Beatty prepares for nationals
Three victories in the 2014 cycling season would be enough to set anyone apart from the crowd, but what makes her stand out might just be Alijah Beatty’s prerace routine.
“About an hour and a half before I race, I drink a Mountain Dew,” the 15-year-old Beatty said. “A lot of people wonder why I would drink that, but I don’t really like energy drinks, so I just get a pop. Then, about 20 minutes before the race, people are usually pedaling away on their trainers, but I don’t do that. I just see the course a couple times and then just race. I don’t really warm up. I’ll warm up in the race. If it’s a 30-minute race, 15 minutes in, I’ll be warmed up.”
That process has worked this summer, as she has picked up wins in the Snake Alley criterium, Quad Cities criterium and the Grinnel criterium.
All those races are preparing her for some of the tougher tests that are coming up in the next few weeks for the Washington native.
Beatty will take part in the Rose Festival stage race starting today, then next weekend will participate in the Tour of American Dairyland in Wisconsin from June 25-28.
After that, she will enter a major challenge with the National Championships in Madison, Wis., starting on July 2.
Her season doesn’t culminate there, as after going to nationals, she will take part in the Tour de la Reléve Internationale de Rimouski in Quebec. It is a six-stage cycling race and its main goal is to prepare the young cyclists with a small Tour de France type of experience.
“We’ll be doing longer races and a couple shorter races,” Beatty said. “One day we will be going 60 miles and that will be a race, and another day will be a (criterium) for about 30 minutes. It’s going to be hard because the races are consistent every day, but as I train, I’ve been working on having two races in one day and another the next day.”
For Beatty, the criterium shouldn’t be too bad, as she has won three of those already this season.
“I like criteriums, and if I had to choose my favorite one, it would be either Grinnell or Snake Alley,” Beatty said. “Grinnell is flat, and Snake Alley has a hill, but they are both places I’ve done before and I know what I want to do and where I want to pass at the end.
“People can say, ‘I’m going to do a 60-mile bike ride and go really slow,’ but for me, I’ll say I’m going to do a 30-minute bike ride and go really hard,” Beatty added about her training. “I can’t do longer distances very well, so it’s harder for me to get pumped and go ride.”
Getting into cycling wasn’t hard for Beatty, as she started going on rides with her father when she was 9 years old, and still has no plans to stop anytime soon.
“About six years ago, my dad needed to lose some weight, so he started biking,” Beatty said. “He wanted someone to go with him and he started off with my sister riding with him, then I started going with him and since I was younger I just kept doing it. I kept getting better and started
“I liked racing, so my dad got me my first bike, and I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I kept using it. I think I’ll be doing it for a long time, because you can ride forever.”