old Amanda refusing to accept the fact that we were moving into a new and bigger house because I said I’d run into walls and turn wrong corners out of habit thinking I was in my old house. Or the time I almost refused to continue swimming at the age of 5 because I didn’t want to move teams to Mission Viejo. Obviously 5 was a rough year for me... hah but it really was an indicator to my parents that I enjoyed staying within my norm.
Fast forward about 18 years later (holy crap), and here I am... the same stubborn little kid who continues to avoid change when she can… but is much more mature and open when she’s faced with it.
Up until October 2012, this was my norm: working at Felt Bicycles, swimming, biking a lot on my road and tri bike, and running. I competed at ITU Auckland for Age Group Worlds near the end of October, took a deep breath, and then relaxed. With that R&R time, I started mountain biking again with coworkers and my love affair with my MTB was rekindled. With the influence of coworkers and some of their friends, I became interested in the fascinating world of cyclocross and even found myself spectating a couple local races. Each one was more and more fun to watch, and I even started looking into how much money I needed to save to get one of those sick bikes. Little did I know that immanent change was right around the corner.
Race #1 – 30 Dec 2012
I ended up going to one of the local Socal Cross races at the end of December to watch Felt’s local team tear it up, The SDG Factory Team. However, I had brought a kit with me to go on a ride after the race… and when I showed up to the course, I was ultimately forced by Dave Sheek into registering and riding his backup bike. Wait what? I was nowhere near a racing mindset, and all of a sudden I was rolling around the course and testing out the bike! Then I had numbers pinned to me and shortly after doing a couple warmup laps, I was lining up to start with the Women’s field, registered as in the Women’s B category. Oh boy. So far from my comfort zone… but it was such a rush! We were off and I was so stoked! It was so much fun! I went from timidly riding near the back, to getting comfortable enough on lap 1 to pass every single person except the lead girl… and I held that place all the way to the finish. 2nd overall woman, and 1st in my category!
And there it was: the spark I needed to accept the change to fall in love with dirt racing.
Race #2 – 6 Jan 2013
Another race the next weekend? Heck yes!
Borrowed Sheek’s bike again, registered for Women’s A this time, rolled around shortly for practice, and then I was off again for my second CX race! I was a bit more comfortable this time around, and the technicality of the course played to my advantage, as the climbing required some big power pushes. I finished 2nd in Women’s A with a $70 check on the podium : )
Race #3 – 20 Jan 2013
That second race was the Series finale for the Prestige Series. It is a shame that I jumped into this sport late in the season, but it was definitely a good enough tease to push me to want to focus more on this for next year after tri season is over!
This last race was part of a fun Championship event called the NorCal vs SoCal Cyclorcoss Championships. It’s a cool end of the season event to match up norcal and socal riders to determine which part of the state dominates CX.
My parents wanted to come and watch one of these cyclorcoss events after I raved about the last two, so we drove up there Sunday morning and I registered in women’s A again. The best part about this race though, was that I had a bike that fit me!! Yep, I went ahead and purchased an F65X in a size 51 just for me. I got the bike Friday after work, built it up on Saturday and rolled around on it, and raced it Sunday! It fit! It was awesome! The F65X is rad!!!
Not only was I so jazzed about riding my own CX bike, I was also feeling on TOP of my game that morning when I got some practice time on the course. My legs were ready to go. I rolled up to the start line during the staging, and Phil Beckman, the famous Photographer who works all the Socal CX races, came over to me at the end of the line and said, “Amanda, I think you can do this. This could be all you!” I looked at him and smiled. That was all I needed. Slight confidence boost, and off I went. My first win in the elite category and $200 in my pocket on the podium. Woohoo!!! That was such a rush!
3 adrenaline-pumping races, $270 in race winnings, 1 new bike, and a huge smile on my face.
Can’t wait for the first race next season J
More to come on my MTB Adventures and the beginning of the 2013 Triathlon Season!.....