“I was riding down a sketchy descent and went into a rocky section,” sophomore Mallory Roberts explains. “Then all of a sudden my front tire got stuck in a water runnel, and I went flying and nearly did a full flip before landing.”
While many would withdraw from this sport after such an incident, this was an impactful moment in Roberts’ mountain biking career; she became more serious about her sport.
As a sophomore at Carmel High School, the 16-year-old is not only 14th best in state but among the top five female bikers in Northern California. While the CHS student has been mountain biking for the past five years, she only started competing at races last year, where she scored very well. However, this season Roberts is aiming even higher.
“My goal is to become the first place rider in Northern California for my division and get a Leader’s Jersey,” Roberts says.
According to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association Rules and Guidelines, the Leader’s Jersey is awarded to the competitor who earns the most points and expected to wear this jersey at NICA league event races.
With races nearly every weekend during the last four months of the season, Roberts races at a wide variety of venues where she has had the opportunity to meet many different people from all across the state. One such example of this was at the state championships last year where over 5,000 people watched or participated in the race.
“It gets you away from high school and your little group of high school friends. I get to have friends that live all the way up in Eureka and Tahoe and also down in Los Angeles. And the best part is that we all have a common interest and passion for cycling.”
Although the sport is individual, Mallory trains for races with her team, the Monterey Bay Lightfighters, named after soldiers who trained at night in Fort Ord. The team normally trains three times a week, in addition to each biker practicing around six hours a week on their own.
“We have a pretty long season, from eight to nine months, and no one really stops training so my team members and training partners are my best friends,” explains the passionate biker.
Roberts adds that since mountain biking is not the regular high school sport, it is something she can pursue throughout her life.
“If you play football, you have to get a whole team together and gear up,” Roberts says. “But with mountain biking, you just grab your bike and go on a rad adventure.”
While the sport is enjoyable for her, training can be somewhat gruesome, Roberts explains. The rush she feels from finishing a race makes it all worth it.
“The feeling when I cross the finish line knowing I gave it my all is the best feeling I can think of,” Roberts claims. “The adrenaline I feel from trying to win a race or riding down lines that push me out of my comfort zone always have me coming back for more.”
Besides mountain biking, Roberts claims passions for other outdoor activities such as rock climbing, skating, trail running and backcountry and freestyle skiing in the winter.
“As much as I love mountain biking, it’s hard to beat a deep powder day in the backcountry. I also love to surf and have grown up doing it with my dad which I’m so fortunate to be able to do.”
Mallory Roberts’ love for the outdoors is an exquisite aspect of her identity.
“I always love to try new fun outdoor activities. After all, it could always become your next passion.”