My name is Jamae Lacey and I have been riding with the Folsom Bulldogs (NorCal League) for two years. This story is to highlight the efficiency and closeness of an individual team, the Folsom Bulldogs.
Two years ago, I began working at a local bicycle shop in Folsom. I was encouraged by a co worker, a former team member, to join. I had never mountain biked in my life, and I was hesitant because I knew girls are rare in the sport. However, I got in touch with the head coach at the time, and before I knew it, I was on a mountain bike with a full kit.
They taught me how to be at ease in a group of people I don’t know, how to keep my mind and body focused, and how to take advice from authority without compromising my personal ideas.
But more importantly, the small team meant I never felt like I was lost in the crowd. At every team ride, I was given attention from coaches and other riders. I know I sound immature, but as someone who was not comfortable on a bike and had never competed at any level, I welcomed the individual attention, as I knew it would provide many tips on bike handling and control, advice on how to find the best line, and I was always reassured of my safety while I was still learning.
I was constantly the slowest member of the group, and the encouragement from coaches who stayed behind with me and the motivation to not be left in the dust every time I went out to ride, made me more determined to improve. That season, I got as high as 10th place in JV girls, even though it was my first year. I definitely would not have been able to accomplish that achievement without a small, closely connected team, which was willing to cheer me on and help at every stage.
This past year, I was a Senior, and even though it was my last year in cycling, I was overjoyed when I was chosen as one of the three team captains. (This next part may seem irrelevant, but I assure you it’s not) I was also a member of the Folsom High School Academic Decathlon team. We competed at the County level and won second place. Then, we were invited to compete at the State level, and we won Third Place in Division Two, the highest position a Sacramento County school has ever achieved at State. Personally, I won First Place for my Speech, and Third Place for my Interview. While all those achievements may seem unrelated to cycling, I know that without the Folsom Bulldogs, I would not have had the teamwork skills, dedication, and drive to compete. They taught me how to be at ease in a group of people I don’t know, how to keep my mind and body focused, and how to take advice from authority without compromising my personal ideas.
As I stated before, the Folsom Bulldogs are strong as an individual team. We train together, we laugh together, and we get hurt together. When I told my teammates about my achievements at the County level of Academic Decathlon, they were proud and enthusiastic, and that encouraged me to work hard even throughout State competition, where I felt as though I were out of my league. They helped me achieve more than I dreamed I could, and I know that I will always have somewhere to go when I am in need of support. With a large team, I know I could not feel this close to my teammates.