Heidi Wahl and Katey Martus attempted to take on this year’s 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. Read about the conditions they experienced and the fun they had.
Sometimes even with all the planning and preparation, things just don’t transpire as you had hoped. This was certainly the case with this year’s 12 Hours of Mesa Verde. Hold on, I am already jumping to the punch line…. Let’s go back to the beginning.
I have raced this exceptional event for the last 5 years and couldn’t wait to race this year’s event with some amazing women teammates that surprisingly have never raced the famous Phil’s World course in Cortez. Continuing with my “racing for fun” strategy for 2015, the Hoochie Coochie Mamas was comprised of women that were strong (and beautiful) but also were there to have fun regardless of the result: Katey Martus (Naked), Laurel Arndt (Vitesse (AZ)), and Lauren Costantini (Kappius). It had been raining all week in Denver, and the weather was forecasted to snow on Mother’s Day leading to many of the local races being cancelled. Our team virtually high-fived each other as the weather in Cortez was to be cool but dry, and we felt like we were escaping to warmer and dryer race conditions.
Katey and I drove down to Cortez together and enjoyed are road trip jamming out to a combination of dance/electronic and old 80s big-hair band music while sharing stories. We got our camp setup and were able to get in a pre-ride of the course before another wave of rain came through. Knowing it was recently forecasted to be below freezing that night with a high percentage of precipitation, 3 out of 4 of us wimped out from sleeping under the stars and stayed in a hotel that night to stay warm and dry while our 4th teammate was cozy in a RV at the race venue.
Race day arrived and so did the inclement weather. The temps were in the 30s, rain was turning to snow, but the race director reiterated that the course could handle a lot of water and the race was going to start as planned. We elected Katey to be our first person in rotation since she mistakenly mentioned that she had been jogging as part of her weekly training regime. She staged her bike in the corral and then jogged up to the start, but quickly realized she forgot the baton and ran back down to the car to grab it before returning to the start just as the gun (sounded more like a cannon) went off! As the racers ran an abbreviated course to avoid the mud, they were quickly on the single track vying for a position. With Katey on course, the rest of us watched the near-blizzard conditions start and started planning for the next lap realizing we didn’t bring enough warm winter riding gear.
The first racers came through with much slower lap times than normal, and a few teams were able to send out a second rider before they instituted a weather delay. The trails were slick as snot forcing racers to walk and carry their bikes over many of the obstacles, and the normally outrageously fun whoop-de-do sections (Maxxit, Vertebrae, and Ribcage) turned into a slip-n-slide mud fest. Drivetrains were caked with clay-like muck and racers were finishing looking like they had partaken in a cold, total body mud spa treatment. Katey came in and just looked at us with a resigned expression and said, “You couldn’t pay me enough to do that lap over again!” We laughed, expressed how awesome she was for being such a good sport about it, and quickly got her changed into dry clothing.
Race directors eventually (and regrettingly) cancelled the race to protect the trails and our bikes for which all of us were very thankful. Our tribe gathered and we enjoyed a pasta meal from Lotsa Pasta and beer from Oskar Blues, while we laughed about the situation and swapped stories with old and new girlfriends while planning the next biking adventure – hopefully with a more successful outcome.