UPDATE: Pua Mata
January 17, 2012
2012 Team ShoAir….
After hours and hours and hours (literally) of reading, contemplating, fidgeting, indecision and not wanting to be in my position, the decision was finally made and I am going to introduce you to our Team ShoAir 5-person girl team for next weekends 12 Hours of Temecula race.
For those of you who are not in the loop, to quickly bring you up to speed, I put together a contest for all high school girls out there who ride a mountain bike. By simply answering the questions of:
. Why you should be chosen to be on the 12 Hours of Temecula Team ShoAir 5-person girls team?
. What got you into mountain biking?
. What does mountain biking mean to you?
. What is your racing goal for 2012?
. What is one word that best describes you?
They had the chance of joining me and 4 other high school girls to race.
To my surprise I began receiving entries from across the country and as each day passed, not only did I realize that I was doing the right thing, I realized the predicament that I was putting myself into. Every entry and every girl was amazing in their own unique way. They each had a story and they each wanted it more or just as much as the other and I had no idea how I was going to decide.
But, someone had to do it and although I wished that I could just close my eyes and draw the names from my hat (I promise that I didn’t do that!), the team was chosen.
And before I introduce them, if you have nothing to do next weekend and want to witness this amazingness, come out and join us next weekend at Vail Lake Resort from 9am-9pm. Swing by the pit, cheer us on and maybe even hand us a water bottle!
First, I will introduce to you our youngest, Ksenia Lepikhina.
Ksenia will be flying in and joining us from Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado. Don’t let that sweet innocent look fool you because although I have not yet ridden with her, her results say it all and I know is that this is one to definitely be watching out for!
You would think that the reason I chose Ksenia was because of her talent and the fact that she would be a very strong addition to the team with her speed and talent, but let me enlighten you. Yes, her very first sentence of why I should choose her to be a part of our team immediately grabbed my attention and it would have grabbed yours because it read: ”Because I have been a racing bikes for 4 years. I have been the national champion twice, and got 2nd this year. This season I will be racing Cat. 1. I have also been doing cyclocross for 2 years. In cyclocross I race in the Open Women category. This year was the first year that I raced in High School mountain bike races. I placed 1st in JV in the first race, and then began racing Varsity. I received 1st in the 2 races I participated in.”
Impressive was my first thought after reading that, but it was her last word that grabbed me and knew that Ksenia would be our little freshman.
My final question was “What is one word that best describes you?” There were a few words that I was expecting to read as her answer, but I was completely caught off guard and there was a big smile on my face when I read her word: Happy
A few fun facts about Ksenia:
Her favorite trail is Amasa Back in Moab, UT (definitely one of my favorites).
Her favorite smell is the smell of rain.
Her favorite song is Promises (Skrillex & Nero remix).
And her favorite color is Purple.
Can’t wait to meet this little speed racer! Watch out for her on the course as she rips through on her Trek Elite 9.7!
Next, we have our Sophomore Ellen Noble who will also be flying in to join us and she will be making quite the trek as she joins us from Kennebunk High School in Kennebunkport, Maine.
When you take a look at this girls picture, the last thing you would be expecting is for her to be ripping down the trails on the dirt, but again, don’t be fooled because she is another shredder.
Along with Ellen’s entry there was a very professional race resume attached and to be honest, I may have skimmed over it once, but my intention of this contest wasn’t to create a killer team that would be rippin’ up the course and taking everyone down. The intention was and is to bring awareness to all girls out there from every walk of life and level and show them how awesome we are and what we can do if we just try. I felt that by calling on all high school girls and giving them an opportunity to join another force of girls who love to get out, have fun, get dirty and ride bikes it would encourage them to get out and try or at the least…begin to think about it.
But now, back to Ellen. One thing outside of all of her accomplishments in cycling that caught my attention was not only her enthusiasm and passion that exploded through her words but her answer to the question of what mountain biking means to her.
Her answer was: “For me, mountain biking not only makes me happy, but something that has opened so many doors for me. It’s taught me to be independent, and given me a ton of motivation. It’s taught me to take care of my health and not care what others think about me. In my school I am literally the only person that has ever raced a bike before, and it’s been hard sometimes for people to accept me because of it. I used to care that people thought what I did was so weird, but what it taught me in the end is that I need to embrace that what I do is different and grow from it. Cycling has made me someone special.”
I think this is something that girls struggle with and Ellen has learned to use it as her special power and embrace it. We are all special, we just need to be confident in our passions, embrace it and be confident with that.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with Ellen and her dad Tim. I instantly knew that I had made the right decision with her and when I spoke with her dad it was again confirmed when he told me, ‘Yes, Ellen is just a little bit excited. You have no idea what you are in for!’ Hearing this made me smile and I was so glad that I decided to do this.
A few fun facts about Ellen:
Her favorite word is sikk wahtt (I can’t wait to hear this one…what does that exactly mean Ellen?!)
Her favorite smell is the smell of fresh laundry.
Her favorite place that she has been to is DisneyLand.
