I’ve been following Jack for the last year or so riding and racing, even have done some cyclocross with him (where he stayed upright and I did not – MANY times) and recently read his post in the DBCRT Juniors Race Team Notes section. Although Jack is a bit younger than I was when I began racing juniors, the highs and lows are so familiar – and are probably even familiar to racers beginning in their adulthood! Jack has been gracious enough to allow me to re-post his experience. Enjoy!
I’m Jack Hargrove, a member of the Davis Bike Club Race Team Juniors Squad. I started racing last year in May as a 10-12 year old, and now I am a 13-14 year old. I really enjoy racing. Even though it can be hard at times, it is always fun and is a great sport for all people.
At some of my races, I have had bad luck. At the first JPS race of the season, the Cherry Pie Crit, I was sick with bronchitis. But, I really wanted to do the race, so I still woke up in the morning even thought I didn’t feel good. I raced and had fun, although I wasn’t able to do as well as I wanted to. At the Land Park Criterium, another JPS race, I was doing okay until the last few laps. I had a flat tire with about 4 laps to go, and I finally had to pull out with about 1 lap to go. I was really bummed, but I learned to always bring pit wheels. Lastly, at Copperopolis Road Race, a race I had been looking forward to because my Dad loves the course so much, and training for over 5 weeks, I crashed. About 5 minutes into the race, I touched wheels with the rider in front of me at 25 mph. I went down pretty hard, and I had a cracked helmet and some scrapes and bruises, but nothing serious. I rested for a week, and then I got back on my bike. I am not afraid to ride close together even after that crash, because I learned to not overlap wheels and to be safer.
Along with the bad, I have also had many good races. I did fairly well at the Golden State races, which were 2 races, a crit the first day and a circuit race the next. On the first day, I couldn’t stay up with the pack, but I rode with two teammates for most of the race and got 5th. The next day, I couldn’t get to the pack, but I worked with a teammate the entire time until the end, when he beat me in a sprint and I got 6th. Also, I did the Folsom Classic Crit recently. I was able to stay with the front group of 6 riders the entire time. We yo-yo’ed from fast to slow, and I ended up getting 5th. Doing races is always fun, but the feeling you get when you do well is awesome!
My team Coach and fellow juniors have all helped me learn to ride. Riding with my teammates helps prepare me for races. We challenge each other through sprints during the rides and ride in pace lines to get used to riding close together with people. Also, hanging out with the rest of the juniors is very fun and adds to the joy of racing. Additionally, my coach, Kristen Hill, has helped us all during team rides and has sent many of us training rides to do at home. She also helps organize many of the races. Overall, being on a team and bike racing is a great experience for people of all ages.