Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Boulder Cup

I was ready, my shoes were perfectly tightened, I was wearing my lucky socks, and my skinsuit was pinned just right. It was the race I had always dreamed of doing in the elite category, The Boulder Cup.
 I was ten when I saw my first Boulder Cup. It was at Harlow Platts Park right near my house. I saw all the elite riders racing and I said to my mom, “I need to do this sport.” The next year I saddled up and raced in the juniors. I did not race very fast, but I had a lot of fun, and I kept coming back. Each year I would get better and better until I won my first Boulder Cup in the category four mens. Every year, after my race, I would watch the elite race and think how much fun it would be to have all of those people cheering for me.
This year I was finally old enough to race in the ELITE men. (I am really still just a first year U23, but in the Boulder Cup they race together.) The race was a blur, but it was an amazing feeling being cheered on by hundreds of people. I finished 28th out of 64 elite riders being the youngest rider in the race. Even though I couldn’t beat my elite teammate Brady Kappius it was still one of the best races of my life, to date.


Amy Dombroski

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.  


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