And her favorite color…no surprise here, it’s yellow.
Look out for this little firecracker as she flies by on her Trek Superfly Elite!
Now we are onto our Junior.
Let me introduce to you Camilla Fernandez Arredondo who is a local California girl joining us from Eastlake High School in Chula Vista.
There were a few things that really got my attention when reading this young ladies entry. First of all, the excitement was just jumping out of her words and I couldn’t help but feel a little anxious and excited when reading her words even from the very first sentence.
To give you a taste of what I mean, her answer of why I should choose her to be on the team was: ”I’m a passionate cyclist. When I stood up on the starting line last year (my first time racing ever!) I felt a feeling I’ve never felt before with any other sport. The emotion was pure, and I for the first time I felt that I was racing for MYSELF. Once I hear the “GO!” from Matt Gunnell (the League director) all my anxiety went away, I was racing for me. The race started and I never looked back, there was no need to, I just had a smile on my face; I was going as hard as I could, I was extremely happy of being out there, riding my bike in such a beautiful place like Vail Lake. I was going for it, attacking, without thinking, just letting my instinct guide me for the first time; the terrifying fear from the prior day during the pre-ride was gone! I was in peace, God was with me. I finished the race, I gave it all I had, nothing left. Surprisingly I finished in first place, my first race I finished in first place! I was thrilled! By the time the season finished I conserved my leader jersey. After the season, my real training started and my quality as a racer is growing fast.”
Camilla is one that may not be providing this team with her experience and knowledge of racing, but she is going to bring something we can all benefit from and that is her pure passion and heart for our sport and what she does. Right now Camilla is this sponge that is ready and wanting to absorb anything that she possibly can. Not only is she going to absorb it, but she is going to use it and practice it.
I am a big believer in dreaming big and setting goals and it is very apparent that Camilla feels the same. After one of racing under her belt, her first goal that she listed for this year is to win the Varsity title for SoCal.
A few fun facts about Camilla:
Her favorite time of the day to ride is 7am (looks like we may have found who is going to be doing our first lap!)
Her favorite word is sustainable.
Her favorite song is King without a Crown by Matisyahu.
And her favorite trail is Cuyamaca.
Looks like I am going to have my hands full with little fire cracker #2! Watch out for this little girl as she flies by on her new Cannondale Scalpel!
And last but not least, I want to introduce to you our Senior Elizabeth Duchetta who is another local California girl who will be joining us from Glendora High School.
I have not yet met any of these girls, but I knew this one was definitely my senior and full of brains when I opened up her entry. The grammar, punctuation and the lay out was nothing but perfect and precise.
Immediately I was informed from this young lady that she is not the fastest, but her determination and toughness was beyond evident. One of her reasons of why I should choose her read: “I’m dedicated to riding and refuse to ever quit, be it a race or the local hell ride. Last October, I competed in the Mt. Sac Fat tire race. It had been pouring days before the race and as a result the trail was unrideable. In order to complete the race I had to sling my bike (it weighed 47 pounds, 7 from the mud and 40 from the bike itself) over my back and walk in ankle deep mud for twelve miles. Half the boys I was racing with , all faster than me, quit after their first lap.”
If you ask me, this is the definition of determined.
Another interesting experience that made me stop and think for a moment, was her mentioning a conversation she had with her coach while on a ride. Elizabeth said that the other day while she was riding with her coach, he looked at her and asked if she had ever had a bad day on the bike. After some thought, she realized that all the times that she has been on her mountain bike, she has never had one.
A few fun facts about Elizabeth are:
Her favorite movie is Fiddler on the Roof.
Her favorite smell is the smell of Lavender.
Her favorite trail is Brokeback Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.
And her favorite place she has been to is Three Rivers, CA
When you see Elizabeth out there passing you on the trail, don’t worry she will no longer be on her 40lb hardtail, but she will be on her 2000 Klein Altitude Comp!
As you can see, this team is going to be awesome and most importantly we are going to have a blast out there rippin’ up the trails!
A few things that these girls will be going home with along with their experience is:
Team ShoAir Jersey
Team ShoAir Hat
Team ShoAir Podium Jersey
Team ShoAir swag
Oakley Radar Edge eyewear (my custom color)
3-month supply of EP-NO from ProLine Sports Nutrition
And lastly. As any racer knows, our support crew is key to have success and this team is not falling short in that category.
Giving back to the sport is always important and this young man has learned this from a young age. These girls will be getting the undivided attention of Senior Cody Phillips who is currently the 2011 SoCal High School MTB Champion. Thank you Cody, you are awesome!
In addition these lucky girls will be getting the support of my coach Adam Pulford who is a Senior Level Coach at Carmichael Training Systems. He was part of my amazing support crew that helped me earn my 2011 24 Hour Solo National Championship Title and he definitely knows what is needed, but just don’t ask him for pasta!
Thank you to ShoAir, Jason Ranoa of SoCal Endurance and 12 Hours of Temecula, Oakley, Fizik and ProLine Sports Nutrition for your support and making this possible. This is going to be fun!