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Life as a bike jockey: The (near) victory salute

Happy, happy. Joy, joy

When I rounded the corner to the finish on the final stretch, I looked back and knew I had second locked up. I was so happy with how I rode and so relieved I had kept it for three laps that I started punching the sky. And, as my team director Amanda said, I started punching and I didn’t stop.

In the excitement of it, I sat up pretty early. This unwittingly made my celebrations to the finish a good ten-second display of an arm-swinging monkey on a bike. I knew I didn’t win, but by the looks of it, you’d have thought I did. That, or that I was being attacked by swarming bees.

Practice, practice

So it must take a plan and some getting used to for big finishes. I got second and all composure escaped me, let alone a rehearsed victory salute. Photo documentation later showed the limbs pretty much threw out every celebratory gesture they could muster in the time it took to finish. It was the ‘ol cowboy-hat-waving, Saturday-Night-Live-disco-posing, I-can’t-believe-it head-holding, air-drumming, thigh-slapping combo.

When the dust settled

Catherine Pendrel won and really had dibs to the grand show, but she was more than supportive and gracious about my finish-line jubilance. She gave me a big hug and said great job. I got a lot of congratulations from the rest of the women’s field too which I think says a lot about the culture of mountain biking and the women in the sport.


So I had that ride; the top national finish that I’ve worked on for years and finally got. Afterward, I felt a bit of a goofball for being so animated, but even when I think back on it, I would hope every rider gets to be that happy at least once for all the work we put in to it.

As for Texas, I’ll put it down as a warm up to a win and work on a plan for a victory salute. Maybe something with sparklers… .

What’s next

My teammate Chloe and I are down here in South Africa. We’re getting ready for the World Cup opener on Saturday in Pietermaritzburg. We raced the course last Saturday in a local event and, wooo! it’s a good one. Lots of climbing and no shortage of technical sections to keep a person occupied.

Special thanks to Keith Arnold and Dave McElwaine for the photos. Hope you check in again. Thanks for reading!

Judy Freeman is a pro mountain biker out of Boulder, Colorado. She was nominated to the Olympic Long Team as a potential rider at the 2012 London Olympics. Freeman races for the Crankbrothers Race Club. Team sponsors for 2012 include Ibis Bicycles, X-Fusion suspension, Formula braking, SRAM shifting, Crankbrother components, Pactimo clothing, Fi’zi:k saddles, Continental tires, Rocky Mounts racks and Pearl Izumi footwear. Join her for her monthly column on Singletrack.com called “Life as a Bike Jockey.”

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