Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Weekend recap: USA BMX Spring Nationals, Albuquerque, NM


“Riders ready, set ‘em up!” The weekend of March 17th and 18th was one full of adventure and racing at the USABMX Spring Nationals in Albuquerque, NM. I had never driven 13 hours by myself before, and had never been to Albuquerque, and have also been wanting to prove to myself that I could do both for quite a while. The drive up was great- good weather and smooth. I stopped in Amarillo to see the Cadillac Ranch, and met some awesome people there who were on a road trip from Chicago. The Cadillac Ranch has always been on the bucket list. Many years ago, an eccentric millionaire decided to purchase a new Caddy every year and bury them nose down in his field. The field (minus the Cadillac part) is still in use. Checking out the colorful spray-painted cars in person was something I’ll never forget. The wind was super crazy though, so I silently thanked myself for bringing a hair tie.


Friday afternoon I practiced at Duke City BMX, which was a lot of fun, and I also did a bunch of sight-seeing around town. I checked out Cibola National Forest and drove the 10 or 11 miles up Sandia Mountain. It was full of hair pin turns, a slow speed limit, and the most beautiful scenery ever. Not to mention, it was 70 degrees on the ground and when I made it all the way up the twisting turning road, it was snowing at the top! Being from Houston, I just about freaked out and did a happy dance! However, going up with a long sleeve shirt and a hoodie on meant that it was a quick trip hanging out up there.


I also checked out the Spaceship House and the Cigar Box House by famous architect Bart Prince. He lives in the Spaceship House, and his neighbor was nice enough to talk to me about him. He is amazingly creative and if you are around this area, I highly recommend checking it out.





Old Albuquerque was interesting and beautiful as well. It was full of neat adobe buildings, people singing in Spanish and cool shops. I stopped by a chocolate shop and picked up a few things. :) 








Saturday and Sunday were full of racing fun. I qualified out both days and got 3rd place both days. This was not as good as I was hoping for, but also not bad for my fourth time on a track since the rain started in November. The weather was great on Saturday, and Corena and I got pictures with Alise Willoughby and Sam Willoughby, both amazingly talented athletes. Sam is an absolute inspiration for never giving up and is working hard to walk again after his injury, of which I have no doubt he will one day. Sunday started out like any other, and I qualified out to the main event. Closer to the mains the temperature quickly dropped to about 40 degrees, and a huge dust storm came up all around us, spurred on by 30 mph winds. I had sand in my eyes, my nose, mouth, and couldn’t see in the main, so that lap was rather unremarkable.



My favorite race of the weekend belonged to Mckenzie “Skittles” Gayheart. In one of her laps she took a hit but stayed up, coming from the back of the pack to 2nd place and qualifying out. After the race, under the shade of their EZ up, she had 4 or 5 missing spokes in her wheels, already dismantled from the bike and ready to be fixed. She told me about how she feels it is so important to never give up, even when you're in last place. She really knows her stuff, and that sentiment stuck, because watching her try her hardest on that track and make such a huge comeback was so positive. We don’t always get what we want right away, and we might not even get it if we try our hardest, but if we give it everything we’ve got, we get so much further ahead in the long run. Good racing and good attitude Skittles!
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The weekend was a blast, but I was glad to get packed up after it was over and get back on the road. After driving back through a wind/dust storm, snow, 70-degree farmland with tumbleweed everywhere, and finally the hill country, I’m glad to be home. I also got to see Jenna and Lauren and have a quick lunch with them, so that was the perfect cap to a race weekend. Currently Brent with Striker Wheels is working on my new bike, thanks Brent! Also, a huge thank you to my team Gold’s Gym. Can’t wait to see everyone at the next race, and so excited to see the new bike! Hmm...will have to give it a new name too...suggestions welcome. :)

Time to shake everything out tonight with some short speedwork at the park. 

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