I was exhausted, my body was aching, and I had a blinding headache. My shifting was making a grinding sound I can’t even describe. I was maybe three miles from the finish of the Mike Horgan Memorial Hill Climb up Sugarloaf when things went from bad to worse; my back started to seize up. I was in incredible pain and I got off my bike and started walking it. Every time I would try to ride, my back would seize up. After some light stretching and getting my breath back, I was able to soft pedal a bit to keep going. Then after a few minutes my coaching mentor, Amy Dombroski, came riding up to me. She had already finished her race in the women’s category and she recognized me and started cheering me on. I told her I wasn’t feeling too great, and she told me to try to breath into the pain. All of a sudden I was able to pedal again, and the the knots in my back started to untie. Amy rode up a bit further with me and then turned around and cheered for some other kids on my team. When the pain was gone, I was able to focus on my race, and I made it to the top in first. As I recall, Amy was second in that brutal race and still had the energy to cheer us on.
When I was first getting into cycling, I was on the Flatiron Flyers. Flatiron Flyers was a local junior cycling team, and Amy was an assistant coach. She would come ride with our group and give us pointers on how to become better bike riders. Amy was one of the top U.S women's cyclocross racers and was getting close to being able to win a world cup race.
Recently in Belgium, Amy was hit and killed by a car training. It was a tragedy that affected the entire cycling community.
I was exhausted, my body was aching, and I had a blinding headache. The mountain bike I was borrowing was too small and was clunking when I tried to shift. I was one and a half laps into my four laps and it was by far the worst I had ever been performing during a bike race. I was nearing the end of my second lap when I realized I could end all my misery by just calling it a quits and going back to our team tents. Then my lower back started to cramp. It was a sharp pain right above my hip. Then, I remembered Amy’s words of encouragement, and I knew what I needed to do. After that, it felt like she was riding with me. I started to speed up and the stabbing pain went away. Even though I still finished poorly, I was very proud of myself and I think Amy would have been as well.