Life as a Bike Jockey: You just never know

Judy Freeman /

When I took the lead in lap two of the ProXCT finals in Wisconsin this month, it wasn’t by preference. It meant being out front early. I’d be riding in front of Canada’s Amanda Sin, Heather Irmiger, Pua Mata, my teammate Chloe, a Canadian contingent I hadn’t seen before and the rest of a hungry field.

Without a leader’s wheel in my sights, I wondered if I’d blow the legs setting the pace, or if the focus would drift in the slightest measure to allow a crash on the rocky and twisty course. Riding as a pro for twelve years, you’d think this wouldn’t cross my mind. However, after the season I’d been having, admittedly my racing confidence had become shaky.

When I saw Pua behind me gaining on the climb, there was no more time to second-guess it. I passed Amanda when the trees next opened up. There’d always be the chance to chase if I lost the lead. But who knew what would happen in the next three laps.