Four BJC athletes competed in the 2020 CX Worlds in Dubendorf, Switzerland: Maddie Munro, Téa Wright, Michaela Thompson, and Jared Scott. We asked them a series of questions about their experience.
Name one image from Worlds that you’ll never forget.
Maddie: Crossing the line and seeing a mass of photographers and supporters so big I couldn’t even believe it. I felt proud and so excited to be surrounded by so many people cheering and smiling, people I knew and didn’t know.
Téa: I will never forget the view from the start line: the hundred, maybe thousands of people lining the course and the realization that I was among the best racers in the world.
Michaela: Arriving at the pit area at the venue where the team was all set up and seeing all the other teams set up around us. This made me realize even more that I made it to Worlds and was able to have this experience.
Jared: Jesse Anthony (USA team manager) standing at the finish line still waiting for me even though I was 8 minutes behind the leaders. He still was supportive and proud of what I was able to do, even though I wasn’t able to perform how I had hoped.
What was the most fun thing about your experience?
Maddie: Getting to spend time with all the other USA athletes. This was a great group of kids and we had such a memorable time exploring Switzerland and riding our bikes together.
Téa: Making new friends and connections with other racers my age from around the country and even from other countries. I never would have expected to become close with anyone in the few days I spent with them, but I was able to make a couple new friends and it was amazing to spend time with everyone and share the experience with them.
Michaela: The pre-ride days where I felt honored to get such amazing feedback from the coaches as well as the more experienced elite athletes. It was so interesting getting different perspectives from the other athletes, like lines to take, or rest and hammer sections.
Jared: Just being able to hang with everyone. The team all got along super well and we would all just hang out together in someone’s room or at the race. It made the experience way more fun and pleasurable and really brought us all together as a team.
What was the hardest part of the race or the trip?
Maddie: The hardest part was to not get too nervous about the race and results. I knew I had high goals for myself and I put pressure on myself to achieve these goals yet it was super important to remember why I was there and to have as much fun soaking up the Worlds experience as possible.
Téa: Personally, since my invite to the race was so last minute, the most difficult part of the trip was accepting that I would not be able to do as well as I would’ve hoped. Since I had taken a long break very close to the race, I had lost fitness. Thus, I had to come to terms with the fact that I could have done better and be happy that I did the best I could with the time I was given.
Michaela: To be honest, the hardest part of the trip for me was race day. I let my nerves and excitement get in the way of my focus which affected me in the race where I felt like I had no power in my legs and had zero energy.
Jared: Missing school; I had already gone over for the Christmas trip block and then returned before worlds for some world cups which meant I was missing a good bit of school. It was difficult for me to push myself to just do the huge load of schoolwork I was missing instead of just blowing it off.
What surprised you the most?
Maddie: The amount of people and support that went towards our race. Being a junior race I didn’t expect very many people to be watching at the race or even on tv however there were lots of awesome fans!
Téa: I was most surprised at how I didn’t feel nervous for the most part. The whole trip felt like a dream and up until the minute before the start, I barely felt nervous.
Michaela: How much my nerves are able to get in the way. Throughout the whole week being in Switzerland, I tried staying as calm as possible leading up to race day but I think that I used a lot of my energy on being nervous rather than saving it. I’ve never felt so nervous before a race before and I really felt it once I got into the race. It felt as if I were stuck in glue.
Jared: The number of American fans and supporters that there were at Worlds. There were quite a few people who had flown from the US to watch and others who weren’t even American but still were supporting us with flags and USA shirts or just would cheer us on in the races.
Name one mistake you made and how you’d correct it next time.
Maddie: I was not aggressive enough in my start and let other competitors box me in. To correct this I will work on my starts and keeping my elbows out to hold my line.
Téa: I made the mistake of letting go of the girl in front of me. Just a small push could have improved my result by one or two places, possibly more. Next time, I will push myself harder mentally, as I know I’m very motivated by those around me in a race when compared to racing alone.
Michaela: I used my energy on things that were not ideal for race day, including hanging out on my feet too much and putting too much energy into the pre-ride days. I should have been more careful and rested more.
