Park City High School's Haley Batten was a force to be reckoned with in the Utah High School Cycling League. Despite her age, the 15-year-old freshman rode as a varsity competitor, winning all five of the league's races this fall, including last weekend's finale in Moab. Batten also helped her school win the team overall title in the second year of mountain biking competition.
What got you into mountain biking?
My family introduced me to mountain biking, and we would go and ride together just for fun. My dad also did some racing, and when I was about 9 I began doing the local Intermountain Cup and mid-week races in the 9-and-under category. I just kept on doing these local races, and it soon became my true passion at about age 12.
What were your expectations going into this season, being just a freshman?
I wasn't quite sure what to expect at all. I was confident with the fact that my season had been very rewarding and amazing, but I had never raced these girls before and didn't know what to think. The age factor didn't really cross my mind. I really just wanted to go out and have fun while giving my personal best.
What was your favorite course during the season? Why?
All of the courses were very unique and super fun. My favorites would have to be Snowbasin and Moab. I really loved the technical aspects, flow, and excitement in both of the courses. In Snowbasin, the course had steep climbs that added a new challenge for all of the athletes to learn from, but the downhill was exhilarating. It had rocks and amazing turns through the trees. Then, Moab was one of a kind. With slickrock challenges, but also fun-filled descents that filled me with joy. I had lots of fun in those two races especially.
How did you train for the races?
Since my season started in March and was longer than usual, I spent most of my training time riding with friends and family. I would train with my Park City team and also do some intervals leading to a race.
What was it like being part of a team — especially one that won the overall title?
Being part of the Park City High School club was a great experience. I really enjoyed riding and training all together. I think that one of the best parts was being able to have fun with my varsity girl teammates and friends while also being competitors. Winning the overall title was amazing for us all. We had worked hard together and pushed each other to do our best. By working together, we knew that we had earned the title.
What are your goals for your future in the sport? Olympics? How do you go about getting there?
My goal is for sure the Olympics. I hope to go as far as I can with the sport, and the Olympics would be an amazing achievement to me. In order to get there I will put my eyes on that event and push myself as hard as I can. Every season will lead me closer to that vision, so I will always stay focused and have fun.