Next up is former current Cap City Cross racer, Jen Malik.
How did you Cyclocross Nationals races go?
CX Nats went AMAZING! For the collegiate race, I got the holeshot (I think this may be the first time I have done that, ha) and kept going and never looked back. I finished the race as the Collegiate D1 (club) National Champion something I had been aiming for the past 3 years.
For Elite Nats on Sunday I got a second row call up which was pretty sweet and nabbed a top 15! At one point I was sitting in 13th and had a taste of hmm I could be top 10 but then faded after I slid out on the off camber. I am pumped about the 15th but there definitely were 3 major mistakes I made in the race that cost me time and spots so it’s bittersweet (but mainly sweet).
What did you learn from your races?
I learned that a little confidence goes a long way. As I lined up on the start line for the collegiate race I had already replayed the start (where I get the holeshot, jump the ditch, and ride away) over and over in my head so many times that I knew I could do it and was able to put it into action without any self-doubt. Also, after flatting on lap 3 I was able to remain calm because I was confident in my abilities to regroup and adjust if I was caught on the way to the pits.
For the elite race, I was still so pumped from the collegiate race that I was just ready to go race. I didn’t really have the usual pre-race nerves that usually accompany me at the start and I think that made all the difference in fighting for that top 15.
What do you need to improve on for next season?
For next season I would like to continue to build my engine (aka gimme all the watts!) and also become more proficient at carrying momentum through corners. I noticed in the race that sometimes my line choices weren’t the optimal line for that “next level” speed. While this comes with experience, It is a skill that I will be focusing on both in my mountain bike training and cx training. This year, with the help of Red Kite Coaching, I feel like I had some breakthroughs so I cannot wait to see what another year of training brings.
What was is up next for you?
I am off to MTB season and to shred some gnar (of course I will be back for CX next fall)! I have some huge goals for myself over the next few years when it comes to MTB racing, so I am going to start hitting the trail hard and see how things play out this year. One of my most important stepping stones to achieving my goal was to find a permanent team to call home. Instead of doing the traditional team application process, I had made enough close friends in pro MTB and the cycling industry I decided to put together my own pro MTB team with a few of my friends (PMA and our local CX scene being so welcoming definitely made it easier to seek out friends at higher levels, thanks for the confidence boost everybody!) We will be racing under the KS-Kenda Women's MTB team banner for UCI Elite races for the next few years. Being able to put together this team was definitely a lot of hard work, but it will allow me to just focus on racing hard and hopefully allow me to reach the top of the sport over the next few years.
My target race will be XC MTB Nationals Championships in Snowshoe, WV this July. I have high hopes for that race after finishing 10th last year. I will also be competing in most of the US ProXCT (Pro Cross Country Tour) which kicks off in southern California in the beginning of April. I will be racing at Sea Otter Classic again this year, which is one of the best outdoor tradeshow/festivals in the country. I may head back up to Canada mid-summer for a few of the Canadian Pro MTB tour races before I race my first MTB World Cup in Mont-Saint Anne, which is regarded as one of the most technically challenging courses on the entire World Cup circuit. I will also be participating in some local/regional enduro races to help hone my descending skills.
Hope to see you out on the trail sending it 2018!