Even though Junior Women 13-14 racer Vida Lopez de San Roman (Trailworks Dirt Devo) is from Northern California, that does not mean she does not like racing when conditions are sloppy.
"I loved it because mud and rain are my favorite conditions," Lopez de San Roman said about Saturday's course. "It was definitely the ideal course for me with lots of running and technical descents."
Saturday's Junior Women 13-14 race started with Colorado's Jorja Bond (Boulder Junior Cycling). Lopez de San Roman, starting with a front-row call-up at Nationals for the first time, slotted into second position heading toward the first run-up.
"I didn't really know how it was going to play out," she said about the start of the race. "I didn't want to waste my energy and just go all for it on the straight start, but I ended up just doing that and it worked out."
After the first drop, Lopez de San Roman was joined at off the front by Dahlia Kissel (Lionhearts Junior Racing) and Haydn Hludzinski (Boulder Junior Cycling). The trio had a gap on Alexis Jaramillo (Rage Cycling) and Jorja Bond (Boulder Junior Cycling).
The trio hit the second run-up together, but dropping back down the descent chute, Lopez de San Roman opened up a 5-second advantage on the other two young women in the lead trio. At the end of the first lap, Lopez de San Roman led by 13 seconds over Kissel, who in turn led Hludzinski by 9 seconds.
In the second of three laps, Kissel started to chip away at the lead, but Lopez de San Roman got some help upping the pace again.
"I heard the announcers say, 'She’s closing in,' and I kind of just told myself, 'You can stay up here. Just don’t slow down and you’ll be fine.” The reason [the gap closed] was I crashed on the hill and I ran down. Then she caught me a bit."
At the end of the second lap, Lopez de San Roman's lead was back up to 12 seconds. Behind her, Kissel held a solid second, and Hludzinski and Jaramillo crossed the line together for a race for third.
In the last lap, Lopez de San Roman extended her lead by 10 seconds to take the Stars-and-Stripes jersey.
"I made sure that my bike wouldn’t mechanically break down," she said about her clean last lap. "I was like, 'If everything goes well on my bike I think I can take the win.” I really gave 100%. I couldn’t just slow down on sections when I got tired."
Kissel took the silver medal, and Hludzinkski narrowly beat out Jaramillo to take third. Bond rounded out the wide-angle podium.
For more from the Junior Women 13-14 race, see the winner interview, photo gallery and results below.
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Vida Lopez de San Roman: Junior Women 13-14 Winner Interview