By Haley Batten with Mark Deterline — From May 10th-22nd, 2016, I was traveling with USA Cycling and eight other Junior riders in France and Germany. We raced Coupe de France Ussel in Ussel, France on May 15th where I placed second in the UCI U19 Junior Women category.
Then we traveled to Albstadt, Germany where we competed in the UCI Junior Series. Not my best race, but I was really happy to place seventh in a very competitive field. After parting ways with the Junior US Team when they made their way home, I continued my European stay for another week with some good friends in Germany. I was able to settle in and relax while getting in some great training and sightseeing.
But time flies!
My family arrived on May 28th, and we have been traveling in Germany and France since, filling every day with adventures. Currently I am in La Bresse, France with amazing trails all around me. We will move on to Gränichen, Switzerland where I will race again this Sunday. I have been able to ride my bike on beautiful new terrain, and am enjoying every second!
Throughout my life I was surrounded by my very active family, and before I could even walk they led me on many amazing adventures. They brought my brother and me backpacking, camping, hiking, biking, skiing, and really anything outdoors.
As soon as I could participate, being active continued to be a very large part of my everyday life. Biking was one of our family favorites, and we would always go on camping trips with multiple other families. All of the kids would ride together, so I was always pushing myself to keep up with everyone.
My little brother and I also followed my dad around to many of his bike races. Soon, at 8 yrs old, I tried one out, then another, and another. Soon, by age 11 I was fully hooked on the sport. I continued to battle it out with the boys, then began racing with the Pro Women locally at age 14 or so; gender and age differences didn’t ever cross my mind.
I think that being able to push myself at such a young age has really helped me to become the rider that I am today. From there I entered my first out-of-state race and National Championship at age 12, then raced internationally for the first time at age 14. I have continued to travel more and more each year to race, and now find my bike leading me to the most incredible places all over the world. Mountain bike racing has become more than a great challenge and way to push myself to the limits; it has also served as an amazing teacher and tour guide.
I think I am motivated by all of the challenges that cycling brings. I want to know how much better, how much faster, and how much stronger I can get. I want to be the first one to cross the finish line; that is what helps me push myself every day. There is a lot to this sport, and I think that helps me to stay motivated and excited, even through bad days.
First, there is training on the bike. An athlete has to be prepared for whatever a race course could bring, with regard to the strength required, and to the technical abilities called upon by descents. Then there is training preparation off the bike, like nutrition, recovery and mental strength, along with the balancing act of school, social life and so much more. Since there is so much going on and so much to learn, I can really never get tired of this amazing sport. There are so many places to go and goals to achieve, which continue to get me excited for what’s to come.
I think the advice that I would give to young riders, female riders, and really all riders would be to just get out there, adventure and share your passion with others. This sport is lifelong and can teach you so much about yourself and the environment around you. Spread the love and get other people out riding! The more people out on trails, the more awareness we have for the environment, the more trail systems will continue to grow, and the more people will be happy and healthy.
Remember that you can never stop learning; listen to the people around you, find people that inspire you, and ride with people that are better than you. For young and female riders, remember that age and gender are not roadblocks; no matter who you are, you can still find success and joy in anything that you are passionate about.
I am so lucky and grateful to have had so much amazing support all around me throughout my life and cycling career. This sport takes more than just an athlete; it takes an entire team behind them. Park City has incredible trail systems, and organizations that have helped me get out and ride from a very young age. My family and friends have truly given me the help and support I need to make this journey possible.
The Luna Pro Team and our sponsors have helped me to take it to the next level this season. It’s truly incredible to have all of the support I need so that 100% of my focus can go into the race or workout at hand.
Dario Fredrick, my coach, has continued to motivate, push, and teach me every step of the way. Without this amazing team of people behind me, I’m not sure where I would be today. So, here’s a huge thank you to everyone that has supported me along the way!