Natalie Vitalie - Driven
A little about myself, I am Natalie Vitalie. A 25-year-old motion graphic artist in San Francisco, CA. On paper, I come across as your typical 25-year-old. Just like everyone else I am trying to find who I am.
I have been riding downhill since 2015 and 2017 was my first year racing in downhill mountain biking.
I've had aspirations of racing downhill for a few years. Now that I've finished school, found myself employed, and have established that part of my life that would make "racing" a possibility; I chased after my dream.
I kicked off the 2017 season racing the Sea Otter Classic. Being there was quite the eye-opener. It was nice to see the "industry", the World Cup racers, and the whole scene crammed into one venue. As if I wasn't determined enough, being there just upped my enthusiasm even more.
Since then, I kept racing. From local Bay Area events (I competed against men) to Snow Summit races (racing pro), The Northstar Downhill Series(which I won the overall title), NW Cup and I even got to race the Fox Air DH in Whistler. On my way to Whistler, I had spent the night at a rest stop (yes I drove) and was reflecting on what I'm doing, and then, that's where it hit me. That night I realized that "this is what I want!"
If you made it this far, from an outsiders point of view, my year sounds nothing short of a fairytale.
But, like everything good that came my way, I've had to go through quite a bit of adversity. As I've mentioned, I was able to race in the Fox Air DH, but I had also signed up for the Canadian DH Open. Let's just say, I didn't make it. Unfortunately, during practice, I took a pretty hard slam resulting to a broken collarbone and three cracked ribs that ultimately ended my season.
Fast forward to now. I know there are times that things won't go my way and instances that will make me doubt my efforts, but I've already established the fact that I am driven to go as far as I'll go in the sport. I am ready and willing to dig deep. Deeper than I thought I would to accomplish my goals.
With that said, I've been told that I look like I'm the happiest person while on my bike and I couldn't agree more. The euphoria and freedom it supplies me is unparalleled. Whether it's me riding for fun or trying to beat the clock in between the tape; I have found bliss in it.
In closing, I wanted to share my first year with everyone. Hopefully I am able to inspire a lot of people or even just one person, it will feel like all these efforts will be worth it. I am happy to be a part of such a growing and giving sport. A sport that has allowed me to grow and find that one thing that ignited my drive.