Jared: Well my one mistake derailed my entire race. I am not sure what it is exactly from but I got pretty bad food poisoning the night before the race. I was up all night throwing up and was completely empty when it came time to race. The only thing I had that was different was a Kiefer from the store and I had put it in the mini fridge. I had one the day before so it was fine then but the second time I had it, shortly after I started to feel nauseous. I don’t think the mini fridge was actually cold enough to refrigerate it and that was the cause. From now on though I am going to be extremely careful on what I eat before a big race and whether or not it is properly refrigerated.
What was your favorite part of the course and why?
Maddie: The steep flyovers because they felt most like a gut-punching climb.
Téa: The run ups and drops because they were a nice, technical addition to the otherwise simple course, but I also found the flyovers really fun.
Michaela: The descents because they challenged me, were out of my comfort zone, and were the most exciting parts.
Jared: My favorite part of the course would have to be the giant fly over. There were 3 different flyovers on the course but the first one was a massive 2 story one that had 2 turns on it and was really cool. I have never done a flyover that big before and it was sick seeing the whole course from way up there before descending down the other side.
Least favorite part and why?
Maddie: The sharp pavement turns because they were pretty slippery and I crashed coming around one with too much speed.
Téa: Any long, flat, grassy straightaway was torturous for me. That happened to be the majority of the course and is not exactly my strong suit.
Michaela: The flat, sticky, power zones, which I usually use to my advantage, but on this day I did not have in my legs. There was super bumpy grass and peanut buttery mud in these sections. I am also still learning how to “float” above the ground and find speed on these sections.
Jared: My least favorite part of the course was right after the steep drop that had a super deep rut in it. It was a bit sketchy and you went straight into this mud bog section that no matter how hard you went, you were going 5/6 mph max. It was really painful and super slow.
Team USA provided a lot of support. What was one type of support that really helped you?
Maddie: The mentorship and coaching from all the older riders and coaches like Erik Tonkin and Meredith Miller. They provided me with so much helpful advice regarding race strategy and preparation along with technical advice on how to ride the course and improve my own technical skills. They were also extremely encouraging and positive the whole trip.
Téa: The mechanics were amazing; I can’t thank them enough. Not having to worry about my bike’s condition prior to my race took a lot of weight off my shoulders and allowed me to direct my focus to other parts of my pre-race routine.
Michaela: The mechanics put so much time into making our bikes perfect for race day. Another thing was the support from the coaches and staff, being there for us the whole time, getting us pumped on race day, and even doing our laundry!
Jared: The overall support of all the staff was amazing. I don’t know if I can single out anyone in specific since everyone did so much. The mechanics were incredible with always having the bikes race ready and being there for anything. The swanees were incredible and then Jesse was the glue that made sure everything ran smoothly.
What is one thing you want to improve for next season?
Maddie: I want to continue to work on my starts and overall explosiveness.
Téa: I want to improve my endurance, as I tend to blow up a little in most races. I need to work on building a stronger base, so my races will be more steady.
Michaela: I want to focus on efficiency both on and off the bike, not overthinking the race, and being aware of energy conservation.
Jared: My explosive power and starts. I feel like I improved upon that a ton this season and want to keep working on it.
What will you do in the off season to have fun or relax?
Maddie: A lot of skiing and hiking with my dog!
Téa: I will definitely sleep a ton and maybe go skiing.
Michaela: Skiing, travel, and spending time with my friends and family!
Jared: Hanging with friends and family as much as I can.
Any last words?
Maddie: I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of history in the first ever women’s 17-18 Worlds. I couldn’t have done any of it without being a member of such a strong, fun, and encouraging team. All season I was surrounded by BJC teammates and coaches who pushed me and continued to remind me why I love this sport so much. This was a race I will always look back on and think of all those who have helped me get here so far!
Téa: This was definitely one of my most fun experiences with biking and I hope I’ll be able to do it again someday!
Michaela: Wow…what a season it turned out to be! I have learned so much, met some incredible people, and grown so much as both an athlete and a person. I feel so grateful to have been able to be in the first ever junior women’s World Championship field this year in Switzerland.
Jared: As disappointing as Worlds was for me, I am still super happy with how my season went and how much I was able to improve because of all the support from everyone. From Pete and BJC to my parents and USAC. I had a really good time and I’m excited for what’s to come in the future.
A special thank you to the many loyal and supportive sponsors, coaches, and parents who made our entire season possible. Thanks to your efforts we had great success and many learnings. Can’t wait for the seasons to come!