(Editors Note: Fourteen year old Cierra Smith is a Pretty Tough mountain biker. On July 16-19, 2009 Cierra joined thousands of professional and amateur racers who came to battle it out on world-class terrain at the USA Cycling National Championships)
Hi Everyone. I have been very busy this last month preparing for the U.S. Nationals in Granby, Colorado. I’ve been riding my bike as much as possible and working on all aspects of my riding.
Getting to the Nationals took two long days of driving from Nevada, but once we were there I was extremely excited to get up on the mountain and learn the course. I had heard from some friends that the course was pretty tough and technical with rock gardens and big jumps which made me a little nervous. I feel I can take on anything technical because I train on hard rocky trails. I know I can jump pretty good but wondering exactly how big the jumps were going to be was getting inside my head and making me a bit panicked.
On Friday morning I was anxious to start practice with my teammates and see how technical the course really was. My practice was not until later in the day so my Dad and I went to register first. In all my competitions this year I’ve raced in sport and expert classes, but because my racing age is only 14 I was not able to race up which meant I had to race in the junior category. I was disappointed but wasn’t about to let that ruin my weekend.
When twelve o’clock rolled around I was all ready for practice and headed up to the trail which appeared to be built very well. It was a mix of a lot of different elements. At first it had loose dirt and rocks which transitioned into rock waterfall that led to the woods. After coming out of the woods you came into an open area with jumps and berms. I was feeling really awesome on the course and was really confident.
Saturday morning I got to the hill and took one practice run before the race. I went up to the top of the hill with some of my friends and was waiting for the race to begin. At this point I became extremely nervous. When it was my turn, I lined up and met my competition. I was surprised to see there was only one other girl in my class. Before a race I always go into my own world to focus and concentrate and this race was no different.
Once the race started, I had a awesome run. I ended up passing my competition and knew immediately I had won. When I got down to the bottom I was overcome with happiness. I was so glad to win back my title. Standing on the podium and wearing the National Champion jersey and medal was one of the best days of my life and I hope to repeat it next year.
Thank you to all my sponsors for supporting me this year. I couldn’t have won without your help!