Photo Credit for many photos: E Enarson, Brent Murphy, Reid Neureiter, Terri Irsik Smith, John Westergard

Naked Women’s Racing is a competitive women’s cycling team for racers, women’s club team for enthusiasts, and the model for the future of women’s cycling.

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The True Test of Endurance

Roberta Smith and Tina Ament win the 12 hour Tandem World TT Championships

Tandem racing for 12 hours. A test of what is possible mentally and physically. Roberta Smith and Tina Ament win the 12 hour world TT Tandem Championships and recount the experience.

I had the pleasure of racing with Tina Ament as a tandem pilot in the 12 Hour World TT Championships. The event was in Borrego Springs and would mark my last cycling race of the 2017 season. Although I trained on my “single” bike, I was going to be piloting the tandem with Tina for 12 hours. Our previous race, the ParaCycling Open had us on the bike together for only 44 miles. Thinking in my head about 12 hours, I knew we would be pushing the 200 mile mark by the end. To help my position on the tandem, Tina was able to ship her bike out to me so I could have it properly fit for the long race. George Mullen worked his magic and gave me 3 comfortable riding positions. i knew that an aero position for 12 hours was going to be a challenge.

Often times racing takes a village. I was grateful my husband, Paul, was able to come to the race, assemble the bike and provide pit assistance. Our tandem racing friends, Chuck and Lisa Mangus and son, Ben, and girlfriend, Brooke were racing the 12 hour race too. Jessica Mangus offered pit assistance with Paul and we were treated like rock stars.

We arrived in Borrego Springs, a desert town about 90 minutes from San Diego, CA, on Friday. Since we would be riding in the early morning, all bikes needed to meet race safety standards with reflective tape and lights. Again, Paul who has two years of crewing for the Race Across America (RAAM), had gone above and beyond to make our bike safety compliant. This 6-12-24 World TT Championships is a qualifier for RAAM so those doing the 24 hour race are hearty folks. The course was an 18-mile loop with total loops completed in the 12 hour timeframe determining results. At 3:00pm (2 hours to go for all of the racers) we were moved to a shorter 4.5 mile course.

Our first few 18 mile loops were in the dark. Perfect desert cool. On our first loop we missed a turn. I suddenly found us on a lone road and had to backtrack. The turn arrow had blown down with no course marshall providing direction. We called those 2 miles off course “bonus miles”.

Taking advantage of the cool weather, we did three laps in a row before stopping in the pit zone. The moon was full and there were some incredible views. No time to stop for photos … In a tandem race when a straight-away presents itself with the opportunity to rev your machine to 25-28 mph, you take it!

Having completed 10 loops in total, all of the road conditions are now burned into my memory. Here’s a glimpse of my race thoughts:

Roberta and Tina on the podium

Once we do this turn, we will have a tailwind and slight down hill, right left turn and there’s shade and a nice smooth straightaway. Right turn and our time to turn it up and go hard until the stop sign. Ugh. Stop sign, we have to slow this machine to a halt. Next turn it up and hit the polkadot road (the chipseal was chipped away in tiny circles). Oh look there are the horses!. Turn right and start an “uphill” to the right turn headwind/ uphill, at the curve we get a slight downhill and can start to see the pit zone.

These thoughts went through my mind and reminded me of European Vacation when Clark Grizwald has the family stuck in a roundabout, “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament!”  It started to get hot and windy. In desert racing and riding it is difficult to tell how much you are sweating. And hydration is key to performace. At every stop Paul had nylons filled with ice to put down the back of our jerseys. It was fantastic. The 10th large loop that we did was the hardest for sure. Our legs were tired. We had a horrible headwind. These are the moments that test your mental strength.

It was refreshing when we were directed to the 4 mile short loop. The 4 mile loop was like entering a criterium after a LONG century ride. I liked the change of pace. We got two loops clocked in 16 minutes. Our fastest loop!  When we crossed the Start/ Finish after the second 4 mile loop we only had 10 minutes left. After 11 hours and 50 minutes we decided to call it a day.

Thrilled that we had 189.6 miles (plus our bonus miles) and set a course record for the Solo Women’s Tandem. Tina and I were the first women ever to do it! Our mileage beat the two Solo Men’s Tandem teams.

Tina is amazing. This race is one of her training races for her RAAM race in 2018. It was a great experience with the time piloting a tandem giving me the confidence to do it again. Maybe after a bit of recovery.

Roberta Smith is a Cat 2 racer on Naked Women’s Racing and captain of the Masters Team.  She has been bike racing since the Deer Trail Road Race in 2006.   Tina Ament is an eight time Ironman finisher (including Kona).  Tina is a member of the 2018 RAAM team Team Sea to See.  Team Sea to See is a team of successful businesspeople and athletes who happen to be blind that are taking on one of the world’s most grueling endurance cycling races to raise awareness of the immense capabilities of people who are blind.

Recent Race Results!

December

Rocky Mountain Regionals - 12/2

Bridgette Enarson SW3 6th
Gayle Connell Sw3 7th
Amanda Bye SW3 12th
Emily Zinn SW3 15th
Leigh Rivet SW4 12th
Joan Orgeldinger MW40+ 7th
Amanda Bye SSW 3rd

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A Colorado Women’s Cycling Project, Naked Women’s Racing was founded November, 2010 by three competitive cyclists passionate about women’s racing and simply getting more women on bikes. The team has grown to include 100+ women in all categories of competitive cycling. The team competes in cyclocross, mountain biking, road and track. In 2012, the team incorporated a club to foster women who are cycling enthusiasts and thinking of trying out racing. Though we support the beginning racer, we’ve won several state and national team and individual titles. Naked Juice is our title sponsor. If you drink good and do good, you’ll feel good. It’s really that simple. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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