Arizona Devo rider Zaydie Croy is a bubbly 15-year-old with a passion for competition and a love of the outdoors. She is heading into her second season with the Arizona Devo team, and is looking forward to another great year of adventure and competition on the bike. While she hails from Prescott, AZ, she loves traveling with her bike and racing all over the state and the country.
In fact, it was traveling to Utah last spring with her team that led Zaydie to discover her new favorite race. The Soldier Hollow ProXCT. “The views were so pretty,” She said, “It was such a nice venue, and it seemed really centered around the athletes and not just the race.”
When asked why she liked the race so much, Zaydie says, “I loved the course! The trails there were so much fun, and the climbing and conditions of the trail were great–how smooth they were, but at the same time pretty rocky and technical. There was a lot of variety, and the climbs up through the meadow were so pretty. I really loved the course, and the conditions of the trail–they were so well-maintained, it made the racing experience even better.”
“It’s also really cool to know that’s where the Olympics happened,” she says, laughing. “It is pretty inspirational!”
One of the unique aspects of the Soldier Hollow ProXCT is its focus on providing events for athletes of all skill levels. This is one thing Zaydie remembers very fondly. “The race seemed really focused on the juniors, which is super exciting! For example, when we went to New Mexico and stuff, it was all about the pros, and the juniors just kind of showed up and raced . . . . Most of the big races have offerings for juniors, but it’s mainly for the pros. But this one was different.” Continuing with this tradition, this year’s SoHo Pro XCT will offer categories for all ages and skill levels, as well as a weekend of fun events, including a new MTB Biathlon on Friday afternoon!
Zaydie recounts last year’s event experience with excitement. Even after a year, she remembers race day vividly. “When the race started, I was super tired, but by the third lap, I kind of switched to autopilot, and I just got better and better, and I think I ended up in 3rd. Short Track, though, I was super excited for because I’m actually really good at the shorter, higher intensity stuff. I love the excitement of seeing the leaders ahead of you the whole time . . . At the time, I was racing Cat 2, and I remember just chasing the leaders and trying not to get pulled, and finally in the last couple of laps I pulled away and managed to get 1st!”
Her passion for competition is contagious, and she is so excited to come back and race Soldier Hollow again this year as a Cat 1. “I’m actually pretty nervous,” she admits, “but I’m really looking forward to seeing how much I’ve improved, because my skills have increased by, like, an insane amount since last year! I’m just really excited!”
Zaydie has been only been riding for about two years now, but is rising quickly through the ranks of MTB. With a long history of competitive gymnastics and an active lifestyle, she took to racing right away.
“My best friend Bryce had just joined a local team, and he told me ‘oh, you should ride bikes, it’s super cool!'” Zaydie also had a positive female role model who helped her get into the sport. Her English teacher, who also raced MTB, encouraged her to get on a bike. Her influence made a large impact on Zaydie.
“When you think of riding, and especially Mountain Biking, it’s pretty aggressive, and kind of harsh, in a way. It definitely tests your limits, and your toughness. And seeing that she was riding and that she loved it, made me think ‘I can do this too’!”
Her first ride was a little over two years ago, and her first race was the Whiskey 15 with her father, who began a cycling journey along with her. What seemed intimidating then, now makes her laugh as she reflects back on it. “My skills have come so far since then!” She says.
Zaydie raced NICA for about a year, and threw herself into it headfirst. “I showed up to every NICA practice, and by freshman year, I was top 3 in the state. At first I was really far back in the group but I worked harder and harder and worked my way up.” All her dedication paid off, and at the encouragement of her friends, she signed up for Arizona Devo and made the team that very same year.
Racing for a team has brought Zaydie a number of exciting new opportunities, including the chance to travel to races. “Last year, Devo totally went for the out-of-state races!” She says, “We went to Bonelli, and then we did Utah and then New Mexico. It was super fun, and by far Utah was my favorite.”
As much as she loves the competition and the thrill of the chase, some of Zaydie’s best memories from her trip happened outside of the race. She loves traveling and experiencing new places with a great community.
“Going out of state with the team is always super fun, because you get to do some really fun things–like, when we were in Utah we got to go to this cool crater and go swimming in it, which was awesome!” Even everyday, mundane tasks can become an opportunity to build a team and hang out with her friends, “like, I really enjoy making meals together and everything, just eating together I think is super fun and valuable.”
Even once the adrenaline of race day has faded and memories blur, it’s the little things pre- and post-race that stick with you. “The food trucks were really good there [at Soldier Hollow]!” Zaydie laughs. “There was a really good burger with sweet potato fries … It tasted so great after my race!”
Zaydie Croy is looking forward to another great season of racing with Arizona Devo this year, and she has more travels planned, including several races in California, and returning to Utah for this year’s Soldier Hollow ProXCT on May 4th-6th. Come meet and support her at the race–look for her near the Stan’s tent!
She also plans to continue her tradition of racing the Whiskey Off-Road at the end of this month, which she is super excited for, as well as competing in MTB Nationals in West Virginia.