Megan gave Katie Compton a run for her money at the Beti Bike Bash. She was only 3 seconds off of first! Way to go! All the Naked ladies crushed it at this Women’s Only mountain bike event. Read more here:x
When I saw the start list for the Beti Bash, I was immediately nervous. Among other starters was World class racer Katie Compton,with whom I was mainly familiar with from watching on TV Saturday mornings during ‘cross season. Throw in a few other pros like Teal Stetson-Lee and I was officially intimidated. I like courses with some climbing so a flat, fast course more like a road race made me pretty nervous. At the start I tried to line up toward the back, but my husband, Taylor pushed me to squeeze in off to the left in the second row.
Coming into the race, I had a relatively easy week of riding recovering from the Gunnison Growler and just one moderate paced mid-week ride, but the day prior, I had been on my feet for over 8 hours getting my kids to their end of year school carnival and hanging out there all day. After about five hours in the hot sun, I showered and headed out to a friend’s 40th birthday party, complete with Super Diamond, a nationally-known Neal Diamond cover band. The last time I saw this band was pre-kids at a sold out show at the Fillmore, so now playing our private party, I opted dance the night away to Sweet Caroline and other familiar tunes. After all, cycling is what I do for fun and if I can’t enjoy a date night party then it’s time to reevaluate my priorities! After all this, I certainly didn’t have high expectations for performance the next day, but knew that I would do my best and hopefully have a lot of fun at a cool race.
Getting back to the race, we took off and I immediately fell back somewhere into 10 or 11th place, but by the end of the first short hills I managed to work my way into 4th. I treated this as a road race b/c the single track is not technical and there are only 3 very short hills. I knew from experience that if a gap formed between me and other stronger, more powerful riders that I would be dropped. As such, I dug as deep to make sure I stayed with the lead group. I was pleasantly surprised that none of them gave me any grief about sucking their wheel. The pace was high for the first lap and on lap two I started to question whether I had what it took to stay with them for the entire race. Thankfully, as I continued to sit on their wheels in fourth place, the pace slowed on lap three as the gap had been established. Towards the end of the lap a small break formed between 2nd and 3rd and as we came through the start/finish area I heard the announcer say it looked like we were fading, so I knew it was time to put on the gas to drop 4th place. I quickly bridged up to the first two riders, Katie and Teal, and about halfway into the last lap a gap started to form between them. With several long flat headwind stretches left, I had to evaluate whether to go around Teal and try to battle Katie for the win or sit on Teal’s wheel and sprint for second at the end of the race. Feeling rather intimidated by these top competitors, I took the more conservative option of staying on Teal’s wheel. As we neared the end of the lap though, I could tell I was still feeling strong. I had spent most of the race drafting and knew I still had the legs to go hard. As we approached the final descent, I came around Teal and to my surprise, she gave me some words of encouragement. I raced towards Katie, but knew I had waited too long to try to catch her. I did manage to gain several seconds on the last hill, but was still excited to roll through the finish in second place. Lessons learned: mountain bikers are really nice and sometimes road racing experience comes in handy…