On a brisk winter evening in Pine Bush Reserve, you’ll find Lilly O’Donnell and her family hitting the trails.
“I really like it,” O’Donnell said. “It’s just something I can’t wait to do.”
But she doesn’t just cycle. She is working on her cyclocross skills. And for those who do not know the sport, it is a form of bicycle racing; a mix of road cycling, mountain biking and steeplechase.
“It’s riding in the park on the grass and there are different obstacles that you have to like to take your bike and shoulder it and then you run,” O’Donnell said.
It’s also a sport that has treated O’Donnell well over the years. But she didn’t know she would reach the top of the sport.
Just over a week ago, O’Donnell won the national 11 and 12-year-old sports championship. It’s a moment she didn’t see herself in at the start of the season.
“At the start of the season I thought I would do well as a podium for my races and it would be a good season, but I went to the national championships, worked my butt and had fun,” O said. ‘Donnell.
And while she will cherish the title for years to come, her goal is still to look back on her races and work on what she could have done better.
“There’s this site called cross-scores and I go back sometimes and look at all my races and see the progress I’ve made throughout the season, and that makes me really happy,” O said. Donnell. “I can’t wait for next season. “
And focusing on his improvements allows him to return to the national stage to defend his title in the years to come.
“I think I’m going to do well and keep going,” she said. my hardest to see what the outcome is.
But while titles are important to O’Donnell, it’s the people involved in cyclocross that make it really special.
“The community that helps you, like CBRC has helped me so much,” O’Donnell said. “Coach Andy came here and helped me so much. Just the people make it really great.
As the season is over, O’Donnell will enjoy some downtime with family and friends before preparing to start over next year.