11-year-old from Delmar wins Cyclocross National Championship

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Lilli O’Donnell wins Cyclocross National Championship (credit: Dave Gilson)

DELMAR, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A sixth grader at Bethlehem Central Middle School has won the Cyclocross National Championship, competing in the 11- to 12-year-old age group. Lilli O’Donnell earned the “stars and stripes jersey” that only national champions are allowed to wear while racing in the following year.

Cyclocross is a form of bike racing where the biker face different terrains and obstacles and may have to dismount the bike. O’Donnell had only been competing two years before her win this past weekend in Illinois.

“This year was a breakout year for Lilli in cyclocross,” said Coach Andy Ruiz. “She started racing junior races against girls her age but her speed and ability led to her racing in the full-on women’s races instead. This season she competed in 16 races, winning nine; 10 of the races were women’s races where she competed against all age groups.”

O’Donnell is a member of the Capital Bicycle Racing Club. Many people from the club trained with her, went on bike rides, let her borrow equipment, and tuned her bike.

“Lilli raced against some girls who came from teams with big budgets and professional staff. It’s very gratifying to know that a group of passionate people rallied around her and got her to the top step,” Ruiz said.

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