ESI Grips sponsored Junior Athlete, Natalie Fernau, shares about her rise to victory at MBAA's season kickoff race. Here's what she said about the experience:
I’m Natalie Fernau and live in Show Low, Arizona. I have raced on the Hatch Toyota Racing team for the past two years and race the junior women’s 17-18 category. While I race both mountain bikes and road, I am most passionate about racing mountain bikes. The 2019 season started off this January with the first of six MBAA’s races just outside Phoenix, Arizona. The first race was at McDowell Mountain Park. I raced with the 17-18-year-old junior expert girls. However, all the expert and elite categories race concurrently so I make it goal to see how I do against all the other great women I get to race with. This event is one of my favorite courses and consists of two ten-mile loops.
The start of the race was promising as I managed a marvelous starting position and was among the leaders as we race went into the single track. As the race settled in, several of the Arizona Devo girls past me and I stayed on their wheel as long as I could. Slowly they managed to create a gap between us. I reminded myself to keep riding hard and not get discouraged.
After the first lap they had created a large gap between us. Consequently, I switched my focus to keep riding hard to increase the gap I had on the other girls behind me. I felt solid my second lap, that is until my hands started to cramp. I struggled to shift, but after shaking my hands out I was able to regain my focus and pass a few other riders out on the course. Keeping perspective on how I was feeling and staying determined I was able to finish first in my category. I am super excited to keep making progress this season and to see how far I can push myself and improve!