At age 7, Aliya Traficante started riding a bicycle without training wheels, at age 15, she’s winning professional races.
The Chico, Calif., resident won the women’s criterium of the Little City Stage Race on Saturday in Minden Park.
“It felt awesome. I raced this race last year. It was really special,” Aliya said. “I saw another lady coming up next to me and I wasn’t sure if I actually got over the line first. My goal was to get a top three finish overall.”
Aliya was the only junior racer out of 30 competitors in the women’s division.
“I’m real pleased,” father and coach Mark Wolford said. “She’s been working so hard, and coaching someone who has the passion is rare. She is a rare talent.”
Niki Slaton, 46 of Davis, Calif., came in third in the women’s race.
“I’ve been racing with Aliya for years. She’s great, super steady, pretty inspirational,” Slaton said. “I felt good about the race. It was a little sketchy out there because we had some new racers who didn’t know what to do.”
Slaton has been racing since 2009.
“It’s the adrenaline rush and challenge to push yourself to work harder,” she said of the sport. “It’s a great way to stay in shape.”
Race Director Bubba Melcher said 231 cyclists from Northern California and Nevada competed in the road race, criterium and time trials.
“So far there hasn’t been any casualties, just some bumps and scrapes,” Melcher said of the criterium where speeds reach 35 mph. “It’s going good, a really awesome great day.”
Ryan Alvey, 32, of Sacramento crashed during the men’s elite criterium last year. He was back this year to finish what he started.
“I had some road rash and damaged the bike a bit,” he said. “I’m hoping to survive the crit (erium), and stay strong for tomorrow.”
Sunday was the 66-mile road race through Woodfords.
Otto Fairbanks, 9, predicted his win in the children’s race.
“I’m going to beat my brother. I usually get second or first,” he said. “Racing is fun. I like to go fast.”
Out of breath after coming in second place, twin brother Rhys Fairbanks was happy with his finish.
“It felt great,” he said. “I’m going to keep racing.”
After doing well in the 10-mile time trial through Diamond Valley earlier Saturday, Chris Bosco of Truckee, Calif., was looking forward to racing in the criterium.
“The course this morning was fun, and it looks like an awesome criterium. They need to turn on the air conditioning, though,” the 27-year-old said. “Racing puts a purpose to all the training you do. It’s nice to see results after busting your butt.”