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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2017

Beatty 1 step closer to riding in worlds competition

By Bill Gatchel | Jul 13, 2017
Photo by: Bill Gatchel Alijah Beatty is all smiles while displaying her first-place medals she earned in the USA Cycling Amateur Road and Criterium National Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

She’s accomplished her goal of winning the national bicycle race, but crossing the finish line isn’t the end for Alijah Beatty.

She rode in the nationals bicycle race in Louisville, Kentucky, and finished better than she thought.

“I took first in the road race as well as the criterium,” Beatty says.

“The road race was my main goal because that was the way to get to worlds. During the race, it seemed really easy.

“There was 11 laps and we didn’t start racing hard for the last two laps. I know I can sprint so I’m good at being together at the finish. I won the sprint last year, so I felt good about the course and how I was going to do it.

“It came to the sprint and I attacked first, then I came across the finish line in first. I felt really happy and overjoyed. I couldn’t believe I did it.

“I know there are other girls that could have done it, too. I knew that once I crossed the finish line, I made my goal, which was good.”

Even though she won the road race, there was more to be done to help get to worlds, Beatty says.

“Since I won the road race I told myself that I have to do well in the criterium and that will show the U.S. people that I’m consistent and that I can do other things besides just ride in road races,” she says.

“The criterium was a lot more lively. There were a lot more attacks and more action happening. All of us were still together on the last lap. I attacked at the bottom of the hill. I had a small gap and the others weren’t able to close it.

“Winning back-to-back championships was awesome! That wasn’t my goal, but to achieve that sets a new goal for what I want to do.”

Previously Beatty thought if she would qualify for the worlds race, she would be traveling to Italy. That’s not the case.

“Worlds is in Norway this year. I have an automatic selection after winning the road race. I should be going, but the final roster hasn’t been put out yet.”

Traveling to Norway will be something new for Beatty.

“I think it’s going to be a lot like the race I did in Europe back in April.

“The other girls probably going with me went to worlds last year, so they will help in giving me tips and I know the coaches will help a lot. It’s just another road race, I have to remember that.”

With the possibility of riding in the worlds race, what’s next?

“This is as far as I can go in my current age group, the 17-18-year-olds. Next year I will be in the Under 23 (U23) category. My goal after worlds is to get ready for next year and prepare for nationals next year.”

Getting ready for the next step involves thinking.

“I definitely have to mentally prepare myself in that next year I’m not going to win them.

“I’m going to be in the back, probably toward the back, being one of the younger riders.

“I will just have to train, and build up my endurance. It’s going to take work and a couple years before I get to the top end of the U23 group.”

As for training, it’s going to require more.

“It’s going to be a lot more training,” Beatty says.

“It’s going to be longer and more intense rides. I might have to train with the men more. It’s going to be a shift from this year to next year but I think I can do it.”

Beatty does want to keep riding in the future, but has some short-term goals to finish first.

“Right now I just want to finish college at Marion University in Indianapolis, Indiana, and get a degree in nursing specifically and ER nurse or a helicopter nurse.

“If I can’t keep up with my studies, I will take a couple of years off from cycling and then get back into it. I’m definitely planning on riding after college.”

When asked about the ultimate goal, the Tour de France, it’s not on her radar right now, but that doesn’t mean she won’t ride in it.

“Every cyclist that races would love to be in that race. I would love to do it if I ever have a chance to race it.

“Even if I can, but don’t feel like I will perform, I would probably still do it just to have the ability to say ‘you did it.’ It’s all about experiences. I think it would be so cool. We will have to see how it goes.”

Beatty will find out for sure if she qualified for the worlds race the end of July.

The worlds bicycle race takes place in Bergen, Norway, Sept. 17-24.

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