Wilderman steps up into elite mountain bike ranks

The Elite Women head up the long fire road climb

The Elite Women head up the long fire road climb (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/trailwatch.net)

In her first year racing in the elite women's category, Sage Wilderman earned a top-10 finish at the US Mountain Bike National Championships last weekend. Wilderman, who turned 23 during the championships, is off to a good start as she gives pro cycling a shot.

"This year has been amazing. I've had a significant season," said Wilderman after competing in the cross country national championship race. "It's exciting to be able to line up with these guns even though it is nervewracking to hang on their wheel. It pushes you so hard."

Wilderman finished eighth in the cross country on Saturday and 11th in the short track on Sunday in Sun Valley, Idaho. In 2010, she won the under 23 women's national title in the cross country race.

"The transition to the elites has been good but hard," she said. "It's a lot more training, but I've dedicated the next two years to cycling. I'm excited, and races like this push me to the next level. I know I just need to get out there and train harder. I'm super close and I want to get up there."

Wilderman is racing full time after graduating from Fort Lewis College with a major in world history and a minor in literature.

"I'm racing and having fun," said Wilderman, who competes for the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory team out of Durango, Colorado, where she lives.

She works part-time during the week to make ends meet. "I sling coffee at a shop called Durago Joes and my brother is part-owner of a burrito place so I sling for him a few nights a week too when he needs it. It keeps me busy."

Wilderman recent placed third at the Teva Games and will race next at a 40-miler in Durango and the Mountain States Cup in Aspen.

Looking forward in her cycling career, she said, "I hope to continue on the national circuit and maybe go to World Cups soon."

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