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First race back

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Tucking into a draft at Redlands

Tucking into a draft at Redlands
(Image credit: Joanna Petterson)
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Lea time trialling at Redlands

Lea time trialling at Redlands
(Image credit: Joanna Petterson)
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Getting in the rhythm of racing at Bonelli

Getting in the rhythm of racing at Bonelli
(Image credit: Joanna Petterson)
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Head down, hammering up a Bonelli climb

Head down, hammering up a Bonelli climb
(Image credit: Joanna Petterson)
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Very excited to be on the top step of the podium

Very excited to be on the top step of the podium
(Image credit: Joanna Petterson)
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Enjoying a sweet Bonelli descent

Enjoying a sweet Bonelli descent
(Image credit: Joanna Petterson)

This past month has marked my official return to the bike racing circuit. My first race back was the U.S Cup opener in Bonelli Park, CA, and if I could sum up my first race block in two words it would be, thrilled and relieved.

Naturally, I had a lot of nerves coming into my first big test. In fact, it was almost a whole season's worth of pent up nerves and that jittery feeling came flushing in waves days before the race. Every first race of the season proves to be a wild card, but this race had triple question marks next to it. In the weeks leading up, I was feeling good and strong and I did everything I possibly could to prepare for this day. All I could do is the best I possibly could and relax. This is way easier said than done.

I did complete both of those goals in the first event, the cross country. I raced to the best of my ability and was able to relax into a rhythm during the race. Much to my relief, I rode to a solid second place behind perennial stronghold, Georgia Gould. Then, I rode completely out of my skin in the Super D and Short Track to take the wins. I literally rode the wave of excitement from the cross country (and good legs) to go ballistic in the Super D. I used the same 'I'm really excited about returning to racing so I'm going to go crazy' tactic to attack the pack on the last lap of the short track and win!

I've been thinking about this season and especially this opening race for a long time now. I could not be any more thrilled with how it went. Honestly, I can sleep better knowing that all of my hard work for the past year has thrown me into the competitive fray.

Next up is the Sea Otter Classic and I could not be more excited to race at the Otter. I'm also thrilled about Sea Otter because I have the opportunity to present about the Little Bellas at the Bicycle Leadership Conference on Wednesday. Thanks to a great fundraising effort with First Gear/Specialized giving eighteen girls the chance to attend our camp, the Little Bellas Sea Otter camp is going to be the biggest one yet. There's going to be a lot of fun and, as usual, plenty of cuteness running around in Little Bellas jerseys this year at Sea Otter. Please stop by our Little Bellas booth and say hello.