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Troy Competes in 3 events at the US National Championships 2005 - Brings Home 1 Gold Medal

By Jim Sladeck

Troy on his downhill bike This last weekend was one of the most intense weekends for Troy.  He was registered for cross country and downhill and I bribed him with a new cell phone if he competed in the "trials" competition.    Nobody at the event (kid or adult) competed in 3 events.  Here was our schedule:

Friday late morning—ride 6 mile cross country loop to prepare for his race.

Friday afternoon—downhill runs on difficult black diamond runs with his downhill bike.

Friday eve until dark—practice trials on his "mini-bike".

Saturday morning—compete for 1st half of trials competition, Saturday (noon), race 6 mile cross country loop, Sat afternoon, compete in trials competition

Sunday morning 6:45 am—get up, eat breakfast and start practicing downhill runs, Sunday noon race downhill

Troy on his trials bike Results:

Trials—National Championship – 1st place
Cross Country—4th place
Downhill—3rd place

STORIES if you're interested:

Trials: After Troy was registered for both the cross country and downhill event I tried talking Troy into competing in the trials event. Trials riding is slower, trick oriented, balanced riding over logs, rocks and even down stairs etc. The reason I wanted Troy to compete in this is because it's his favorite part of biking. That's what he likes to do after school and on weekends. We built that little bike you see just for that purpose. He was just nervous because he had never done it before. The first section was down a set of stairs – no big deal except that he had to ride on the other side of the railing and in between some very large boulders.  As soon as I saw what he was going to do, I asked barb to go get his knee pads and full face helmet. He made it down only having to touch his feet twice but hit some of the rocks with his shoulder which he didn't like too much.

In the evening, the trials riders draw quite a bit of crowds since it's by the awards/podium.  Troy had a pretty good crowd cheering him on and right in the middle of one stunt, he got called on to podium for his cross country medal. The judge let Troy stop his trick run to the podium and then come back to finish. The whole crowd cheered him on and couldn't believe that he was competing in two events.

Cross country event line up Cross Country: We pre rode the course the day before (Barb, Troy and I) and it was very difficult to say the least. The hills were straight up and went at least 2 miles before any break. The downhill was equally as hard with small drop offs, loose sand and obstacles to hop over. I knew he was slow on the course but didn't know how the other kids would do. Ten minutes before the race, I went up the main hill and watched everybody come up. Troy couldn't stay up with the leaders, they were just bigger, stronger and faster than he was. He could barely breathe and was trying hard. I rode behind him and talked him through it knowing there was little chance that he could pull off a win. 

Troy had the 3rd place kid in sight and may or may not have passed him and for the first time all season, his chain came off. He lost a least 5 minutes trying to get it back on and I couldn't help him so he was very frustrated. The 10 year old kids were very good and NOT from California. I'm sure they were all state champions and the best in the country. The course was the same as the pro's except the kids only had to do one lap.

Downhill: Troy and I have ridden quite a bit of DH especially in Whistler where he got very good. He's never raced before and instead of racing each other, they race the clock for the best time. The course was the adult beginner/sport course and was pretty difficult for your average rider. He and I pre-rode it several times and he had some major crashes on some log jumps and 3 foot drops etc.  His last practice run was his worst and left his confidence low. I took him to an easier downhill course where he rode perfectly. He was especially nervous about the drop Troy on the podium at the end of the run that required a jump off of a 3 foot ledge, then a left hand turn in sand with a 3 foot cliff to crash in if you don't make it.

Since he crashed pretty good on it before I knew he was scared. I seeded Troy last so I rode with him down his race run. I was AMAZED!!! He was so smooth and fast and really stepped it up for the race. His chain fell off, he fixed it quickly and got right back on. Much better than the day before. When we got to the gnarly section it was super steep with a sharp left turn and right before the drop he stopped. The crowd below just watched as he stared at it and then Troy used his "trials" skills. With very little speed he hit the drop, landed perfectly and then washed out in the turn. He got himself back up, the crowd cheered and he raced toward the finish line.

The other kids (10 year olds) were very good and previous national champions. They congratulated Troy on his run and when they found out he raced cross country the day before, couldn't believe it.

Summary: Overall, Troy was the youngest competitor at the event and possibly the youngest in history to win a gold medal (they don't keep track). None of the other kids competed in more than one event and for that I was proud of Troy for working so hard and stepping outside his comfort zone. When we were leaving he didn't want to go, he still had more energy and was super pumped on winning the trials championship.

Troy has 2 years left to race in under 10 category for a national championship and I'm sure he will win all three of them either next year or the year after.

Two races left to go, Amateur Cup and California State series!!!! Thanks everybody for taking an interest.


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