Thirteen-year-old Maggie Coles-Lyster of Maple Ridge continued the upward trajectory of her competitive career at the prestigious Starcrossed cyclo-cross race in Redmond, Wash. on Saturday, when she topped a field of 30 women older than 19.
"It's the hardest race I've ever done. I can hardly believe it," said the Local Ride/Dr. Vie Superfoods elite team member. "I wasn't nervous before the race at all. There were so many women and nobody knew me. I just expected to blend in."
But it's hard to blend in when you are leading the race. All eyes turned to Coles-Lyster as she exploded off of the starting line and never glanced back.
Her only threat came from a tenacious Karin Valliant-Saunders of Seattle, who Coles-Lyster was eventually able to fend off. The next riders finished nearly one-and-a-half minutes behind.
Coles-Lyster has been finding success nearly wherever she rides her bike, regularly winning races in the U15, U17, and U19 categories in track, road, and cyclo-cross disciplines. She chose to upgrade to the Cat 4 women's field for Starcrossed in order to get more competition, because, for Coles-Lyster, it's not all about winning, and she's having a hard time finding races she can compete in closer to home.
"I want to keep improving, and to do that, I need to be able to challenge myself against other people," said Coles-Lyster. "But the most important part of racing, is that it's really fun."
Coles-Lyster's two younger sisters, Kaelen, nine, and Campbell, three, also participated in the action, taking part in the popular and well-attended kids' events. More than 1,000 racers competed in Starcrossed's wide spectrum of races on Saturday.
Next up for Coles-Lyster and her Local Ride teammates are tje B.C. Cyclo-cross championships in North Vancouver on Oct. 21 and Pumpkin Cross presented by Local Ride Bike Shop in Maple Ridge on Oct. 28.