Front Range 60: by Cristienne Beam
A few Tribellas took a Bus(wo)man’s holiday on the bike this past weekend and took to the dirt. Yep, Mountain Biking.
Although not confirmed Rachel went to Utah, Jenny recovered from Gila by riding her brand new mountain bike for the second time, and Joan and I went to race the Front Range 60.
So, as I’ve already stated in my Socks’ Blogs, I sometimes have a problem with the word “Race.” When I say “Race” I get a stomachache, my hands go all clammy…you know the drill. I have even on occasion pretended to be someone else. But I had “Race” beat this time, I was just going to enter to “Train.”
So here’s another confession for you. Up until this past weekend the furthest I’d ever ridden my mountain bike was 35 miles.
I somewhat felt that this might be the equivalent of running a marathon when only having previously run a 10k, but I was game. Now Jenny had a valid argument. Why should I pay $80 to try out 60 miles when I could just do it on my own? True. But sometimes you get a little push when you put some dough on the line. And, in a 6 lap race if I was in trouble I could get out of it; plus, the spectators really do help you get to the finish line. And this cannot be overstated.
This was a full on “Train-ing” ride. I would be completely self-sufficient. I didn’t need a tent and a bunch of extraneous junk. I just needed my cooler with 6 bottles and assorted foodstuffs that were easy to digest. Although looking back, setting up a soigneur or masseuse would have been helpful afterwards.
Front Range 60 at Bear Creek is a super fast, almost non-technical 10-mile loop that you do six times. So, many riders, myself included, opted to travel light and not carry a camelback. Looking back I would say this was the downfall of a few. Temperatures climbed for the first time this Spring up into the 80s. It was hot and it was dry.
The start combined all women age groups; 31 women were at the start, of all racing and riding abilities.
My plan was to ride the first 3 laps and see how I felt, get through lap 4, and then mentally I thought I would be home free. I thought my biggest obstacles would be feeding myself, getting enough liquids and controlling my mental game.
Reaching for a bottle on the mountain bike is a bit trickier than on the road bike. And it was in lap one that I realized that gulping on the uphills was the safest plan. Of course I realized this after I tried to drink on a fast flat section going into lap 2. I just didn’t see that big root and small drop-off. Over the handlebars I went.
I popped up, seeing tweety birds and stars, and whimpered once or twice. I wanted to cry, but there was no one around to hear me or offer sympathy. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t let go of the water bottle and grab the handlebar. The only option seemed to be to get back on the bike.
A few things kept me going. In lap 2 I saw a coyote down by the water; I figured it was a sign for me to keep going. I have a ‘thing’ about animals. In the feed zone spectators impressed with my quick self refueling technique were yelling “Go Tribella!” And Annette Hayden of Mountain Moon Photography was out on the course.
I recognized Annette during my second lap and was so happy to have her out there, which is why I am smiling in all of the photos despite blood dripping down my arm and my leg. On lap 3 Annette yelled “how many to go?” “Three,” I answered.
I counted each time I saw Annette and finished my first 60 miles on the mountain bike.
Although I never saw her out front Joan had a fantastic race finishing second in her age group to overall womens’ winner Moots rider Kelly Boniface; Joan was 5th overall. I was 11th in my age group and 22nd overall. For full results visit warriorcycling.com.
P.S. I’m in love with Kelly Boniface’s Moots mountain bike, and that beautiful silver saddle!