Spoke Talk: An eighth-grade look at the Colorado Classic
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
This past week, I had the opportunity to meet some of the professional female racers that came to town for the Colorado Classic stage race. This women-only race was inspiring, motivational and encouraging for me as a girl.
To see them get their own race at such a high level means that they are being taken seriously as athletes. They were friendly, open and encouraging as our team of girls from Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Cycling Team decorated changing rooms and port-a-potties for them. We also got time to get autographs and present flowers on stage during the podium ceremonies at the end of the stage.
This made me think that I could someday be like them and succeed as a woman bike racer and athlete. Especially being the only girl on the junior racing team, seeing these women compete in an all-women’s race shows me that I can do anything and not depend on anyone else to help me achieve my goals. It was a day I will never forget.
The experience of meeting the racers really came at a great time in my life as I grow and pursue my dreams of becoming a professional bike racer. Earlier this year, I felt inspired to participate in our local town series mountain bike races — Town Challenge.
After being bitten by the competition bug through Nordic skiing and playing soccer, I felt like it was time to give bike racing a try. My family has always ridden and raced bikes, and at a younger age, racing really didn’t appeal to me. As I’ve gotten a little bit older, I’ve gotten better at understanding failure and what strength I can draw from those experiences.
Now, I’m in a place where I can put myself out there and not worry about the outcome so much. Being part of a team at SSWSC also helps as my teammates and coaches are encouraging — and they are going through some of the same worries that I have myself.
Once the series started, I got into a routine to prepare for race day. Previewing the course with my teammates gave me the confidence of knowing the course. Having my bike ready to go, and of course eating and drinking properly, all gave me peace of mind for a good race.
I’m looking forward to using what I learned during the biking season and taking that into Nordic ski racing, and even using my confidence as an athlete for my school work. The attitude of “I can do this” applies to much more than athletics.
Kelsey Cariveau is an eighth-grader Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete.
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