Ginny Jeppi is a high school senior preparing to take on the TS3 3-day stage race in just her second season of mountain bike racing! Follow Ginny’s journey in this series of articles and wish her luck on Twitter!
This past week I raced the Iron Hill Challenge in Newark, DE. I was excited to have another chance at this course because it was not my best race last year. Last year, I did not know much about how bikes worked, and I had some issues with my tire. That being said, I still don’t know much about how bikes work…
I was excited to do well at this race. I was all ready to go out and shred some mountain bike trails to get ready! However, fate had a different idea. (I never use the word fate, but since the model of my bike is the Fate, I figured I should use it!) It rained, causing me to not be able to ride outside. It did more than rain, it poured. There were lots of jokes about needing to swim on the trails instead of ride; that’s how much rain there was. This rain created an amazing opportunity. I was able to do my favorite thing in the world: ride the trainer! (sarcasm). No one actually loves riding the trainer, but I don’t think I can argue against its results. I spent a really hard couple of hours on the trainer on Tuesday. Then to add to this spectacular week of training, I caught a cold. This shortened my rides on Wednesday and Thursday. Another factor to my shortened training was the fact that my school badminton team was in the IAAM Championship Tournament. The good news is that we won! So I now have a Badminton Championship Medal!
On Saturday morning, my mom and I decided to go on an adventure to watch Collegiate Road Nationals in Richmond, VA. It was a great opportunity to see my future team mates for Colorado Mesa, especially because that day they won the DII Women’s Criterium. I also had the chance to meet up with some old friends I had not seen in a while.
On the way home, we stopped at Fountainhead Park in Virginia to do a leg opener for Iron Hill the next morning. The trails were definitely open, and I did not sneak on to ride them… Anyways, on the ride I remembered how this was the site of my first ever bike race. I started to realize how far my skills had come since I began in the fall of 2012. Then I realized I was not as good as I thought I was. I realized this as I went into a feature way to fast; I crashed and burned. Hard. After sitting on the trail for a minute, trying to figure out how to explain the blood seeping from my left arm and leg to my mom who was waiting in the car, I got back on my bike. I finished the ride and noticed my bike was really shifting weird. I figured it would be OK, and the next morning I would find a friend at the race to fix it. When I got back in the car, my mom was a little worried about my crash, so we stopped at Taco Bell to clean up my wounds, and to get some Taco Bell. Mostly, we stopped because we love Taco Bell.
The next morning at the race, I found friend of mine, a young junior named Tommy. He had a friend who was a mechanic who offered to help fix my bike. It turns out that my front derailleur was broken. While I was changing into my race kit, it was discovered that I could either only have a big ring or a little ring. Tommy choose the big ring. I could only accept what was done, because at least I had a bike to race. I went to the start line without a lot of expectations. Then, something great happened. I had one of the best starts I have ever had. I went into the woods in a good position. The race continued, and I pushed myself as hard as I possible could. This was the hardest I have ever tried in a race. The second half of the course was all hills, so it was hard in a big ring. In the end, I finished 4th in the Pro Women’s race, and 5th in overall women. The race was definitely a success.
Through this race I learned a few things:
1. Sometimes some forced rest and time on the trainer is a good thing.
2. Stay in the big ring! Sometimes my cadence is too high.
3. I can push myself much harder than I ever dreamed possible, and still live.
4. Taco Bell makes everything OK after a crash.
I can not wait to race again this week at French Creek!